Homestead, Fla – Three drivers were likely making their final Monster Energy NASCAR cup Series start at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. Two of the three may not ever make another Cup start, the other will make one more appearance next February at Daytona then call it quits herself.
The biggest one was Dale Earnhardt Jr. The third generation driver was making his 631st and final Cup start in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400. Earnhardt, originally qualified his No. 88 Chevrolet 24th, but due to changing an engine during the opening practice session of the weekend on Friday, he’d have to start in the rear as a result.
But, it didn’t take the Hendrick Motorsports driver too long to move his way up. By Lap 30, he was challenging for a spot in the top 20.
In the end, he just didn’t have it and finished 25th, 3 laps down.
The 14-time reigning NASCAR Most Popular Driver wraps up his career in an emotional way as he was happy though to bring his car back in one piece.
What about Matt Kenseth? While he just announced a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t be pursing a ride for the 2018 season anymore, he had a great send off to his career. Kenseth, started fourth on Sunday and stayed in the hunt for most of the race. He’d bring his No. 20 Toyota home eighth.
That’s four straight top 10 finishes to end his season.
His career quite possibly ends with 651 career starts. 39 of those were wins, two of which in the Daytona 500.
Then there’s Danica Patrick. She was making her 190th career Cup start. She also announced her departure from NASCAR as she will race in the 2018 Daytona 500 then call it quits in NASCAR. On Sunday, she brought her No. 10 Ford home 38th after she lost control of her car in Turn 1 on Lap 142 and got into the SAFER barrier. While trying to drive her car back to the garage, it engulfed in flames as her final race of her final season ended up in smoke.