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Everything you need to know for Miami title race

Staff Report

Today, we crown a champion.

Through 35 points-paying races, plenty of triumphs and, yes, some tribulations and heartache as well, four of the top drivers in the sport will compete today for the 2019 Monster Energy Series Championship.

Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. take center stage at Homestead-Miami Speedway in today’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Before we drop the green flag, read through our comprehensive coverage to get fully up-to-speed for Championship Sunday.

The story lines


• Denny Hamlin
enters the title race with plenty of momentum. It’s a far cry from last year, when he went winless. New crew chief Chris Gabehart and team owner Joe Gibbs helped rebuild the driver’s confidence. | Read more

Kevin Harvick vs. Joe Gibbs Racing? Well, yes. Kind of. Harvick going against three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers today isn’t quite as simple as it seems. | Read more

Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have had a frosty relationship at times. “Rowdy” details the history between the two, and then explains how things eventually got better. | Watch video

It’s no secret Martin Truex Jr. and crew Cole Pearn have a tremendous relationship. We dive into what makes them tick — together. | Read more

Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs share a long history together. Before they battle for the title — as team owners — they shared stories, and laughs, in a pre-race availability. | Read more

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

The breakdown


Rain altered the schedule, leading to just one practice. See how each driver fared, their top lap and what they said. | Read more

Our friends at Racing Insights took 16 statistical categories — representative of the 16 drivers in the playoffs — and ranked the Championship 4 drivers in each. The result? A no-bias view of who the favorite is. | Read more

• Denny Hamlin is the only driver in the title field to never win a championship. We rank the best NASCAR drivers to never win a title. | Read more

While Hamlin goes for his first crown, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch all go for their second. They’d join a prestigious list of multi-time champions. | Read more

• In the elimination-style format, the eventual Cup Series champion has won the title race every year. There have been plenty of other clutch moments in these playoffs, too. | Read more

2019 Cuphero2

The stats


Rain meant there was just one practice, and it was Kyle Busch who was fastest. See the entire speed chart. | Read more

Canceled qualifying means Denny Hamlin, who came into the weekend as the top seed due to Round of 8 performance, starts from the pole position. | See the full lineup

• Kyle Busch seems to have good short-run speed. The longer the cars ran, though, the faster Martin Truex Jr. got. Check out our full breakdown of lap averages. | Read more

The picks


Time to race. Each member of the NASCAR.com editorial staff makes his or her pick for the 2019 Monster Energy Series champion. | Read more

Two Joe Gibbs Racing drivers opened as favorites in the Vegas books — catch up on the latest movement here. | Read more

Championships can be won in Fantasy Live, too — or at the very least, bragging rights are on the line. Get the scoop on our recommended drivers to play and avoid. | Read more