Ford 400 Preview and Picks

Race: Ford 400
Track: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Date: November 18, 2007
Time: 3 p.m. Eastern
Channel: ABC

By Virginia Vroom of

So here it is, the final race of a not-so-usual season. This week’s
race at Homestead in Miami is the finale to an action-packed season on
the Cup circuit. Last year’s winner is one of this year’s numerous
drivers dealing with a streak of bad luck and inconsistencies; however,
we definitely can not rule out Greg Biffle, as he has won this race not
only last year but for the last THREE years.

This being a once a year race unlike Talladega or Martinsville, the
drivers have not yet seen what the track is capable of this time around.
Homestead is a 1.5 mile track with progressive banking that was
developed not too long ago. Tony Stewart has won a couple of times here
too, but this was long before the track changed its banking, and he
hasn’t seen a win since.

We definitely can’t ignore winners from other similar tracks. With
drivers like Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth dominating on tracks like
Atlanta and Texas Motor Speedway, we have to give them credit where
credit is due. In all fairness, like it or not, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff
Gordon have to be mentioned as well.

Historically, they have dominated
on 1.5 mile ovals. Who can forget Jimmie’s domination of Lowe’s Motor
Speedway? I mean come on; the man has something going for him here.
But if we take into account the other series that race here, Matt
Kenseth and Mark Martin are notorious in the Busch and Craftsman Truck
Series, respectably. These guys take care of business in those series,
so they definitely know how to drive the track and make it work for
them. If they can transfer that talent into their Cup cars, then they
are guys to watch too.

One more name that can be tossed in the ring as
a possible winner is Kasey Kahne. Even though his performance has been
less than, ahem, satisfactory this year, Kahne historically does great
at this 1.5 mile tracks. These are his best and favorite places to
race, unlike those short tracks like Martinsville and Richmond where he
tends to get slaughtered. If he can steer clear of accidents and maybe
get his crew to work together for just one race, he could have a little
itty-bitty chance at a win here.

If we take a look at the odds, there are a few drivers that are
definitely favored to win. I think that Jimmie Johnson with his 5-1
odds is definitely the one to watch here, even though Homestead has
never given him a win. But hey, he never won at Texas until last week
either. We’ve all definitely heard enough from and about him, but who
can deny his 10 wins this season and his four wins in a row? It may
make you sick to your stomach, but he seems unstoppable.

A potential
dark horse that we have to watch out for is Greg Biffle. He’s gained
some momentum this season and even with 18-1 odds, he has won this race
for the last three years. He’s also set race records in the Cup series
and qualifying records in the Busch series. I’d definitely be willing
to put a few bucks on this guy.

If I had to choose, I’d put my money on Johnson. I’m sick and tired of
hearing about him, but Chad Knaus is the best there is out there right
now, period. He takes the risks and makes the calls that allow Jimmie
to win. Keep your eyes peeled because with the Championship on the line
this week, Johnson is going to do what it takes to defend his title.