New NASCAR Winston Cup champion to be determined in Miami; Mark Martin trails Tony Stewart by 89 points entering Ford 400. MIAMI, FL (11/10/02)- Mark Martin and Tony Stewart will duel for the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship this week...
New NASCAR Winston Cup champion to be determined in Miami; Mark Martin trails Tony Stewart by 89 points entering Ford 400.
MIAMI, FL (11/10/02)- Mark Martin and Tony Stewart will duel for the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship this week when the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series all conclude their seasons at the first-ever Ford Championship Weekend, this Thursday - Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Following Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, Stewart leads Martin by 89 points entering the Ford 400 on Sunday, November 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With a fourth place finish and by leading a lap at Phoenix, Martin gained 23 points on Stewart who finished eighth. Entering the day, Stewart had led Martin by 112 points.
Martin can make up as many as 151 points by leading the most laps and winning the race at the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart can clinch the title by finishing 22nd or better and not leading a lap; finishing 24th or better and leading a single lap; or finishing 25th or better and leading the most laps.
Both drivers have enjoyed success at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart won the first two NASCAR Winston Cup races (1999, 2000) ever run in Miami, while finishing 19th in last year's race. Martin has averaged a ninth-place finish in three career NASCAR Winston Cup starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the two years that Stewart won in Miami, Martin finished in fourth ('99) and third place ('00), while finishing in 24th place last year in Miami.
The two drivers also posted the two fastest speeds in pre-race testing sessions this season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In a test on November 4, Stewart topped the charts at 149.354 MPH, while Martin was clocked at 149.084 MPH on October 30 in Miami.
Both drivers are seeking their first NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. Martin, a 20-year Winston Cup veteran, has finished second in points three times and third in points four times. Stewart, entering his fourth season in NASCAR Winston Cup, finished second to Jeff Gordon in the championship last year.
Beyond Martin and Stewart dueling for the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, the racing action will be fast and furious as drivers battle for points at the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Just 23 points separate third (Kurt Busch) from seventh place (Ryan Newman). The Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award will also be determined at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Newman leads Jimmie Johnson by 20 points in the rookie standings.
In addition to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship being decided in Miami, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship will play itself out at the Ford 200 on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Three drivers, Mike Bliss (leader), Rick Crawford (32 points back) and Ted Musgrave (71 points back), remain in contention for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title.
Greg Biffle, who clinched the NASCAR Busch Series championship in Phoenix, will be officially crowned the NASCAR Busch Series champion on Saturday after the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Tickets still remain for Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway by calling 305-230-RACE or by visiting www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.