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The Season Wraps Up At Homestead-Miami Speedway

Take a deep breath racing fans, it's that time of year again, another exciting year of racing is coming to a close. This weekend the 5-hour ENERGY® team is heading south to the Sunshine State for the final race of the Chase. But before Sunday's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, we wanted to fill you in on some of this track's interesting history.

Clint Bowyer at last year's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Getty Images).

From its beginning, Homestead-Miami Speedway has been unlike any other track on the NASCAR circuit. In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane, hit Florida and caused massive destruction. Shortly after the hurricane, longtime Miami Motorsports promoter Ralph Sanchez negotiated a development deal to help rebuild and revitalize the city. Sanchez began the development ,of what would soon become the Homestead-Miami Speedway in August of 1993,one year after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida. The 434 acre racing facility was completed two years later, and a sold-out grand opening ceremony was held on November 3, 1995.

Homestead-Miami Speedway is known for being the host track for the last race of the season for all of NASCAR's different racing series. This quickly became a tradition since the track's first race in November 1995, which was the last race for the Busch Series (now the Nationwide Series) season. Starting in 2002, the Winston Cup (now the Sprint Cup) and Craftsman Truck series (now the Camping World Truck Series) also started holding their season ending races at the speedway. This tradition is now known as Ford Championship Weekend.

Throughout the years, the speedway has undergone some major renovations. Initially, Homestead-Miami Speedway was designed to model after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), but the rectangular-oval shaped track didn't produce the same quality of racing. This was because the track was shorter in distance than IMS, so the characteristics that Indy is known for didn't transfer over to Homestead. Instead, the track’s flat, sharp turns lowered racing speeds and created more crashes. The danger of the track led to reconfigurations in 1996, which included widening turn aprons by up to 24 feet. Changes continued in 1997 as the track was completely reconfigured from its rectangle shape to a traditional oval shape. It wasn't until 2003 that Homestead became the track that we know it as today.

In addition to improving the track, the speedway has continued to update its facility over the years. From installing lights to allow night racing to the addition of a state-of-the-art scoring tower, Homestead-Miami Speedway has constantly worked to keep the facility up to date. It's no wonder the track made motorsports history in 2009 when it became the first venue ever to host all of North America's premier motorsports championships! We're sad to see the 2013 racing season come to an end, but we can't wait to watch the excitement of the Ford EcoBoost 400! Best of luck to Clint Bowyer and the 5-hour ENERGY® team at Sunday's race at Homestead!

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