The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are headed to Homestead-Miami Speedway. Which driver in the Round of Eight can clinch a spot in the Championship Four with a win in the Dixie Vodka 400?
Joey Logano is locked in the Championship Four with his win from last week in Las Vegas. The remaining seven drivers in the Round of Eight will be trying to do the same this weekend. Since there are only three races in this round and four spots in the final winner-take-all championship race, one spot will be filled based on points. That means the Playoff drivers will also have to be mindful of the point situation they are in as well. Here is the current NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Standings…
|Rank||Driver||Points||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Starts||+/- Cutoff|
|1||Joey Logano||4,084||3||6||26||33||In On Wins|
Homestead-Miami Speedway is a challenging track to race on. High speeds on the intermediate track allow for exciting racing. However, it can also result in calamity for drivers that push just a little too far. Here is the data that all the drivers will be facing this weekend on the track and in the race.
Homestead-Miami Speedway Data:
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 18-20 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 18-20 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,760 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,760 feet
Dixie Vodka 400 Data:
Season Race #: 34 of 36 (10-23-22)
Playoff Race #: 8 of 10
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles
Stages 1 Length: 80 Laps
Stages 2 Length: 85 Laps
Finale Stage Length: 102 Laps
Only three of the Round of Eight drivers have ever won a Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in their careers. Denny Hamlin has three wins at the track. Joey Logano has a single win there. William Byron has a single win which was the 2021 Dixie Vodka 400. Here are how all of the NASCAR Playoff Round of Eight drivers stack up at Homestead-Miami Speedway…
|Driver||Races||Poles||Wins||Top Fives||Top 10s||DNFs||Average Finish||Driver Rating|
Joey Logano can go all out and try for back-to-back wins in the Round of Eight. That would definitely send the message to the other Playoff drivers that to win the championship you have to beat him. Since he already has is spot in the Championship Four secured, he has nothing to lose.
Denny Hamlin could go for win number four at the track. However, sitting just on top of the cutline at plus six points he will have to race smart as well.
William Byron sits just below the cutline at minus six points. That means points will be important to him as well. However, if he can win back-to-back Dixie Vodka 400s the points will no longer matter for him.
Of course there are non-Playoff drivers with something to prove before the season ends like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and more. Any of them would love to play spoiler to the Playoff drivers by winning the race.
We will find out what happens this Sunday, October 23rd starting at 1:30 p.m. central time (2:30 p.m. eastern time) in the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
By: Buck Stevens