The penultimate race of the Round of 8 is here for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN) at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The question now is, does one of the eight members of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs win?
Three times has a non-Playoff driver won the Playoff race at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Greg Biffle (2004, 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013). Also, four times a non-Playoff driver has won the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, all at Texas Motor Speedway: 2006, 2014, 2015, 2020.
o In 2006, Tony Stewart was ranked 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings at the time of the win.
o In 2014, Jimmie Johnson was 11th in points at the time of the win. Johnson had made the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2014 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.
o In 2015, Jimmie Johnson was 12th in points at the time of the win. Johnson had made the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2015 but was eliminated in the Round of 16.
o In 2020, Kyle Busch was ninth in points at the time of the win. Busch had made the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2020 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.
Which occurs on Sunday?
Oddly enough, Kyle Larson, 2021, is the only driver to win the second race in the Round of 8 and go on to win the championship. So the winner on Sunday likely won’t win the championship in two weeks though.
Some of the best drivers on this track are non-playoff drivers so there’s a chance that we don’t see anyone lock themselves into the Championship 4 via a win during Sunday’s race anyhow. We do expect the winner to come from the top 5 of the starting lineup though and it is likely to be a Chevrolet or Toyota driver.
- 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.
Also, 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.
- 24 Byron – Won last year, on the pole this year and trends are on his side for a win on Sunday.
- 8 Reddick – 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.
- 11 Hamlin – 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. He continues the trend of different winners and stamps his name into the Championship 4.
- 20 Bell – 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.
- 5 Larson – 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.