NASCAR’s final stage for the 2006 tour will be in Florida this weekend. The Sunshine State has the honors of starting and ending the NASCAR season. Daytona opens the season and Homestead-Miami closes, with both tracks being owned by NASCAR’s International Speedway Corp.

The seasons haven’t always started and ended at NASCAR tracks. The 1969 season opened at Middle Georgia Raceway in Macon and for years the final race of the year was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. AMS hosted the last race of the year from 1987 until 2001.

In 2002 NASCAR moved the Atlanta race to the last weekend in October and claimed the season-finale for Homestead, a speedway that had only been open for three years at the time.

Homestead-Miami Speedway has been on the schedule since 1999. It looks a little like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, except it is a half-mile shorter. The turns were originally built with only nine degrees of banking, but after continued driver complaints (and a few absolutely boring races) NASCAR decided to rebuild the turns and increase the banking to 18 and 20 degrees.

Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle are the only repeat winners at Homestead-Miami. Stewart claimed wins there in 1999 and 2000. Biffle has won the last two races run at speedway.

The only other winners at the Florida speedway are Bobby Labonte (2003), Kurt Busch (2002) and Bill Elliott (2001).

Jack Roush was the dominating team-owner at the speedway in 2005. Roush captured the four top-spots in the race. The top-five finishers of last year’s race at Homestead-Miami were Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Casey Mears.

Twelve drivers traded the lead 21 times during the 267-lap race. Carl Edwards collected the bonus points for leading the most laps. The No. 99 was out front for 94 laps.

The other lap leaders during the event were Casey Mears (75), Jeff Gordon (39), Ryan Newman (33), Greg Biffle (9), Dave Blaney (6), Sterling Marlin (3), Mark Martin (2), Joe Nemechek (2), Jimmy Spencer (2), Kevin Harvick (1) and Denny Hamlin (1).

There were eight caution flag incidents during the race and the event took just under three hours and three minutes to complete.

Carl Edwards won the Bud Pole Award for the 2005 race with a lap during time trials of 176.051 miles-an-hour.

Chasers: This is the only speedway in the ten tracks picked to be part of the Chase for the Nextel Cup playoffs where none of the finalists have won a race. There are now only five drivers eligible to claim the championship left in the hunt.

Jimmie Johnson will win the big trophy if he finishes 12th or better in Sunday’s race, no matter where the other contenders finish.

Johnson would also be awarded the playoff title if Matt Kenseth wins the race and the two are tied on the point chart. Johnson gets the prize because he has more second place finishes this season than Kenseth.

Johnson and Harvick have the best results at the Florida speedway. Johnson has scored two top-fives in the five races he has run there. Harvick has four top-tens in his five starts at Homestead.

Matt Kenseth is the only driver in the Chase group that has not led a lap at Homestead-Miami. Harvick has led the most laps among the championship contestants. Harvick has been scored the leader 59 times in three of the five races he has run there.

Georgia Boys: Peachtree City’s Reed Sorenson finished 29th in the Phoenix Nextel Cup race. Sorenson is ranked 25th on the point chart as he prepares for the final race of the season.

Reed was able to register another top-ten finish in his Busch car at Phoenix. Sorenson started 13th and finished seventh in the 203-lap Busch race. He holds down the tenth spot in the Busch point standings.

Bill Elliott was the only other Georgia driver in the Nextel race at Phoenix. Awesome Bill from Dawsonville used a Champion’s provisional to start 43rd in the event. He finished 31st in the No. 37 Dodge he was driving.

Unadilla’s David Ragan had the best finish among the Georgia drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series race in Phoenix. Ragan finished 17th in his Jack Roush Racing Ford. He advanced into the 21st position in the truck points.

David has run 19 of the 24 truck races this season. His report card credits him with one pole, one top-five and eight top-ten finishes. He has led laps in two of the truck races.

Bill Lester, of Cobb County, claimed 20th-place pay in the Phoenix truck event. Lester is ranked 22nd in points. Bill has been unable to score any top-ten finishes in his No. 22 Toyota this season.

Chase Miller was out of the truck event early. It looked like Jack Sprague was responsible for pushing Miller into the wall on the fifth lap of the event. Chase left Phoenix with 35th-place pay. Miller has run seven truck races since joining Bobby Hamilton Racing.

Parading: Newstalk 750 WSB’s Allan Vigil Ford 120 racing program will be broadcasting from the Holiday At Home Parade in Clayton County this Saturday. The remote broadcast will be at the Arts Clayton Gallery, 136 South Main St., in Jonesboro.

The radio show will be on from 2:00 until 3:30 p.m. and the parade through the downtown Jonesboro area begins at 4:30 p.m. More information about the event is available on the Arts Clayton website www.artsclayton.org.

High Speed TV:

Thursday November 17

9:00 p.m. The Chase Is On—Speed
9:30 p.m. NASCAR Press Conference—Speed

Friday November 18

2:00 p.m. NASCAR Live—Speed
3:00 p.m. Miami Nextel Cup Qualifying—Speed
5:00 p.m. Miami Craftsman Truck Qualifying—Speed
6:30 p.m. Trackside at Miami-Homestead—Speed
7:30 p.m. Craftsman Truck Miami-Homestead 200—Speed
10:30 p.m. Craftsman Truck Season Review—Speed
11:30 p.m. Tradin’ Paint—Speed

Saturday November 19

12:00 p.m. NASCAR Live—Speed
12:30 p.m. NASCAR Performance—Speed
1:00 p.m. Miami Nextel Cup Practice—Speed
2:00 p.m. NASCAR Live—Speed
2:30 p.m. Miami Nextel Cup Happy Hour Practice—Speed
3:30 p.m. Miami Busch Series Qualifying—Speed
5:30 p.m. NASCAR Live—Speed
7:00 p.m. Homestead-Miami Busch 300—TNT
10:00 p.m. Busch Season Review—Speed

Sunday November 20

9:00 a.m. NASCAR Live—Speed
10:00 a.m. Wind Tunnel (special)—Speed
11:00 a.m. NASCAR Raceday—Speed
3:00 p.m. Miami Nextel Cup Ford 400—NBC (ch.11)
7:00 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane—Speed
8:00 p.m. Speed Report—Speed
9:00 p.m. Wind Tunnel—Speed
10:00 p.m. NASCAR Drivers: Non-Stop—ESPN2

Saturday’s Allan Vigil Ford 120 will air from 2:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Newstalk 750 WSB Radio and www.wsbradio.com. For more race information visit our Fastcar Newsdesk at www.captainherb.net.