Homestead, Fla- NASCAR couldn’t have asked for a better ending for their 2017 season. First off, there’s no debate about this anymore, the season finale absolutely has to remain with the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
There’s been debates the last few years about moving it to Las Vegas or another track, but the racing on the South Florida track is bar none the best venue to host championship weekend for all three NASCAR divisions.
Secondly, the track announced that all 46,000 grandstand seats as well as all the suites were a sell out for the fourth consecutive year. That’s another plus.
Thirdly, the weather was picture perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Sunny, dry and warm temperatures.
Next, look at how each of the three races ended, who won them, and who the champions were that were crowned.
On Friday night, a pair of 22-year olds were crowned. 22-year old rookie Chase Briscoe won his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the Ford EcoBoost 200, while another 22-year old in Christopher Bell won his first career Truck Series title.
On Saturday, a pair of 19-year olds stole the show. 19-year old rookie Cole Custer won his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series race in the Ford EcoBoost 300, while 19-year old rookie William Byron took home the hardware as the season champion.
Two races, four future stars of the sport shining.
On Sunday, the race was as thrilling as ever, with all four Championship 4 contenders running inside the top 10 all day. In fact, they were all in the top five for much of the race.
In the end, Martin Truex Jr., the ultimate storyline this season won the race and the championship in emotional fashion.
Also, don’t overlook how each race was run. There were a total of 10 caution flags all weekend long. Friday night’s race had just two cautions and both were for stage breaks. Saturday’s race had three cautions, two of which being for stage breaks, the other for a spin early in the race. Sunday’s race had five yellows, two again were stage breaks.
Out of the 10 caution flags all weekend, six were for stage breaks. That’s awesome racing.
While the lead changes weren’t filling up the stat sheet, the racing proved that you don’t have to have a ton of lead changes to have an exciting race. Tons of passing through the field, tons of drama and huge championship implications make all three races fun and exciting.
Next, how can we overlook Goodyear. They signed a multi-year extension to be the sole tire provider with NASCAR through the 2022 season. Again, another bright moment for the sport.
With all the change to the sport over the last decade, from the “Chase” to the new “playoffs” to the Championship 4 format, to stage racing, playoff points, to a great group of veterans retiring from the sport, to a new young crop of drivers replacing them, NASCAR proved in 2017 that the future is bright.
Homestead proved that and more.