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Ask Aric Almirola: How has Homestead fared as NASCAR championship host?

Next year, NASCAR will move its finale away from south Florida, its host since 2002.
Kyle Busch (18) approaches Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series championship auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Homestead, Fla. [LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP]
Kyle Busch (18) approaches Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series championship auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Homestead, Fla. [LYNNE SLADKY | AP]
Published Nov. 13, 2019
Updated Nov. 13, 2019

NASCAR’s upcoming schedule changes mean this weekend’s championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the end of an era.

Homestead has hosted the Cup Series’ final race since 2002. That includes every championship race in the current playoff structure, where the first finisher of the final four contenders wins the series title. Next year, that race will move to Arizona’s ISM Raceway.

RELATED: Ask Aric Almirola: On the end of July 4 NASCAR racing at Daytona

As NASCAR prepares to crown its new champion in south Florida, it’s worth revisiting how Homestead has fared as the final race. The Tampa Bay Times asked Tampa’s Aric Almirola about it in this week’s installment of Ask Aric — a periodic feature where the NASCAR veteran shares his thoughts on racing, the season and his hometown.

Aric Almirola greets fans during driver introductions prior to the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at ISM Raceway, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) [RALPH FRESO | AP]

As NASCAR changes its schedule next year, how do you think Homestead has done as a site for championship weekend?

I think Homestead’s been a great place for championship weekend. The weather’s great, first and foremost. You know me. I obviously am biased going to Florida for championship weekend.

RELATED: How Tampa’s Aric Almirola handles NASCAR’s silly season

But I think the racetrack itself has been a great racetrack, as well, to decide the champion. It’s a mile and a half racetrack, but the asphalt’s kind of worn, so the cars slip and slide around it. There’s a lot of opportunities to pass.

There’s cars that run up against a wall. There’s cars that run in the middle of the race track. You can pull slide jobs on each other. It’s just a really fun, racy style of a mile and a half race track, and I think it’s been a great place to decide a champion.

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