Four drivers have a shot at Chase glory when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase hits Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford EcoBoost 400 this Sunday.
With Joey Logano securing his place via a checkered flag in Phoenix, Arizona, the final four looks like a star-studded cast. Joining Logano is Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, three other guys who know a thing or two about must-win races.
Busch won last year, completing a miracle comeback story. This year a new chapter in history awaits as the four tackle one of the trickiest tracks around while trying to navigate an upset-minded field of drivers looking to finish the year on a high note.
Here is everything to know about the Chase finale.
Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway
When: Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET
Live stream: NBC Sports
Sprint Cup Standings
|8||Martin Truex Jr.||2266||4|
NASCAR at Miami Lineup
|78||Martin Truex Jr|
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr|
Drivers to Watch
Logano only needed to lead 58 laps last week in Phoenix to steal the win, giving him his second checkered flag in four outings.
Not bad for a guy whose only other win came back in mid-June.
We've got momentum. There's a lot of excitement. I remember when we got through a couple years ago to Miami, I wasn't as excited. I was immediately nervous right after the race [at Phoenix]. This time the feeling is, 'Hey, we've got confidence. I know we can do it.' I don't feel like it's a long shot like it was last time because we've been here before. We've been in these situations.
Not only does Logano enter the weekend in a position to make history, he stands alone in the momentum department. Few drivers have looked as great as of late, so his taking it all wouldn't come as much of a shock.
Speaking of making history, Johnson looks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title No. 7 in the eye this weekend.
Such a triumph would tie him with legends such as Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. As one can see from the video above, Johnson isn't backing down from the challenge.
The only problem with Johnson's outlook is his recent performance. He won in Martinsville, Virginia, to secure an automatic bid to this round but went on to finish 11th and 38th over his past two outings. That gives him three finishes outside of the top 10 over his last four races.
Then again, this is Johnson. Recent history might not mean much for a guy elbowing himself into the picture with Earnhardt and Petty.
Edwards might seem like the oddest name in the last four standing.
While he won three races on the year, if fans had to guess, they likely would have predicted someone such as Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski or Martin Truex Jr. as the fourth name to join the other three.
Alas, Edwards posted a win in Texas to punch his ticket. Now he's almost flying under the radar as the most dangerous man left standing, as data by NASCAR showed:
Edwards has finished 19th or worse in three of his last four outings, the exception the win. But like Johnson, history says it doesn't much matter.
Busch was one of the top overall sports stories of last year. A devastating injury, a NASCAR medical exemption and a ridiculous tear led to an improbable title.
Things haven't been nearly as dramatic for Busch in 2016. He won four races in total and has also looked good down the stretch, posting three consecutive finishes of fifth or better.
Alas, Busch has made it clear he can't lean on last year's run too much, as captured by Oreovicz:
It's nice to be able to look back on what you did, and being able to do it before, you can kind of try to follow the same format of what happened. But the three other guys are different and the race cars are different this year, and the track's going to be one more year worn out than it was last year. Out of all the variables, it doesn't seem like there are that many constants.
As the driver with the most momentum and the defending champ, Busch certainly enters at an advantage regardless.
Whether he bests what looks like an experienced field when it comes to Miami makes for quite the championship-worthy scenario.
Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
Follow Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) on Twitter.