2007 Ford 400
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2014)|
|Race 36 of 36 in the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season|
|Date||November 18, 2007|
|Location||Homestead-Miami Speedway Homestead, Florida|
|Course||Permanent racing facility
1.5 mi (2.4 km)
|Distance||267 laps, 400.5 mi (644.542 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching up to 79.5 °F (26.4 °C); wind speeds up to 11.1 miles per hour (17.9 km/h)|
|Average speed||131.888 miles per hour (212.253 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing|
|No. 17||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Rusty Wallace, Andy Petree, Jerry Punch|
The 2007 Ford 400, the final race of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season for 2007 and the 2007 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, was run on Sunday, November 18, 2007 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida, in Dade County outside Miami, the final event of the three-day Ford Championship Weekend. The race was historic for several reasons:
- The race was the last to use the current template for NASCAR's premier series, based on the 1966 Ford Fairlane run by the Holman-Moody Racing team. Starting in 2008, NASCAR used the Car of Tomorrow template full-time, one year ahead of the originally planned schedule. Those cars became standard in the Nationwide Series February 2009.
- The series ran under the "NEXTEL Cup" banner for the last time. Starting in 2008, as per the merger of Sprint Nextel, the series changed to the "NASCAR Sprint Cup".
- The season-long championship was decided after the completion of this race. After the Checker Auto Parts 500, Jimmie Johnson led Jeff Gordon by 86 points, with both drivers eligible to clinch the season championship. It would be Rick Hendrick's seventh championship. Johnson needed to finish better than 18th (without leading a lap), 19th (leading a lap) or 21st (leading the most laps) to clinch his second consecutive championship.
- The race also marked the last appearance of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports car. Since making its debut in the 1986 Daytona 500, the car had been raced by eleven drivers in 656 races, winning seventeen. Its most recent win was by Casey Mears in the 2007 Coca-Cola 600. The points for this car transferred over to the new #88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ride for 2008. The current #88, piloted by Ricky Rudd, who retired after this race, and owned by Yates Racing, became the #28 again in 2008 with Travis Kvapil in the drivers' seat. While Dale Jarrett was in the seat, they won the 1999 Cup championship (then under Winston sponsorship).
- The three-way battle for the 35th spot in owners points also concluded here. Holding down that 35th spot was the #22 Toyota of Bill Davis Racing, driven by Dave Blaney. Behind them by 136 points was the #21 Ford of Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, driven by Bill Elliott. Ahead of the #22 was the #45 Dodge of Petty Enterprises, driven by Kyle Petty, but they were only ahead by 29 points. At the conclusion of this race, the teams that held the 35th spot was guaranteed a starting position in the first five races of 2008, including the 2008 Daytona 500.
- Todd Bodine drove the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports ride, replacing Ward Burton, but failed to qualify, thus ending their 2007 season. Johnny Benson put the #36 Bill Davis Racing 360 OTC Toyota Camry into the race.
- Roush Fenway Racing announced that Robbie Reiser, crew chief for driver Matt Kenseth, would become Roush Fenway's general manager. Reiser replaced Max Jones, who became the GM for Yates Racing. Reiser's replacement atop the pit box was Chip Bolin, who led Kenseth to victory after Reiser was suspended. Also, Roush Fenway built Yates cars for the 2008 season.
- Unlike previous years, where the entire Chase field including the 11th place driver took the stage at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, only the top 10 drivers were on stage.
- Continuing the trend of new part owners from other "stick and ball" sports, Richard Childress Racing was linked with Tom Hicks, owner of baseball's Texas Rangers, hockey's Dallas Stars and co-owner (with GEM's George Gillett) of English Premier League club Liverpool into owning a minority interest of RCR.
With a lap of 30.545 seconds at a speed of 176.788 mph (284.513 km/h), points leader Jimmie Johnson moved one step closer to winning his second consecutive championship by winning the final pole award under Anheuser-Busch sponsorship. Johnson's main rival, teammate Jeff Gordon, started 11th, two-time Homestead winner Tony Stewart started 14th, and defending three-time winner Greg Biffle started 37th.
Matt Kenseth won the race, celebrating by doing burnouts with his race car. Jimmie Johnson finished seventh, and won the 2007 NEXTEL Cup championship by 77 points over Jeff Gordon, and also did burnouts with Kenseth.
- This was the last race for Joe Gibbs Racing using the Chevrolet, from 2008 onwards, they switched to Toyota.
- Weather information for the 2007 Ford 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac