At The Finish Line: Homestead-Miami Finale and 2017 Recap
Fans gather for driver introductions before the final race.
A whirlwind year for NASCAR has crossed the finish line after a sellout weekend at Homestead-Miami. Millions from all over the country tuned in for what truly was a championship of firsts…and lasts. The winners (one of them just 19 years old) across all three racing series secured their first ever Cup Series championship titles, while fans witnessed history as a racing great made his last start as a full-time driver.
MRN’s Winston Kelly Interviews newly crowned champion Truex Jr. on the track.
Martin Truex Jr., a favorite to win early on in the series, took home the granddaddy Monster Energy Cup championship. While scoring 8 wins over the course of 2017, the most by any driver since 2010, Truex Jr. fought hard to get to his first career Cup win. A scandal with the Waltrip Racing team left him without a car, nearly ending his career in 2013. Luckily, he landed at Furniture Row Racing turning the once underdog team into a powerhouse. During the final race, he had to battle it out with Kyle Busch, who he managed to hold off by a fraction of a second. Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.
Furniture Row Racing pit crew.
In the days leading up to the Final Cup race, fans turned their attention to the Xfinity and Truck Series finales. 19-year-old William Byron earned his first title of any kind as Xfinity champion. He joins Chase Elliot as the only other teenager to win a series title in a rookie season. Another fresh face, Christopher Bell, took home the Camping World Truck Series title at Homestead-Miami.
2017 was filled with changes, breaking news, and goodbyes. MRN and PRN were there every step of the way, keeping listeners entertained and in-the-know from the Daytona 500 ramp-up to the Monster Energy Cup finish.
Sprint ended it’s 13-year sponsorship with the sport’s premiere racing series, ushering in a new era as younger and edgier Monster Energy steps in. We were also introduced to a new format as NASCAR rolled out stage racing, breaking each race into three segments which stepped up the competition for drivers and the excitement for fans. The higher stakes led to harder driving, smarter strategy, and more rank shake-ups over the course of the season.
Dale Jr. takes selfies with fans on the red carpet.
But more transitions are set for 2018 as Matt Kenseth, Danica Patrick, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are all ending their full-time racing careers after this season. The weekend’s festivities focused on one driver in particular – fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. Despite his famous father, Dale Jr. stepped out into his own spotlight and created a new brand of sport celebrity. His star power didn’t keep him from staying a down-to-earth guy and approachable for fans. He may not have finished at the top of the pack, but his impact will stay with NASCAR for decades to come. Fans will now get to see a new side of the 88 driver as a team owner and broadcaster.
Chase Elliot and Ryan Blaney catch-up before the race.
Despite the retirements, 2017 shined a bright light on the future of NASCAR – the up-and-coming drivers who took home big wins this year and captured the attention of fans. Kyle Larsen and Chase Elliot both finished in the top 5 this year and are speculated to be the next big names in the sport, while Ryan Blaney became a driver to watch as he took home his first-ever Monster Energy Cup win at Pocono.
On The Road Ahead
The 2018 schedule will bring some added excitement for listeners with sweeping track changes to look forward to. Drivers will race at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway to close out the regular season, while Chicagoland will move to July as Las Vegas becomes host to the first playoff race. The playoffs will also see the addition of a second short track race at Richmond and the first road course oval at Charlotte. The drivers will get a short break, but MRN and PRN will keep fans entertained and informed through the lead-up to season start at Daytona. Get the full 2018 schedule here.
The road ahead for brands includes a la carte or season-long sponsorships for 2018. Align your brand with the power of NASCAR with ownership opportunities like the caution flag sponsorship, live personality reads, and contests that can be customized to reach your advertising goals. Engage the NASCAR fan whenever and however they listen: in-race, online via our NASCAR podcasts, and in-person with at-track extensions.
A NASCAR send off for Dale Jr.
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