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Nationwide Series' history of late-season drama continues at Homestead

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hopes to lock up the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title in Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hopes to lock up the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title in Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.

NNSracing.com

The upcoming faceoffs for the owners title and the Raybestos Rookie of the Year are still in question as the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads into its final weekend of the season.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the rookie standings leader by six points over Brian Scott. Stenhouse, who at one point this year was benched by Jack Roush because of inconsistent performance, is aiming to become the fifth Roush Fenway Racing driver to win the award in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

"I can't believe this is the last race of the year," Stenhouse said. "I have learned so much and look forward to ending the year with another solid run. The car that we are taking is one of the best we have so we should be fast right off the truck.

"I have never raced at Homestead before but Mike (Kelley) has a lot of experience and success there so I will lean on him. I also plan on talking to Carl (Edwards) about the line around there and I look forward to what he says. The
Raybestos Rookie of the Year title ... (is) our main focus right now."

Since 2005, every season finale at Homestead- Miami Speedway except one has had at least one major title or award implication attached to it.

2005

Martin Truex Jr. had to stave off Clint Bowyer's challenge before claiming his second consecutive series championship. Truex led Bowyer by 64 points entering Homestead.

2006

The closest-ever Rookie of the Year battle in series history came down to the final race. Danny O'Quinn Jr. won the award by one point over John Andretti.

2008

Bowyer hung on for dear life to win his first series driver championship over Edwards. Edwards had climbed to within 56 points of Bowyer by Homestead after being down by 207 with eight races to go. Edwards won the race, but Bowyer won the title by 21 points over Edwards.

2009

Kyle Busch - who had had a commanding lead in the standings all year - still had to start the final race in order to officially claim his first NASCAR national series title at Homestead, once again over the hard-charging Edwards.