|12/03/15||The Champion By NHMS Numbers|
|11/20/15||The Championship Four Preview|
|11/13/15||Phoenix: Three To Watch|
|10/30/15||Martinsville: Three To Watch|
|10/18/15||Kansas: Three To Watch|
|10/05/15||Charlotte: Three To Watch|
The Championship Four Preview
There's one race left.
One race left to crown a champion. One race left to leave a legacy. One race left in Jeff Gordon's storied career. This is it. It all comes down to which of the four championship contenders finishes the highest (hopefully, first) on Sunday.
Here's a look at the four contenders and why they'll win the championship, following through on the opportunity will be up to them:
Kevin Harvick will win the championship because...
He's had the best season. Harvick tops the field in top-fives at 22, average finish at 8.9, and not surprisingly, points accrued. In the traditional points system, Harvick would be 20 points clear of Joey Logano (second) and 84 of the rest of the field. When it comes to consistency, only Logano came close (the two tied for 27 top-10s), and he's not in the championship field, so he's not a threat to Harvick's chances at repeating.
Kyle Busch will win the championship because...
He wins races. Despite missing 11 races at the start of the season due to a broken leg and broken foot, Busch won more races (four) than any of the other three contenders (who combined for a total of five). All four wins came in a five-race span, which sounds negative, but Busch enters Homestead having finished in the top-five in each of the last three races. He'll be near the front at the end of the race, and his restart ability would make him the favorite to win a green-white-checkered finish, if it comes down to that.
Martin Truex Jr. will win the championship because...
He can maximize his car's performance. The No. 78 is far from the flashiest team in the series, but started the season with 14 top-10s in 15 races. Truex has seven top-10s in 10 starts at Homestead, and leads the Championship Four at that track in important loop statistics that include average running position, driver rating and average green flag speed. Those aren't sexy stats, they're workmanlike. And, that's exactly where Truex's success has stemmed from this season.
Jeff Gordon will win the championship because...
He's saved the best for last (just like this preview). As stated above, this is it. There's nothing left to accomplish in NASCAR after this race for Jeff Gordon. Sunday will be his final curtain call in an illustrious career. He'll leave it all on the line. His team will leave it all on the line. It's has chance to cement his legacy.
Storylines aside, he led 161 laps at Homestead last season and won there in 2012. In this Chase, he has seven top-10s in nine races and has earned the most points during the nine races in the Chase. All those stats suggest he's not only the sentinel favorite, but also capable of pulling off the storybook ending.