Rankings are updated every Monday of the NASCAR season.
Harvick not only won Sunday’s race, but also secured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup title in his 14th season. The 38-year-old Bakersfield, California native took a big chance at the end of last season, leaving the only team he has ever raced for to try his luck with a new team at Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick put together a fantastic season-leading 2,137 laps — a series high — and winning five races, tied for the second most in the series. His final two wins came Sunday and the week prior at Phoenix — both must-win races for Harvick. In the end, Harvick was one of the strongest cars all season and sealed the deal Sunday night at Homestead.
Newman nearly pulled it off. The win-less driver ran well enough all year to keep him in the title hunt. Sunday, Newman started deeper in the field than any of the other four title contenders — 21st — but fought his way to the front near the halfway point. Late in the race he began to drift back, but his crew made the call for two tires on the final stops of the night, giving him the track position to put in him second place. He nearly pulled off the win, coming just a half second short of the win and the title.
Hamlin looked like the class of the field for much of the race. He led a total of 54 laps and he looked to be the car to beat. Unfortunately, a call by his crew chief late in the race left Hamlin out on old tires. The call turned out badly, as the rest of the leaders came in for fresh tires. At the end of the race it was all Hamlin could do to hold on; he finished the night in 7th.
Logano was one of the favorites coming into the day. He started ninth and was contending for the lead for much of the race, but late-race troubles on the track and in the pits doomed him. He scraped the wall in the closing laps and fell outside the top 10. Then on a pit stop, with less than 20 laps to go, his Ford dropped off the jack, and Logano spent a great deal of time on pit road. It was then that he and his crew knew their hopes for a title were over. Logano restarted 24th and was only able to rally back to a 16th-place finish.
About The Ranker:
Greg Engle is an Examiner.com writer and an award-winning columnist who has worked full time for the Sporting News and the NASCAR Wire Service—if you wanted to get any more inside the sport of NASCAR you’d have to wear a crash helmet. He has received bylines in hundreds of newspapers across the country on auto sports and has also been featured on NASCAR.com, ThatsRacin.com, ESPN and Fox Sports. His work can be found at Examiner.com.