The Cup Series had its regular schedule this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The teams had 20 minutes of practice to dial in their cars and then they qualified for the Dixie Vodka 400. Tires wear out fast at Homestead so it is more important to focus your picks on the drivers who had long-run speed in practice than it is to take the drivers who were fast on their single-lap runs.
Here is my starting lineup for the race at Homestead…
GROUP A DRIVER
DENNY HAMLIN (7): Hamlin won at Homestead in 2020. Can he do it again this week? I would not bet against him. Hamlin has been outstanding on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, finished 2nd at Kansas and 5th last week at Las Vegas. The No. 11 car looks dialed in for the race Sunday. Hamlin posted the 9th-fastest speed long-run speed in practice but he got loose in qualifying. The No. 11 car destroyed the field in the test session at Homestead and Hamlin said he really likes his car this week. I have plenty of allocations left with Hamlin so I will use one Sunday.
GROUP B DRIVERS
WILLIAM BYRON (1): Byron won the race at Homestead last year and he will have a good chance to get back to Victory Lane Sunday. The No. 24 car has been fast in the playoffs on the 1.5-mile tracks and they look fast again this weekend. Byron posted the fastest speed in practice and won the pole for the race. I will use my last allocation with Byron Sunday.
CHRISTOPHER BELL (1): There is a lot to like about Bell this week. He is backed into a corner after Bubba Wallace took him out last week. The No. 20 team is almost in a “must win situation.” The last time they were in this situation Bell went to Victory Lane at the Charlotte Roval. Bell was one of the best drivers Darlington (the most similar track to Homestead). Bell finished 5th and 6th in the two races at “The Track Too Tough to Tame.” Bell starts 2nd so he should score a lot of Stage Points and have a good chance to finish in the top-10 Sunday.
GROUP C DRIVER
DANIEL SUAREZ (2): Suarez has been the best driver in Group C on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. The No. 99 car has decent speed again this week. Suarez did not look that great in practice but his teammate did (Ross Chastain). Suarez typically runs better than he practices, so I will take a chance with the No. 99 car Sunday.
Good Luck Sunday!
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