As the NASCAR Cup Series heads for Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Denny Hamlin has a shot at another record. With three victories at the 1.5-mile track, he is tied with Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart for most wins at the venue, which has hosted Cup events since 1999.
Boosting his chances, Hamlin expects the season’s first race on an intermediate speedway to run closer to last year’s form than either the DAYTONA 500 or the DAYTONA Road Course event, both of which produced first-time winners (McDowell and Christopher Bell). Kevin Harvick led the series with nine Cup victories last year, followed by Hamlin with seven.
“I think it will be more status quo on where we were last year,” Hamlin said. “That doesn’t mean me and Kevin, since it’s a mile-and-a-half, that we are going to dominate. With the mid-tier teams, this is where the resources that they don’t have will come into factor a little bit more.
“I don’t think I would call the 20 car (Bell) mid-tier, and I don’t think I would call the 34 (McDowell) a shock, because we were at a superspeedway. I think the winners list is like, ‘Oh wow, where (are) our superstars?’ but we are about to get into a chunk of the season where you are going to start to see some of your normal winners in the bracket.”
Also arguing in Hamlin’s favor is his starting spot. With fifth and third-place finishes and his strength in the stages of the first two races, Hamlin leads the series standings and will start from the pole at Homestead. That’s exactly where Hamlin started last year, when he collected his third win at the track.
In fact, seven of the winners in 22 Homestead-Miami Cup races have started from the front row, three from the pole and four from the second spot. That’s good news for Joey Logano, whose victory at Homestead in 2018 locked up the series championship. Logano starts second on the grid on Sunday.
Nor can you ignore the “rim riders” who have had success running the wall at the 1.5-mile track. Tyler Reddick finished fourth at Homestead last year after claiming back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series titles by winning at the track. Kyle Larson, notorious for running the wall, has three top-five finishes in seven starts there.
A look at Saturday’s Contender Boats 250
- Saturday’s Contender Boats 250 will be the 28th NASCAR Xfinity Series race held at the venue.
- Last season, Harrison Burton, son two-time Homestead-Miami winner Jeff Burton, won his first race at the track after leading only 11 laps. Noah Gragson in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, led a race-high 81 laps and ended up finishing fifth.
- The win made the younger Burton the youngest series winner at the track (19 years, 8 months, 4 days).
- After making the Playoffs a year ago and winning Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, Burton has started the second strong yet again with a third- and a sixth-place at Daytona over the last two weekend.
- The inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway was on Nov. 5, 1995 where Dale Jarrett took home the win and Joe Nemechek won the pole.
- There have been 20 different race winners at the track in the Xfinity Series.
- Tyler Reddick holds the race record from Nov. 17, 2018 at 140.515 mph.
- There have been five races won from the pole or first starting position. That’s good news for Austin Cindric, who will go off first tomorrow and will be flanked by Daniel Hemric. Burton rolls off third, followed by Brandon Joes, Brett Moffitt, Brandon Brown, Justin Haley, Jeremy Clements, and Myatt Snider rounds out the top 10.
- Starting positions of other notable drivers include Ty Dillon (13th), Justin Allgaier (19th), Gragson (23rd) and AJ Allmendinger (24th).
- Three drivers in history got their first Xfinity Series career win at HMS: Cole Custmer (2017), Kasey Kahn (2003) and Regan Smith (2012).
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Contender Boats 250
Saturday, February 27
4:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 4 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.5 miles (167 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)
Grandstand tickets are still available for the Contender Boats 250 with many great seating options, including the “Family 4-Pack.” This special $80 offer includes 2 adult tickets, 2 kids tickets (12 and younger), and 2 Racing Electronics scanner rentals to get the inside track of all the action on the track. A number of premium seating options are also available for Saturday’s race. Individual adult tickets start at just $30 with kids 12 and under free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Homestead-Miami Speedway will host a limited number of fans for both events. Fans seeking ticket options, as well as learning all safety protocol guidelines for the weekend, can visit www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com or call 866-409-RACE (7223).
About Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead-Miami Speedway has been open since 1995 following an initiative to spur economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. The Speedway, which was founded by Miami businessman, racing enthusiast and philanthropist Ralph Sanchez, is a 650-acre facility that features a 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course. The Speedway hosts on-track events nearly 300 days per year and generates more than $301 million annually for the region. NASCAR crowned champions in all three of its national series at Homestead-Miami Speedway for 18 straight years (2002-19). In 2021, the Dixie Vodka 400 moves to the third race of the NASCAR Cup season on Sunday, Feb. 28, following two weekends of action at Daytona International Speedway.
About Dixie Vodka
Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Dixie Vodka is the largest premium craft vodka produced in the Southeast and the 9th fastest growing spirit brand in the United States as ranked in 2019 by the Beverage Information Group. Since launch in 2014, Dixie has been one of the most awarded vodkas in the United States, including Dixie Black Pepper being awarded the top flavored vodka in the world at the globally recognized San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019. In addition to its core Southern Vodka, 6x distilled from All-American corn and naturally gluten free, Dixie has five authentically southern flavors, all using regionally sourced ingredients grown by local farmers. Committed to responsible stewardship of the land, Dixie is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, as well as a certified South Carolina product. Dixie is owned by Grain & Barrel Spirits, an innovative spirits producer and a member of the Inc. 5000, the definitive list of the fastest growing privately held companies in the United States. Grain & Barrel also owns pre-prohibition favorite Chicken Cock Whiskey and The Endless Summer Spirits Company.
About Contender Boats
Contender Boats is a Homestead-based premium boat manufacturer. For more than 35 years, Contender has built hand-laid fiberglass hulls that ride like no other. Built for performance. Built to fish. Models are available from 25 to 44 feet. Contender boats have a legacy of exploring the open oceans of the world. From the marlin rich waters of the Caribbean islands to up and down the eastern seaboard and far beyond, you’ll find Contender Boats “Always In the Game.” https://contenderboats.com/Contender Boats Inc) @contenderboatsofficial.