TRACK: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5 mile oval) DISTANCE: 267 Laps – STAGE 1: 80 Laps, Stage 2: 85 Laps, FINAL STAGE 102 LAPS, 400.5 Miles)
The track has been on the NASCAR schedule since 1999. But, for the first time since the races inception, the 2020 event was moved from November to the Spring. Due to COVID, it was delayed until June. Then, the race was moved to February but now it has a new home – February.
- The ones to watch are certainly the Toyota drivers. Toyota has won two of the last three Homestead races including four of the last five and five of the last seven.
- 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 10-for-10. William Byron won last year and finished 4th and 1st last year. Denny Hamlin won the 2020 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.
- Hamlin beat the kids in 2020. The then 39 year old was one of only three drivers over the age of 28 in the top 10 in the Dixie Vodka 400. 24 year olds Chase Elliott and Tyler Reddick were second and fourth respectively. 26 year old Ryan Blaney was third. 25 year old Christopher Bell was eighth while 22 year old William Byron was ninth. The only other drivers in the top 10 was 36 year olds Brad Keselowski (10th) and Aric Almirola (5th), 35 year old Kyle Busch (6th) and 30 year old Austin Dillon (7th).
- Don’t expect overtime – 14 of the last 15 Homestead races ended on Lap 267.
- Ford has won 1 of the last 11 at Homestead.
- 7 of the last 9 winners came from the top 5 of the starting lineup.
- The last 10 races have each been won by different drivers — Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace, Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell and Joey Logano.
- Joe Gibbs Racing’s next win is its 200th and would make it the third organization with at least 200 wins.
Tyler Reddick (+700)
This is his race. He was fourth in 2020 and runner-up last year. Reddick, has never finished worse than fourth at Homestead before and was runner-up this past September in the Southern 500 too.
Denny Hamlin (+800)
He swept both stages and the win in 2020 and was 11th last year. Hamlin also had a Top-5 car in both Darlington races earlier this season too and enters having scored a top 5 finish in 2 of the last 3 races on the season now.
Ryan Blaney (+900)
He finished third in 2021 and has been good at Homestead overall in both the Xfinity and Truck Series races too.
Kyle Larson (+1000)
Larson has been so dominant on this 1.5-mile track in the past. He has four Top-5 finishes in his last six 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 was fourth last year and you’re giving me these odds?
Ross Chastain (+1000)
He’s never been particularly great here but that was with underfunded teams. He was 17th last year as his best Cup finish. He was third however in the 2020 Xfinity Series race and four for Niece in 2019 in the Truck Series. With Chastain being quick at Darlington this season, he’s worth a risk. Chastain has scored 79 more points than any other driver this season in the eight races at 1.5-mile tracks.
Joey Logano (+1000)
Can he rebound from being 27th and 25th the last two years? Logano, had five straight Top-6 finishes prior and won at Darlington this past May.
Kyle Busch (+1200)
He has six Top-6 finishes in his last seven starts at Homestead including four of which in the top four. Busch was 10th a year ago. He also enters on the heels of 2 straight top 5 finishes (3rd last 2 weeks) on the season as well. The last time he did that? May 29 and June 5.
William Byron (+1200)
Byron was in the Top-10 in 2020 and won last year. At Darlington, he had a car capable of winning the spring race and was in the Top-10 in the Southern 500 too.
Christopher Bell (+1200)
He has one Top-10 finish in 2 Homestead Cup tries and was also sixth and fifth respectively in both Darlington starts this season as well.
Chase Briscoe (+2500)
He’s a rookie in the Cup Series here and finished outside the Top-20 in both Darlington races run this season. However, he calls Homestead his favorite track still. It’s the place of his first NASCAR win coming in the Truck Series in his rookie season back in 2017. He won an Xfinity Series race here in 2019 and enters having scored 4 straight top 10 finishes on the season too.
Noah Gragson (+3000)
Homestead owes him one. In the Xfinity Series, Gragson has three Top-5 finishes in four tries and the one that he didn’t was the last time out where he was leading before getting caught up in a crash with a lapped car. He led 83 laps (most) in race 1 of 2020 but didn’t win. A day later he led 81 more laps (most) and didn’t win again after passing the lead over to Harrison Burton with 2 to go. At Darlington, a similar track, he finished 2nd and 1st respectively this year. Now you hand him a Hendrick car in replacing Alex Bowman again to which he just finished 11th in last week.
Austin Cindric (+4000)
He’s had a Top-5 in all but one Homestead start across the Truck Series and Xfinity Series.
Erik Jones (+5000)
He just won last month in Darlington, was third here in 2019 and has four straight top 11 finishes on the season including three of which in the top eight.
Austin Dillon (+8000)
He’s had a Top-15 for seven straight years including finishes of 14th to 12th to 11th to 11th again to eight then to seventh to 12th a year ago.
Chris Buescher (+8000)
Remember he won Stage 1 last year including 57 laps led. However, contact on a second stage restart ruined his handling which dropped him to outside the top 15. Buescher is at his best on aged tracks and there’s no reason to believe he can’t win on Sunday.
Aric Almirola (+10000)
Was fifth in 2020 as well and has two Top-10 finishes in his last four Homestead starts.
Justin Haley (+10000)
1 of just 3 drivers to have a top 20 result in every playoff race thus far. He also has 2 top 5 finishes the last 4 weeks and if not for a late race caution in Vegas, was going to be 3 for his last 4. Haley was 3rd back in the spring race at Darlington too.
Chase Elliott (+1000)
I don’t like him at this number. He does have three Top-7’s in his last five Homestead starts, but he’s also winless here and Darlington too. He was fifth and 36th this past year at Darlington and 21st the last time out at Homestead. On top of that, six of his last eight starts on the season have seen him finish outside the top 10 including being 21st just last Sunday in Vegas.
Martin Truex Jr. (+1200)
Three Top-2s in his last five Homestead tries and a third place results just last year. He was leading late at Darlington last month before a mechanical failure took him out too. However, just one Top-5 in his last 13 starts on the season give me pause on him, especially since he’s not in the playoffs too.
Kevin Harvick (+1800)
He was only 26th in 2020 but rebounded to score a fifth place run last year. Harvick also has 13 Top-10 finishes in his last 14 Homestead starts including 17 of his last 19 when going back to nearly two decades ago. At Darlington, he had a Top-5 car in both races but a fire in the Southern 500 took him out. On the flip side, one Top-5 in his last nine starts on the season gives me pause too. So does this number as he’s normally been +3000 lately.