Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the NASCAR Central Playoff this weekend.
Playoff races are scheduled in all three national series at the South Florida track, which hosted the Cup season finale from 2002 to 2019.
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The second race of the Round of 16 in the Cup Series is scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 PM ET (NBC). The Xfinity Series playoff race is scheduled for 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 track is a favorite of several Cup Series drivers and typically produces competitive racing.
Joey Logano enters the weekend breathing easy. He won last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to earn a spot in the Cup Championship Four at Phoenix Raceway on November 6. The remaining seven drivers in the round of 16 will battle for the other three spots at Homestead and, for those still looking, at Martinsville Speedway on October 30.
Is there a 20th winner?
The Cup drivers are one win away from a pretty solid record. Nineteen different drivers have won races in five seasons: 1956, 1958, 1961, 2001 and this year.
With three races remaining, a twentieth winner seems unlikely, but it is also true that some significant names have not 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 could see their season winning streaks end. Keselowski has won at least one race in 11 straight seasons, while Truex (seven) and Blaney (five) have shorter streaks.
Notably, 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?
Even though Ross Chastain hasn’t won a race since Talladega in April, it’s safe to say he’s a Sunday favorite.
Chastain’s record at 1.5-mile tracks this season is outstanding.
He has finished runner-up three times at 1.5 miles, has two stage wins and has led 383 laps, the most of any driver at 1.5 miles by 118 laps. He has an average finish of 6.4 on 1.5-mile tracks, the best by more than three positions, and his 1.5-mile track points total is 79 more than the second-place driver (William Byron) in this category.
Chastain is second in the playoff standings entering the race and has more than 18 points on the line.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick fast at Homestead
Two non-playoff drivers, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, will be among the favorites Sunday at Homestead.
Busch, in the last three weeks of a successful run with Joe Gibbs Racing, has won twice at Homestead and has finished in the top 10 in the last seven races at the track. Has won 16 times at 1.5 mile tracks.
Harvick won at Homestead in 2014 and has an impressive overall record at 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. Non-regular drivers include AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson and Landon Cassill.
Homestead Cup entry list
Forty-one teams are on the entry list for Saturday’s Xfinity race. They include drivers Julia Landauer and Nick Sánchez.
List of Homestead Xfinity tickets
The Camping World Truck Series entry list has 37 teams, including the trucks of Ryan Preece and Parker Kligerman.
List of Homestead Truck entries
Schedule and forecast for this week
(All Eastern eras)
Friday, October 21
Forecast: Partly cloudy. Little chance of rain. Maximum of 81.
16 – 16.30 h — Truck practice
16:30 – 17:30 — Classification of trucks
18:05 – 18:35 — Xfinity Practice (US Network)
18:35 – 19:30 — Xfinity Rating (USA Network)
Saturday, October 22
Forecast: Mostly sunny. Maximum of 83.
10:05 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. — Cup Practice (NBC Sports App, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
10:50 a.m. – Noon — Cup Qualifying (NBC Sports App, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
1 p.m. – Truck Race (134 laps, 201 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
4:30 p.m. – Xfinity Race (200 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Sunday, October 23
Forecast: Mostly sunny. Maximum of 85.
2:30 p.m. – Cup Race (267 laps, 400 miles; NBC, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)