The focus of Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway naturally will be the championship battle between Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.
Keselowski leads Johnson by 20 points and is expected to win his first championship, but race circumstances could open the door for Johnson to win his sixth title.
There are many other storylines active this week at Homestead, however, in the season’s final event:
• Although Keselowski and Johnson are the only drivers eligible to win the championship, there remains the possibility for a lot of movement in the points below them. Only 28 points separate fourth place (Kasey Kahne) from seventh place (Greg Biffle), so drivers in that point range could move up or down several positions. Jeff Gordon currently holds 10th, the final position that is included in awards banquet festivities in Las Vegas in two weeks. He’s 21 points ahead of Martin Truex Jr. in 11th.
• Speaking of Truex Jr., he’s the only one of the dozen Chase drivers who doesn’t have a race victory this season. Sunday’s race is his final shot.
• The race will be the final one for Matt Kenseth at Roush Fenway Racing, his home virtually since his arrival in NASCAR. Kenseth will move on to Joe Gibbs Racing next season.
• Also cutting the cord Sunday will be Joey Logano, who will be driving for Joe Gibbs Racing for the final time. He moves to Penske Racing next year.
• Carl Edwards, one of the top guns in recent years at Homestead with two wins in eight races but a non-Chaser this year, gets his final chance to win a race in what has been a tough season.
• Sunday will be Kurt Busch’s last shot at winning a race this year and continuing his streak of winning at least one Sprint Cup event into an 11th season. Busch has one win in 11 Homestead starts.
• Another streak is on the line. Ryan Newman has won at least one pole for 11 straight seasons but has been shut out this year.
• Sunday’s race will be the final event for the current version of the Sprint Cup car. New Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota models will debut in February at Daytona International Speedway. Most teams in the garage won’t be weeping as the “old” car fades into the sunset.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.