3 burnouts for 3 winners at Homestead-Miami
By Isabel Gonzalez
November 18, 2017
HOMESTEAD, Fla.—Three burnouts filled the Homestead-Miami Speedway with smoke Saturday as three drivers were crowned after the 23rd annual Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The race victory went to Cole Custer, who began the day in the No. 2 spot. The driver of the No. 00 Ford showed dominance throughout, leading 182 out of the 200 laps.
“We knew we were gonna be really good this weekend, but our Haas Automation Mustang was unreal,” Custer said. “We really wanted to have a good showing at Ford Championship Weekend. Even though we weren’t in (the Championship 4), we wanted to win.”
Sam Hornish Jr. finished in second place but won the owner’s championship for the Team Penske No. 22 car.
The XFINITY Series Championship went to third-place-finisher William Byron, driver of the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet.
The 19 year old was also awarded the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns the No 9 car, talked about Bryon’s ability to remain calm during high-pressure situations.
“I’m happy for William. This kid is the total package,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Obviously we see that he’s got talent.”
As for Byron himself, he said he was thankful for what he got to experience.
“I don’t know that I took a breath the last 20 laps,” Byron said. “That was incredible. I just have to thank this team. This is awesome…I just can’t believe this. I’ve just got to thank God for giving me this platform to perform. I can’t believe this.”
The day began in an interesting manner as officials were forced to review the race just after the green flag came out. Ryan Reed, driver of the No. 16 Ford, received a pass-through penalty for changing lanes before getting to the Start/Finish Line.
Tyler Reddick began the race in the front position, having recorded a 32.604 second lap during qualifiers. However, the driver of the No. 42 BBR/Granger Smith was challenged right away, and lost the lead to Custer during the third lap. Reddick got it back during the 24th but lost it again two laps later.
Custer remained strong and went on to finish Stage 1 as the leader with Reddick trailing right behind him. The next stage also belonged to Custer. Reddick eventually fell behind, allowing other drivers to compete with Custer. Hornish Jr.’s No. 22 Ford managed to fill in the No. 2 position at the end of Stage 2.
There were not a lot of cautions throughout the day. Aside from the conclusion of the stages, the only other caution came from an incident in Turn 2 involving JJ Yeley’s No. 14 Toyota during the 18th lap.
Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 21 Chevy for Poppy Bank, began the race at the No. 4 spot but was forced to make a pit stop during the second stage around the 60th lap due to a mechanical issue. This made him fall behind, ruining his chance at the championship title. He finished 34th, 13 laps short.
Elliott Sadler, No. 1, and Justin Allgaier, No. 7, were the other two drivers competing for the championship. They finished 8th and 12th respectively.
Jonny Olkowski/The Racing Experts