Homestead-Miami Speedway will be Playoff Central for NASCAR this weekend.
Playoff races are scheduled in all three National Series at the South Florida track, which hosted the 2002-2019 cup season finale.
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The second race in the Cup Series Round of 8 is scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 PM ET (NBC). The Xfinity Series playoff race is Saturday at 4:30 PM ET (USA Network) and the penultimate race of the Camping World Truck Series season is scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 PM ET (FS1).
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The 1.5-mile circuit is a favorite of several Cup Series drivers and typically produces competitive races.
Joey Logano is going into the weekend with ease. He won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last week to earn a spot in the Cup Championship Four at Phoenix Raceway Nov. 6. The remaining seven riders in the Round of 8 will compete for the other three spots at Homestead and , at Martinsville Speedway October 30.
Is the 20th winner there?
Cup drivers are one win short of breaking a pretty solid record. Nineteen different drivers have won races in five seasons: 1956, 1958, 1961, 2001 and this year.
With three races to go, it seems unlikely a 20th winner will arrive, but it’s also true that some key names haven’t won this year.
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That list includes Ryan Blaney (a playoff driver), Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger.
Three of those drivers may see an end to the season series. Keselowski has won at least one race in 11 consecutive seasons, while Truex (seven) and Blaney (five) have shorter series.
It is noteworthy that the last 10 races this season have been won by 10 different drivers and the last seven races have been won by seven different organizations.
Will Ross be the boss?
While Ross Chastain has not won a race since Talladega in April, it can be argued that he is a Sunday favourite.
Chastain’s 2.5-mile track record this season is outstanding.
He has placed second at 1.5 miles three times, has two stage wins and has led 383 laps, the most of all drivers on 1.5 miles circuits with 118 laps. He has an average finish of 6.4 on 1.5-mile tracks, the best by more than three positions, and his total of 1.5-mile points earned is 79 more than the second-place driver (William Byron) in that category.
Chastain is second in the playoff standings entering the race and is plus-18 points on the cutline.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick soon on Homestead
Two non-playoff drivers – Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick – are among the favorites at Homestead on Sunday.
Busch, in the final three weeks of a successful run with Joe Gibbs Racing, is a two-time Homestead winner, finishing in the top 10 in the past seven races at the track. He has won 16 times on 1.5 mile tracks.
Harvick won at Homestead in 2014 and has an impressive overall record on the track with 12 top fives, 18 top 10s and an average finish of 7.3.
Thirty-six teams are entered for Sunday’s 400-mile Cup race. Among the non-regular drivers are AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson and Landon Cassill.
Homestead Cup entry list
Forty-one teams are on the entry list for Saturday’s Xfinity race. Included are drivers Julia Landauer and Nick Sanchez.
Homestead Xfinity participant list
The Camping World Truck Series entry list includes 37 teams, including trucks from Ryan Preece and Parker Kligerman.
Homestead Truck Entry List
This Week’s Schedule and Forecast (All Times Eastern) Friday, October 21
Forecast: Partly cloudy. Small chance of a shower. High of 81.
4pm – 4.30pm — Truck Training
4.30pm – 5.30pm — Truck Qualification
18:05 – 18:35 — Xfinity Exercise (USA Network)
6:35 PM – 7:30 PM — Xfinity Qualifier (USA Network)
Saturday 22 Oct.
Forecast: Mostly sunny. High of 83.
10:05 AM – 10:50 AM — Cup Practice (NBC Sports App, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
10:50 AM – noon — Cup Qualifier (NBC Sports App, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
1:00 PM — Truck Race (134 laps, 201 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
4:30 PM — Xfinity race (200 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Sunday Oct 23
Forecast: Mostly sunny. High of 85.
2:30 p.m. — Cup race (267 laps, 400 miles; NBC, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)