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Championship weekend revs up for its last lap in Homestead

Fans show mixed emotion over end of 18-year run of NASCAR's season-ending race

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – For the last 18 years, Homestead has been the home to NASCAR's championship weekend.

On Sunday, as NASCAR crowns its new champion in the winner's circle, it will mark an end of an era for Homestead-Miami Speedway's oval track. 

"It sucks," a Fort Lauderdale resident said. "I don't feel like driving all the way to Phoenix to see my favorite NASCAR drivers win a race." 

The championship format will now follow other sports and rotate its ultimate crown across different cities across the country.

In 2020, the final race will move to Phoenix.

"I support the idea of it moving around, because I think different drivers tend to be better at different tracks," one fan said.

The Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final sold out its grandstand Sunday, and the economic impact of a popular South Florida fixture has some residents and officials concerned.

To offset some estimated loss, Formula 1 was a proposed replacement. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giminez hosted Formula 1 representatives at the Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier in the week.

In a letter, Formula 1 representatives said that the Homestead venue would not suffice.

"We will continue to pursue a Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium, as we see this as our last remaining option to race in South Florida," the letter said.

Instead, NASCAR will return every March as a regularly scheduled stop in Homestead.

"Homestead has been honored to host the grand finale of auto racing for 17 years," Homestead Mayor Steve Losner said. "We look forward to hosting teams and their fans next March and for many years to come and will offer more activities to the Homestead experience each year."