Homestead Update: Edwards Fastest, France Talks Change
At Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday:
Carl Edwards was fastest in the first Sprint Cup Series practice session of the weekend as he turned a lap aqt 175.838 mph.
Second fastest in the practice for the Ford 400 season-ender was Kyle Busch, whose fast lap of 175.165 mph came late in the hour-and-a-half session.
Jimmie Johnson was fastest among the three drivers who still have a chance to win the Cup championship. He was third at 174.831 mph.
Points leader Denny Hamlin was 30th and Kevin Harvick, third in points was 31st.
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Friday that significant changes will likely be in store for next year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
“Almost every sports league, almost everyone, including the NCAA Tournament last year, is looking around at what they need to do to change their formats a little or a lot, depending on who they are, to make sure that their playoffs or their championship runs are what they want them to be,” France said. “And we are no different.”
France would not talk about specific changes during a meeting with the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he did say that he would like to create “big-game moments” in the playoffs. He said he remains intrigued by a winner-take-all concept as he explores changes.
“We’re considering a lot of different things,” France said.
“We’re going to have a championship that puts a lot on the line, that’s critical, and rewards the drivers who have the biggest performances throughout the season. Whatever we might consider will accomplish that.”
France also said NASCAR is considering shortening races but not considering shortening the schedule.
Driver Jeff Burton was asked about changes Friday. He said:
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I don’t know what NASCAR does. I think this is exactly what they’ve been looking for and exactly what they’ve been hoping for. All of us have; all the fans and everybody has been hoping for a tight race coming into Homestead. We certainly have it this year. It will be interesting to see if NASCAR makes changes after this year. I don’t know. I don’t know what they will do.
“They seemed pretty set on making some changes based on what Brian (France, NASCAR chairman) said a couple months ago. I don’t know if that’s going to change or not. I feel like it’s probably not going to change. I feel like they will proceed because if it’s the right thing to do, it’s the right thing to do no matter what happened this year. Still if changes are better for the sport then changes are better for the sport.”
Austin Dillon notched his seventh pole of the year Friday afternoon in qualifying for Friday night’s Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Dillon, fifth in the series point standings, turned a lap at 170.622 miles per hour – the only lap over 170 – to lead truck time trials.
Dillon, a rookie, was followed in the top five were Kyle Busch, Johnny Sauter, Elliott Sadler and Aric Almirola.
Todd Bodine, who has locked up his second Truck championship, qualified eighth.
The Nationwide cars took to the track early in the afternoon Friday for practice and again Friday night.
Aric Almirola had the fastest lap – 169.109 mph – in his JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the early practice.
Brad Keselowsi, who clinched the championship at Texas two weeks ago, was second fastest as he posted a lap at 168.350 mph at the end of the session.
Jeremy Clements was third fastest at 168.052 mph while Kevin Harvick was fourth fastest as he posted a lap at 167.999 mph.
Brian Scott was fifth fastest and Trevor Bayne was sixth.
Danica Patrick was 39th fastest in practice. Her top lap was 160.138 mph.
In the final practice Friday night, Ricky Stenhouse was fastest with a lap at 170.935 mph.
Martin Truex Jr. was second fastest Friday night at 170.632 mph. Third was Harvick while Cole Whitt was fourth. Keselowski was sixth.
The Camping World Truck Series practiced twice Friday.
Johnny Sauter was fastest in the first session with a lap at 168.256 mph.
Rookie Austin Dillon was second fastest at 167.520 mph while Kyle Busch was third fastest and Timothy Peters was fourth.
Todd Bodine, who has clinched the series championship, was 15th fastest.
Sauter was also fastest in the second session – the final session before the race. Sauter’s fast lap was at 167.494 mph.
Elliott Sadler was second fastest in the session with a lap at 167.115 mph.
James Buescher was third and Aric Almirola was fourth.
Bodine was seventh.
(Updates from Homestead will be added as events develop)2 Comments