Austin Dillon entered the NASCAR Championship-finale Ford 200 Friday as the points leader and needed to finish 16th or better in the Ford 200 no matter how closest pursuer Johnny Sauter fared. Sauter made a bid for the Championship by winning the Ford 200, albeit in a race that was called with 18 laps to go.
Dillon, who at 21 became the youngest champion in the 17-year history of the Truck Series, was the rookie of the year in the series a year ago. He also stands as one of NASCAR’s up-and-coming drivers and is scheduled to drive a full schedule in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012.
“The best feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life,” said Dillon. “The championship is amazing but I think I played too much defense today. I had to play it conservatively at times during the race.”
Sauter won the rain-shortened race, holding off Denny Hamlin just before the final caution dropped, to finish second in the championship standing just six points behind Dillon and ahead of James Buescher.
“To come out of here just six points back is kind of a bummer,” said Sauter. “To win two races this season and know that we get to come back and race for a championship next year is awesome.”
Due to inclement weather Friday, Homestead-Miami Speedway and NASCAR officials announced a revised schedule for Saturday, November 19, 2011. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying for the Ford 400 remains set for 2:40 p.m.
As a result of the revised Saturday schedule, grandstand gates will now open at 9:30 a.m. for fans and parking will open at 6:00 a.m. Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart will head into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway with only three points separating the two.
Tickets for this year’s Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are still available. For ticket information call (866) 409-RACE.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will crown a champion following Saturday’s running of the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is in good shape to wrap up the 2011 Nationwide Series championship for Roush Fenway Racing. He goes into Saturday’s race with a healthy lead of 41 points over Elliott Sadler.
It all ends here. This weekend, Homestead-Miami Speedway will crown NASCAR’s Champions for the 10th consecutive year during Ford Championship Weekend.