Homestead-Miami Speedway plays host for the final race of the season for all three of the top NASCAR series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Trucks. Located in Homestead, Florida, HMS is one of the newest tracks to be added to the schedule and over the years the venue has not disappointed in the excitement factor. Whether it was Greg Biffle’s bumper-length margin of victory over Mark Martin in 2005, or Tony Stewart’s last minute race win to force a tie breaker and win the championship in 2011, Homestead has a long history of ending the season with a bang. PHOTO_296917
When, Where, and Why to Watch
The weekend of speed kicks off on the Friday night before Thanksgiving with the World Trucks and is followed on Saturday night by the Nationwide finale. Sunday afternoon features the Sprint Cup wrapping up the overall NASCAR calendar with a four hundred mile race that will end under the lights with a new champion being crowned amidst fireworks and a lot of celebration on both sides of the fence.
Being the final race of the season, Homestead is the last chance for the die-hards to throw down until Daytona Speedweeks in late February, so if you’re not wild about partying until the wee hours of the morning, it’s probably best to avoid camping out in the infield of the track where the hardest of the hardcore like to congregate.
The Treacherous Track
Homestead-Miami Speedway itself was one of the first NASCAR tracks to feature progressive banking, meaning that the banking at the top of the turns is steeper than towards the bottom, giving drivers lots of options to perform daring passes and run side by side for lap after lap at well over 185 miles per hour.
The overall track length is fairly standard for NASCAR, one and a half miles, but whereas most tracks of this length have a tri-oval or quad-oval design to give plenty of room for error, Homestead is a simple oval with a relatively narrow canyon of track flanked by walls on both sides, so one driver’s mistake could result in a cataclysmic mass accident for the rest of the field.
The sun sets as the race for a champion continues into the night — Photo courtesy of Katy Warner
What to Keep in Mind for 2014 and Beyond
Starting in 2014 NASCAR altered its points format so that the top four performing drivers will race in a winner-takes-all one race event at Homestead. This means that everything is on the line for this one race and the highest finishing driver out of the final four will be crowned champion at the end of the night. With so much at stake on just one November night, you can be sure that tensions will be high and the excitement will be heart-pounding the whole weekend from start to finish.