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Statistically Speaking

Ford EcoBoost 400 Stats

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

This week’s race: Ford EcoBoost 400
Other Notable Names: Ford 400

NASCAR has been racing in Homestead for 16 years, but this track underwent an identity crisis for quite some time. The first four years struggled through two flat iterations and finally the owners hit on the right combination. Progressive banking on short tracks had been tried for years, but no one gave it serious consideration on 1.5-milers until 2003 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It worked. In fact, it worked quite well and with the exception of Greg Biffle no one has been able to post back-to-back victories on this unique track as drivers struggle to find the right setup. Carl Edwards came close with two wins in three years from 2008 through 2010 and he added a second-place result in 2011. Denny Hamlin also has a pair of victories, but his were separated by three seasons.

How does that impact Kevin Harvick’s chances for scoring back-to-back wins? Hardly at all, because NASCAR re-writes its history book with each passing season.

10 best drivers at Homestead

Over the past three races, these drivers have the best average finish on this track.

1. Clint Bowyer
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 5.00
Career avg. finish: 10.9 in 9 attempts

Bowyer will make his final start in the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota this week as that organization also rides into the sunset. The team has had some good runs and been perfect at Homestead in regard to top-10 finishes. Bowyer’s eighth last year was his worst behind the wheel of this car and his second in 2012 remains a career best.

2. Kevin Harvick
Last six races average finish at Homestead: 6.33
Career avg. finish: 6.6 in 12 attempts

Harvick has been close to perfect at Homestead since the track went to progressive banking in 2003. He finished second that year to Bobby Labonte and has swept the top 10 in all but one event since. His only struggle came in 2007 when he finished 19th; that is also the only time he failed to finish on the lead lap after losing a single circuit.

3. Jeff Gordon (tied with Newman)
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 7.33
Career avg. finish: 9.9 in 12 attempts

Harvick and Gordon have not been well-matched for most of the season, but the current Chase format requires that drivers pull off one perfect race to win the championship. Harvick’s single Homestead win came last year; Gordon got his first and so far only victory three seasons ago. In their careers, Gordon has not been quite as strong as Harvick and that could be the difference maker. He has missed the top 10 three times, but one of those was an 11th in 2013.

3. Ryan Newman (tied with Gordon)
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 7.33
Career avg. finish: 16.7 in 12 attempts

Last year Newman saved his best for last. Winless during the 2014 season, he was not going to win the championship without passing Harvick for the lead and that was simply impossible. His second-place finish was amazing, however, and it came on the heels of a third in 2012.

5. Brad Keselowski
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 8.00
Career avg. finish: 15.0 in 7 attempts

Keselowski’s last two Homestead efforts ended in top-six finishes and a 15th in 2012 was strong enough to elevate him to this week’s top-five. This track is filled with unique winners, and the No. 2 racer is strong enough to play the role of spoiler on Sunday. If a non-Chaser wins and the focus shifts to the top five for the championship, all bets are off the table.

6. Matt Kenseth
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 8.67
Career avg. finish: 12.4 in 12 attempts

Matt is back and he is one of 39 drivers who want to make a statement about their strength against the field regardless of their Chase potential. His desire to get to the head of the pack is probably even greater than anyone else’s with the possible exception of Joey Logano. If a Chaser does not win, Kenseth would provide another great storyline for the NASCAR media.

7. Martin Truex Jr. (tied with Earnhardt)
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 9.00
Career avg. finish: 10.0 in 10 attempts

Since joining the Cup series full time, Truex scored his worst Homestead-Miami Speedway finish last year with a 17th. Before that, he had an 11th in 2010 as his low water mark—excluding one poor run in a pre-rookie warm-up. He enters the weekend with nine consecutive lead lap finishes on this track and in order to finish first, drivers must first finish—as the old truism goes.

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (tied with Truex)
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 9.00
Career avg. finish: 21.3 in 12 attempts

NASCAR is often about karmic balance. Earnhardt lucked into last week’s Phoenix victory, but he would have been the winner at Talladega SuperSpeedway if that race had gone green for another quarter of a second. The driver of the No. 88 enters this week’s Ford 400 with a four-race streak of top-15s and one more chance to win before the season is complete.

9. Denny Hamlin
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 10.67
Career avg. finish: 10.8 in 10 attempts

Hamlin is one of five different winners in the past five years at Homestead, but he has an edge over the competition because of another win in 2009. Hamlin has another distinction that could make him very attractive in games that offer place-differential points because he has finished better than he started in all 10 of his previous Homestead attempts.

10. Joey Logano
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 12.67
Career avg. finish: 20.0 in 6 attempts

Last year Logano was disappointing at Homestead with his 16th-place finish, but he ran much better in the event than that suggests. He spent 248 of 267 laps inside the top 10 and was equally strong in 2013. He is out to prove that he could have won the championship if he had not been eliminated with back-to-back accidents at Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, and it would be hard to bet against him.

Others of Note

11. Kurt Busch
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 13.67
Career avg. finish: 20.5 in 11 attempts

Busch has not been terrible at Homestead in the past three years, but he has been a little mediocre from the drop of the green to the waving of the checkers. In 2012 he posted the 11th-most top-10 laps to remain more or less in contention, but he last two attempts have only shown about 20 percent of his laps inside that mark.

15. Kyle Busch
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 16.67
Career avg. finish: 20.5 in 11 attempts

Busch is the only Chase contender who is not included in this week’s top-10 in three-year average finishes, but that is because he experienced trouble in last year’s finale. He broke an axle exiting the pits just shy of the halfway point, but had been contending for his third consecutive top-10 until that point.

16. Jimmie Johnson
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 18.00
Career avg. finish: 14.1 in 12 attempts

When he won all of his championships, Johnson nearly always entered Homestead with a substantial points’ lead and very little incentive to go for broke and win. As a result, he has treated this track safely and never scored a victory. With the knockout formula, he has not had much more to race for and finished ninth in last year’s Ford 400.

18. Jamie McMurray
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 18.33
Career avg. finish: 16.2 in 12 attempts

McMurray was eliminated from the Chase at the end of round two, but pride is still on the line. Last year he and teammate Kyle Larson were among the strongest non-Chasers in the field and the No. 1 ended with a fifth-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 400.

19. Carl Edwards
Last three races average finish at Homestead: 19.33
Career avg. finish: 9.1 in 11 attempts

It would have been interesting to see Edwards in the finale because he had a perfect record of top-15 finishes entering last year’s Homestead race. Crash damage cause him to lose four laps and in a race with limited attrition that killed his average finish, but he is also one of a very few drivers with multiple wins on this track.

 

Rank

Driver

Avg.

Attempts

1.

Clint Bowyer

5.00

3

2.

Kevin Harvick

6.33

3

3.

Jeff Gordon

7.33

3

3.

Ryan Newman

7.33

3

5.

Brad Keselowski

8.00

3

6.

Matt Kenseth

8.67

3

7.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

9.00

3

7.

Martin Truex Jr.

9.00

3

9.

Denny Hamlin

10.67

3

10.

Joey Logano

12.67

3

 

11.

Kurt Busch

13.67

3

12.

Aric Almirola

14.00

3

12.

Kyle Larson

14.00

2

14.

Kasey Kahne

15.33

3

15.

Kyle Busch

16.67

3

16.

Jimmie Johnson

18.00

3

16.

Paul Menard

18.00

3

18.

Jamie McMurray

18.33

3

19.

Danica Patrick

19.00

2

20.

Carl Edwards

19.33

3

21.

Greg Biffle

23.33

3

22.

Casey Mears

25.67

3

23.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

27.67

3

24.

Landon Cassill

29.67

3

25.

David Ragan

30.00

3

25.

Tony Stewart

30.00

2

27.

David Gilliland

30.33

3

28.

Travis Kvapil

31.50

2

29.

Reed Sorenson

34.00

2

30.

JJ Yeley

34.67

3

31.

Trevor Bayne

35.00

3

31.

Michael McDowell

35.00

3

33.

Josh Wise

37.67

3

34.

AJ Allmendinger

38.00

2

Drivers with only one start

 

Justin Allgaier

15.00

1

 

Sam Hornish Jr.

22.00

1

 

Austin Dillon

25.00

1

 

Bobby Labonte

25.00

1

 

Cole Whitt

26.00

1

 

Brian Scott

28.00

1

 

Alex Bowman

33.00

1

 

Michael Annett

35.00

1

 

Brett Moffitt

36.00

1

 

Mike Bliss

43.00

1

 

Exercise Caution

Most caution flags: 14, 2004 Ford 400
Fewest caution flags: 3, 2012 Ford EcoBoost 400
Average number of caution flags per race: 8.8
In 2015: 8.4

Final Caution, last five races:
November 2014: 263 of 267: debris (turn 1)
November 2013: 232 of 267: debris (Paul Menard car on fire)
November 2012: 115 of 267: 1-car accident in turn 3 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.)
November 2011: 214 of 267: rain
November 2010: 244 of 267: 2-car accident on frontstretch (Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick)

Most caution laps: 79, 2004 Ford 400
Fewest caution laps: 17, 2012 Ford EcoBoost 400
Average number of caution laps per race: 42.8
In 2015: 46.0

Leading the way

Most leaders: 15, 2011 Ford 400
Fewest leaders: 7, 2004 Ford 400
Average number of leaders: 9.5
In 2015: 8.4

Most lead changes: 26, 2011 Ford 400
Fewest lead changes: 14, 2004 Ford 400
Average number of lead changes: 19.7
In 2015: 17.1

Victory Lane

Last five winners (starting position):
November 2014: Kevin Harvick (fifth)
November 2013: Denny Hamlin (fifth)
November 2012: Jeff Gordon (15th)
November 2011: Tony Stewart (15th)
November 2010: Carl Edwards (second)

Worst starting position for race winner: 38th, Denny Hamlin:  2009 Ford 400

A race at Homestead has been won by the pole sitter 0 times and from the front row 3 times in 12 races.

Recent races won from the pole:
None, outside pole:
Carl Edwards, 2010 Ford 400
Greg Biffle, 2004 Ford 400
Bobby Labonte, 2003 Ford 400

Active winners at Homestead

Greg Biffle: 3
Carl Edwards: 2
Denny Hamlin: 2
Jeff Gordon: 1
Matt Kenseth: 1
Tony Stewart: 1
Kevin Harvick: 1

First time winners at Homestead:
None, Greg Biffle won his third Cup race in the 2004 Ford 400

Running at the End

The following active drivers have been running at the end of every Homestead race they started:
Kevin Harvick (12)
Jamie McMurray (12)
Carl Edwards (11)
Denny Hamlin (10)
Clint Bowyer (9)
David Gilliland (9)
Brad Keselowski (7)
Aric Almirola (5)
Sam Hornish Jr. (4)
Kyle Larson (2)
Danica Patrick (2)
Justin Allgaier (1)
Michael Annett (1)
Alex Bowman (1)
Austin Dillon (1)
Brett Moffitt (1)
Brian Scott (1)

AJ Allmendinger had been running at the end of five consecutive races until he crashed out of last year’s.
Tony Stewart has been running at the end of 10 consecutive races until he crashed out of last year’s.
Matt Kenseth failed to finish his first attempt in 2003, but has been running at the end of 11 races since.
Kasey Kahne failed to finish his first attempt in 2004, but has been running at the end of 10 races since.
Martin Truex Jr. failed to finish his first attempt in 2004, but has been running at the end of nine races since.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crashed out of his first attempt in 2012, but has been running at the end of his last two.

Great Starts

Active drivers with top-10s in their first start on this track:
Kevin Harvick: second (2003) *
Jimmie Johnson: third (2003) *
Jeff Gordon: fifth (2003) *
Tony Stewart: seventh (2003) *
Jamie McMurray: ninth (2003) *
David Ragan: 10th (2007)
Clint Bowyer: 10th (2006)

* inaugural race

Current Streaks

At Homestead
Kevin Harvick, seven top-10s
Clint Bowyer, four top-10s
Matt Kenseth, two top-10s
Brad Keselowski, two top-10s
Jimmie Johnson, two top-10s
Denny Hamlin, two top-10s

In 2015
Jeff Gordon, six top-10s
Dale Earnhardt Jr., four top-10s
Kyle Busch, three top-fives
Kevin Harvick, three top-10s
Jimmie Johnson, two top-fives
Kurt Busch, two top-10s
Brad Keselowski, two top-10s

Martin Truex Jr. had been running in the top 10 in three straight races before last week’s 14th.

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.