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Many roads will end at Homestead

The end of the 2009 season marks the end of a number of NASCAR relationships
The winds of change will be blowing at Homestead-Miami Speedway this week.

The season-ending Ford 400 at the 1.5-mile track marks the end of the road for more than a handful of relationships in the Cup garage. Here's a look of some of the important “lasts” that will take place Sunday.

1.
Pat Tryson's last race with Kurt Busch. Tryson is leaving Penske Racing for Michael Waltrip Racing to serve as crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. Knowing the die was cast before the Chase started, Busch and Tryson have performed remarkably well in the past nine races. They won Nov. 8 at Texas and will bring that same chassis to Homestead.

“We're bringing back 'Patriot', the car we won with at Texas,” Busch said. “It's a great car. Our team has an upbeat feel. We've had a long year. We've had a successful year. There's no better way than put together a 100 per cent effort this next week and go out with a bang — and, hopefully, a win.”

2.
Jamie McMurray's last ride for Roush Fenway Racing. Owner Jack Roush must jettison one of his five teams to comply with the NASCAR-mandated reduction from five to four. McMurray's stock rose when he won Nov. 1 at Talladega, his first victory in more than two years. McMurray is expected to replace Truex, who will drive the #01 Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet for the last time at Homestead before moving to MWR. An announcement of McMurray's signing with EGR should come this week.

3.
Michael Waltrip's last race as a full-time driver. Waltrip's final full season in Cup racing deserves more fanfare than it has received to this point. Waltrip began his Cup career 758 races ago (on May 26, 1985), 24 days after Kyle Busch was born. In 2010, Waltrip will run a few selected races, concentrating on the restrictor-plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega) he particularly likes.

“I figured out that only Mark Martin can drive forever — and I can't,” Waltrip said.

4.
A wealth of “lasts” at Richard Petty Motorsports. Homestead will be Reed Sorenson's last race for RPM. It will be AJ Allmendinger's last race in the #44; he'll take Sorenson's place in the vaunted #43 next year. It will be RPM's last race in Dodge equipment. It will be the swan song of the RPM engine shop, as the organisation transitions to Ford and Roush-Yates engines next season. And who knows? If the RPM/Yates Racing merger — announced Sept. 10 — actually happens, it may be the last event for Yates Racing.

5.
The last chance for Mark Martin. Can the 50-year-old driver overcome Jimmie Johnson's 108-point lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup? Optimistic Martin fans will point to the nine times Martin has beaten Johnson by more than 108 points in head-to-head competition, including once at Homestead (2005, when Martin finished second and Johnson 40th). Pessimists will point to the other 257 races where that hasn't happened.

“Heck, I'm not mathematically eliminated yet,” Martin said after finishing fourth to Johnson's first in Sunday's Cup race at Phoenix. “We'll go to Homestead, and we've got to race for second yet. We've got a race on our hands with Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch. We're still racing like there's no tomorrow.”

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

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Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, and crew chief Pat Tryson will be together for the final time this weekend, one of a handful of “lasts” that will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars into the pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Resers Toyota, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualified 2nd fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Next to him on the front row will be pole winner Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, was the fastest qualifier Saturday, July 26, 2014 to capture the pole position for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Crew chief Chad Knaus inspects the car of Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, after a crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, crashes in the early part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series car (Photo Credit: NASCAR)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series car (Photo Credit: NASCAR)
Erik Jones in action in the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series car (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies fifth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, right, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, climbs from his car after being involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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