NASCAR Race Preview: Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN)

TRACK: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval) DISTANCE: 267 Laps – STAGE 1: 80 Laps, Stage 2: 80 Laps, FINAL STAGE 107 LAPS, 400.5 Miles)
WEATHER: RAIN 40%, 82 degrees high

Starting Lineup

Favorites – Is This Toyota’s To Lose? Odds Say So

Denny Hamlin (+500) – He swept both stages and the win last year. He’s off to a great start in 2021 with two top fives in as many tries.

Kevin Harvick (+500) – He was only 26th a year ago, but Harvick still has 12 top 10 finishes in his last 13 Homestead starts including 16 of his last 18. Since 2014, he has a top four finish in all of the races there but one.

Martin Truex Jr. (+700) – Three top two’s in his last four Homestead tries. Enough said.

Kyle Larson (+800) – Larson has been so dominant on this 1.5-mile track in the past. He has three top five finishes in his last five starts there including leading 132 laps in a runner-up effort in 2016, 145 more in a third place run in 2017 and 45 laps in 2018. He’s never finished past third in any stage at Homestead either.

Kyle Busch (+900) – He has six consecutive top six finishes at Homestead including four of which in the top four.

Joey Logano (+1000) – Can he rebound from last year’s 27th place effort? Logano, had five straight top six finishes prior. He was in contention to win the first two races this season so far too.

Race Preview

Homestead will conclude the Florida stretch to start the season. Some may say this starts the real year with a race on a superspeedway then the road course at Daytona the last two weeks. But, how will Sunday’s race look?

We’ve got no practice nor any qualifying again. Mix that with the last time that we held a race during these types of weather conditions on the South Florida race track were really back in November 2019. Last year, the race was supposed to be in March but COVID delayed it until June.

So, how much will translate from last year over?

Can the Toyota’s come out swinging again? They’ve won four of the last six at Homestead including two straight. Will we see another race with another new winner? We’re riding a streak of three straight right now.

There’s so many more questions than answers for this weekend’s race which is why all eyes will be intently on it. There’s a new season without much to base Homestead off of so far.

Of Note

This will be the first race of the season that will utilize the choose cone rule. Neither Daytona race used that this past month so far.

Key Stat

NASCAR began using stage breaks in their races in 2017, the eventual race winner of the Cup Series race on the South Florida 1.5 mile track has finished in the top five of every stage run. They’re 8-for-8. Denny Hamlin won last year’s race and swept both stages. Kyle Busch won the year prior and was 3rd and 1st in the two stages. Joey Logano was victorious in 2018 and was fourth and third respectively himself. Martin Truex Jr. was fifth and second respectively in his win in 2017.

They Said It

“This will be the hottest Homestead race sine I’ve been in Cup,” said Kurt Busch with temperatures soaring into the mid 80s on Sunday. “The team has already worked on setup changes.”

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