You Never Know What Might Happen by Matt Becherer

If you watch any sport long enough, it’s inevitable that you will witness unthinkable moments and see upsets that are historic in nature. As we reach the pinnacle of the NCAA basketball tournament, March Madness is a time where we are more prone to see underdogs come out on top.

Many of the greatest upsets in sports have taken place in the NCAA tournament. Just last week, we saw three teams advance to the Final Four who came into their Elite Eight matchups as the lower seed. Last year, we saw perhaps the biggest upset in tournament history as University of Maryland-Baltimore County became the first ever No. 16 seed to advance out of the first round as they defeated the No.1 ranked University of Virginia.

Going back further in the tournament’s history, the number of upsets are countless. There was 2006 when No.11 seed George Mason University became the first school from a “mid-major” conference to reach the Final Four and in the process defeated some of the nation’s best teams such as Michigan State, University of North Carolina and University of Connecticut. Of course who could forget when Villanova took down defending champions Georgetown in 1985 as the Wildcats’ Ed Pinckney outdueled the Hoyas’ Patrick Ewing.

These same kind of sensational performances have occurred in other sports as well throughout the years. In hockey, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, made up primarily of college kids, famously took down the Soviet Union en route to capturing a gold medal by defeating Finland in the championship game. Then there’s football, which has seen its share of underdogs make a run in the playoffs, including in the 2008 playoffs when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, denying the Patriots a perfect 19-0 season.

So as I watched Michigan State take down tournament favorites Duke last weekend, and Auburn make an unlikely run to the Final Four, it led to me thinking about all of the aforementioned upsets and many more, including some of the most unlikely outcomes we’ve seen in NASCAR as well as right here at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In NASCAR, the first upset that came to mind was in 2011 when Trevor Bayne won the DAYTONA 500. Anytime NASCAR heads to a Superspeedway like Daytona International Speedway or Talladega Superspeedway, you can expect the unexpected. But Bayne’s victory was perhaps the most improbable of all the superspeedway winners as it came in just his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start. In fact, Bayne didn’t even become a full-time Cup series driver until four years later when he joined Roush Fenway Racing in 2015.

We’ve also seen some spectacular performances in the NASCAR playoffs as well. Again in 2011, we saw one of the most remarkable playoff performances from Tony Stewart. It’s hard to say that a two-time champion can be an upset, but that was the situation for Stewart as the playoffs began. He entered the 12-driver playoff field in ninth place after not winning a single race during the regular season. Stewart quickly rose through the ranks, however, winning a total of five playoff races, including three of the last four. He even finished off the season in come from behind fashion, starting at the back of the field and racing to the front to win the Ford 400 and edge out Carl Edwards on tiebreakers for the championship.

This past season we also saw an underdog take home the title in Joey Logano. Throughout the entirety of the 2018 season, all of NASCAR’s attention was focused on the “Big 3” of former champions Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. The Big 3 dominated the NASCAR season and combined to win 20 races during the year, but with the championship coming down to a one-race shootout here at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the only thing that mattered was how the Championship 4 drivers performed in the final race of the season. And although it was the Big 3 who won the most races and led the most laps all season, it was Logano who paced the field for 80 laps and won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to capture his first career MENCS championship.

So from the first race of the season at Daytona International Speedway to the championship races we’ve held here at Homestead-Miami Speedway, we’ve seen a number of upsets over the years. Week in and week out, any driver is capable of winning a race. That’s part of what makes sports special and gives us a reason to watch every weekend. So as the NASCAR season progresses week by week, make sure to tune in as you never know what might happen next.

NASCAR ACTION THIS WEEKEND

Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 PM (ET)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Tune In: FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

Saturday, April 6 at 1:00 PM (ET)

NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Tune In: FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is off this weekend and will return to action at Dover International Speedway on May 3.

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Apr. 5 Fast Lane Friday

Apr. 6-7 Chin Motorsports Car Club

Apr. 13-14 Formula & Automobile Racing Association (FARA)

Apr. 20 Performance Driving Group

Apr. 27-28 Championship Cup Series

2019 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Nov. 15

Ford EcoBoost 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship Race

Nov. 16

Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 17

Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy Series Championship