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By the Numbers: Championship track entertaining in many ways

November 17, 2011, ,

Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5-mile paved oval with variable banking of 18-20 degrees in the turns. The frontstretch and backstretch are each 1,760 feet with 4 degrees banking.

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3 -- Times in the past four races at Homestead there has been a green-white-checkered finish. Twice during the span the leader at the end of regulation failed to win: Kyle Busch led after 134 laps in 2007; Johnny Benson passed him on the 138th and final lap. Timothy Peters led after 134 laps in 2009; Kevin Harvick zoomed past on the restart and ran away with the final two laps.

Side note: Peters had led only seven laps and dropped to fourth by the finish.

10 -- Top-10s in 11 starts at Homestead for Ron Hornaday, including the past four races (the longest current streak). Hornaday also has qualified in the top 10 in the past four races.

Side note: Both Hornaday and Dennis Setzer will attempt to make their 300th career starts this week. Only two other drivers have reached that mark: Rick Crawford (331) and Terry Cook (314).

31 -- Place of finish in last year's race at Homestead for Austin Dillon, his first start there. Dillon won the pole and led 11 laps but finished four laps off the pace. Despite contact with Kyle Busch, Johnny Sauter finished third, leading 14 laps. It was Sauter's second consecutive top 10 at HMS. James Buescher finished 19th; his best finish in three starts is 18th.

Side note: Dillon, who leads Sauter by 20 points in the standings and Buescher by 28, can win the championship by finishing 16th or better at Homestead; or 17th or better with at least one lap led; or 18th or better with the most laps led.

Very Interesting

199 -- Laps led at Homestead for Kyle Busch, most among active drivers and second among all drivers (Jack Sprague: 257). Twice in Busch's five starts has he led the most laps without winning: led 69 laps in 2007 (finished second); led 54 laps in 2008 (finished fourth). He led a race-high 57 laps in winning last year's race.

Side note: Sprague also led the most laps twice without winning, including the most of any non-winner (81 laps led in 1998).

17 -- Lead changes among nine drivers in last year's race at Homestead, tying the track record in both categories.

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3 -- Times in the past five races the driver leading the most laps has won at Homestead. That happened only three times in the first 11 races there.

4 -- Place of finish in last year's race at Homestead for Ricky Stenhouse Jr, his first start there. Stenhouse started 20th and led three laps. Elliott Sadler hasn't made a series start at HMS since 2005. His only top-10 came in his first start there in 1996 (he finished fifth).

Side note: Stenhouse, who leads Sadler by 41 points in the standings, can win the championship with a finish of 37th or better at Homestead; or 38th or better with at least one lap led; or 39th or better with most laps led.

5 -- Consecutive finishes of sixth or better at Homestead for Carl Edwards, the best current streak. Edwards' 5.7 average finish in six starts (including a win in 2008) is the best among all drivers with more than one start (who are entered in this week's race) and second all time among drivers with more than one start (Mark Martin: 4.4 in eight starts)

7 -- Times in the past eight races at Homestead the first caution has occurred on Lap 12 or sooner.

Side note: The final green-flag stretch has been 24 laps or less in all eight HMS races on the current configuration.

132.191 -- Average race speed, in mph, at Homestead set by Joe Nemechek in 2001, a track record. It was Nemecheck's third win in a five-race span at HMS and he remains the series' all-time wins leader there.

Side note: Two other drivers have won twice at Homestead: Jeff Burton (1998, 2007) and Kyle Busch (2009, 2010). Neither driver is entered in this week's race.

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2 -- Green-white-checkered finishes at Homestead, both won by Greg Biffle: In 2004, Tony Stewart led at the end of regulation (267 laps); Biffle led the final two of the four-lap overtime. In 2006, Biffle held his lead in a one-lap sprint to the finish.

Side note: Biffle also won in 2005 and is the track's leading winner.

4 -- Consecutive races at Homestead where the leader of the most laps has won the race. That happened just twice in the first eight races.

5 -- Times in the past eight races at Homestead since the track was reconfigured to progressive banking that the winner started on the first two rows. However, both HMS races won from the pole came on the nearly all-flat original configuration: Bill Elliott (2001) and Kurt Busch (2002).

Side note: Elliott and Busch hold the track records for oldest and youngest pole/race winners at Homestead: Elliott (46 years, 1 month, 1 day (pole) / 3 days (race) in 2001); Busch (24 years, 3 months, 11 days (pole) / 13 days (race) in 2002).

21 -- Career wins for Bobby Labonte, his most recent coming at Homestead in 2003. Labonte passed Bill Elliott on the final lap, the only last-lap pass for the win in track history.

Side note: Labonte's winless streak is at 287 races, most among all active drivers.

Very Interesting

0 -- Victories at Homestead for Hendrick Motorsports, the only track (besides first-year Kentucky) at which the organization has failed to win. Hendrick (which has 199 Cup wins) has three runner-up finishes among 10 top-fives: Joe Nemechek (2002) and Jimmie Johnson (2004 and 2010).

Side note: Homestead also is the only track (besides Kentucky) at which Jeff Gordon has never won; in 12 starts he has five top-fives (best of third in 2004) and nine top-10s. Gordon did win a Nationwide race at HMS in 2000, driving the No. 24 under his ownership.

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3 -- Times Carl Edwards has led the most laps at Homestead, including in both of his victories. His 441 laps led is most of all drivers.

Side note: Tony Stewart is second in laps led at 385; 282 came on the old configuration, along with his two victories.

4 -- Drivers in this year's Chase who have never had a top-five at Homestead: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11 starts); Ryan Newman (nine); Kyle Busch (six); Brad Keselowski (three). Earnhardt and Keselowski are the only two with a top-10 at HMS.

5 -- Drivers in this year's Chase who have won at Homestead: Tony Stewart (1999, 2000); Kurt Busch (2002); Matt Kenseth (2007); Carl Edwards (2008, 2010); Denny Hamlin (2009).

5 -- Times Homestead was won by a driver in that season's Chase, including the past four years: Greg Biffle (2005); Matt Kenseth (2007); Carl Edwards (2008); Denny Hamlin (2009); Edwards (2010).

Side note: No driver has won Homestead and the championship in the same year. Jimmie Johnson finished second last year at HMS. Prior to the Chase, the last driver to win the season finale and the title in the same year was Jeff Gordon in 1998 at Atlanta.

Very Interesting

6 -- Top-10 finishes at Homestead for both Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart. The similarities pretty much end there, however: Edwards has six consecutive top-10s, the longest current streak; he has two wins during that span. Stewart only has two top-10s in the past six races; he also had his two worst finishes during that span.

• If Edwards finishes ahead of Stewart, Edwards win the championship.
• If Stewart wins the race, he wins the championship.
• If Stewart ties Edwards, Stewart wins the championship.
• If Edwards leads a lap, Stewart needs to finish four spots ahead of him if Stewart doesn't lead a lap.
• If Edwards leads the most laps, Stewart needs to finish five spots ahead of him if Stewart doesn't lead a lap.
• If Stewart leads a lap, he needs to finish two spots ahead of Edwards if Edwards doesn't lead a lap.
• If Stewart leads the most laps, he needs to finish one spot ahead of Edwards if Edwards doesn't lead a lap.
• If both Stewart and Edwards lead a lap, Stewart needs to finish three spots ahead of Edwards.
• If both Stewart and Edwards lead the most laps, Stewart needs to finish three spots ahead of Edwards.
• If Stewart leads the most laps and Edwards leads a lap, Stewart needs to finish two spots ahead of Edwards.
• If neither Edwards or Stewart lead a lap, Stewart must finish three spots ahead of Edwards.

Side note: Edwards has a 5.7 average finish in seven starts at Homestead, best among all drivers; Stewart's average finish is 12.4.

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1 -- Drivers who have swept both the Nationwide and Cup races at Homestead on the same weekend: Carl Edwards in 2008.

Side note: Kyle Busch (2010) is the only driver to win Truck and Nationwide races at Homestead on the same weekend. No driver has won a Truck and Cup races at HMS on the same weekend.

1 -- Wins at Homestead for Kevin Harvick Inc., in the Truck Series by Kevin Harvick (2009). KHI has five top-fives and nine top-10s in 11 Truck races at Homestead; the race team has one top-five (second by Harvick last year) and three top-10s in eight Nationwide races.

Side note: KHI, which is ceasing operation after the season, will drive his owners' championship-winning No. 2 truck at Homestead; KHI won three owners' titles in the Truck Series.

1 -- Races won from the pole at Homestead in both the Truck (Bobby Hamilton in 2003) and Nationwide (Ryan Newman in 2005) series.

Side note: All three races last year (Kyle Busch in Truck and Nationwide) and Carl Edwards (Cup) were won from the second starting position.

2 -- Wins at Homestead for Kasey Kahne, one each in the Truck and Nationwide series. In both cases, Kahne holds the mark for youngest race winner at the track: Nationwide (23 years, 7 months, 5 days in 2003); Truck (24 years, 7 months, 9 days in 2004).

Hall of Fame

1 -- Top-10 finishes in two starts at Homestead for Dale Earnhardt; he finished eighth in 1999.

Side note: Darrell Waltrip is the only other Hall of Fame driver who competed at HMS; handling issues took him out of his two races.

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