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Last Updated Monday, Nov 27, 2006 1:51 am, EST

Race Capsule

Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • What:

    Race 38 of 38 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL

  • When:

    November 19, 2006 2:50 pm EST

  • Laps:

    267

  • Track Length:

    1.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    401.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $5,200,543

Drivers to Watch

Kasey Kahne Chase points: 6,013 (9th) Ran seventh at Phoenix but still trails Johnson by an insurmountable 319 points; another Chase driver who saw his title hopes come to an end at Atlanta, where he finished 38th after crashing with David Stremme on lap 256; finished seventh at Martinsville, recorded his series-leading sixth checkered flag of the season at Lowe's and was runner-up to Vickers at Talladega; failed to cash in on claiming the pole at Kansas, spinning out as he tried to make it to the pits on his final stop after running out of fuel and finishing 33rd; is second in the circuit to Kurt Busch with five poles, fueling his first appearance in the season-ending title run; finished 16th in this race last year.
Kyle Busch Chase points: 5,973 (10th) Struggled to 38th place last week at Phoenix, the latest in a series of disappointing runs in the Chase; finished fourth last week at Texas, his best finish since placing second in the regular-season finale at Richmond; eliminated himself from Chase contention after another poor performance at Atlanta, where he finished 27th in the race and remained 10th in the standings; has not overcome a pair of finishes outside the top 35 in the first two Chase races; struggled to 41st in this race last year after crashing on lap 116.
Jeff Burton Chase points: 6,107 (7th) Veteran hopes to end bounce-back season in style Sunday; ran 10th in last week's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway for his 20th top-10 finish this season, second only to points leader Jimmie Johnson; saw his hopes of a first career title end two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway, where he ran 38th after completing just 269 laps; is seventh in the "Chase for the Championship" points standings and trails Johnson by 225 points; lost his lead in the standings after a disastrous outing at Martinsville, where he dropped four spots to fifth after blowing an engine in lap 218 and finishing 42nd in the 43-car field; captured his only checkered flag of the season at Dover; has seven top-five finishes, teaming with Kevin Harvick to lead a resurgence by Richard Childress Racing; finished 25th in this event last season.
Kevin Harvick Chase points: 6,242 (3rd) Captured his fifth checkered flag of the season last week at Phoenix and, like Hamlin, is 90 points behind Johnson and still has an outside chance at the title; took the worse hit of any Chase driver at Atlanta, where he struggled to 31st place and dropped four spots to sixth in the standings; still tracking an unprecedented double after capturing the Busch Series title five weeks ago, his second career Busch championship (2001); no driver has won the Nextel Cup and Busch titles in the same year; has been very erratic in his last 14 races, with four of his five victories coming in that span but just three other finishes better than 11th; ran eighth in this race last season and has four top-10 finishes in five career starts at this track.
Jeff Gordon Chase points: 6,165 (6th) Pursuit of a fifth career title came to an end last week despite running fourth at Phoenix, his fourth straight top-10 finish; is sixth in the standings and has registered six top-10 finishes in the nine Chase races; like Busch, another Hendrick Motorsports driver that has run into bad luck throughout the postseason; dropped three spots to 10th in the standings after finishing 24th at Lowe's, where he was running fifth before his engine blew up just 32 laps from the finish; got caught up in an 11-car crash late at Talladega and completed just 167 laps en route to 36th-place finish; plummeted four spots after placing 39th at Kansas, where he experienced fuel problems with just 28 laps left; has won twice this year to push his career total to 75, most among active drivers; placed ninth in this event last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chase points: 6,217 (5th) Trails Johnson by 115 points from fifth in the standings but still has an outside chance at the Cup; finished ninth at Phoenix, his fifth top-10 finish in his last seven races; continued pursuit of first career title with courageous performance at Texas, where he battled flu-like symptoms and rebounded from an early crash to finish sixth; climbed right back into Chase contention with an impressive third-place performance at Atlanta; title chances took a serious hit at Talladega, where he was knocked off the lead in the final lap by Brian Vickers; managed 23rd place in that race; has 10 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s this season; ran 19th in this race last season.
Jimmie Johnson Chase points: 6,332 (1st) Elusive first career title is within his grasp after runner-up finish at Phoenix, his third consecutive second-place showing; owns a 63-point lead over Matt Kenseth and is assured of winning the title with a 12th-place finish Sunday; recaptured the lead in the Chase standings after finishing second to Tony Stewart at Texas; got off to a poor start in the Chase but is more than alive after finishing second at Atlanta one week after capturing the checkered flag at Martinsville; revived fading title hopes with runner-up finish to Kasey Kahne five weeks ago at Lowe's; has won five times this season - including victories at superspeedways Daytona and Talladega; crashed on lap 125 of this event last year en route to 40th place.
Matt Kenseth Chase points: 6,269 (2nd) Has not faltered in the Chase but also has not shined, finishing between 10th and 14th in six of the nine postseason races; placed 13th last weekend at Phoenix and trails Johnson by 63 points; needs to finish at least 13 spots higher than Johnson on Sunday; finished 12th at Texas and lost his Chase standings lead to Johnson, who was runner-up to Stewart; reclaimed the Chase lead despite finishing 11th at Martinsville, where he capitalized on Burton's crucial engine failure; had consecutive wins in August to run his season total to four and grab the standings lead heading into the Chase; won the series title in 2003 despite capturing only one victory, prompting the change to the Chase format; ran third in this event last season.
Mark Martin Chase points: 6,059 (8th) Ran sixth at Phoenix, ending a streak of four consecutive finishes outside the top 20; like Busch and Kahne, another driver who had his title hopes dashed at Atlanta, where he was wrecked by Sterling Marlin off a restart with 15 laps remaining and finished 36th; has no chance to win elusive first series title, which would have been a wonderful capper to a remarkable career; has yet to win a pole or a race this season, again raising questions about points distribution in the Nextel Cup standings; was runner-up to Biffle in this race last season and has four top-five finishes in seven career starts at this track.
Denny Hamlin Chase points: 6,242 (4th) Top circuit rookie remained in title contention with third-place finish at Phoenix, his fourth straight top-10 finish and his sixth overall in the Chase; trails Johnson by 90 points; revived his title hopes at Martinsville, where he finished second behind Johnson; was involved in a massive 14-car crash at Lowe's and slipped to sixth in the standings; has two wins this season, both at Pocono, becoming just the second rookie in series history to win both races at a single track; struggled to 33rd place in this event last season.