The Setup – Dixie Vodka 400 Race Preview
By Tyler Miller

Homestead-Miami Speedway will host this weekend’s Dixie Vodka 400 for the NASCAR Cup Series. Homestead will host two double-headers stating with an Xfinity-Truck double-header on Saturday and an Xfinity-Cup double-header on Sunday. If you are interested in playing Xfinity or Trucks on Draft Kings, check out the NASCAR tap on our Discord channel.

This is the first time in the 21 race history of Homestead-Miami Speedway that the track will host a race outside of November. It is the first time since 2001 that NASCAR will not finish its season at Homestead. The weather in South Florida is much different in June compared to November, that, plus the lack of practice and qualifying creates some uncertainty as we look at the track’s recent history. Before this year, Homestead was the focus and determining factor of a driver’s championship hopes. That is not the case this time and I’m not sure how that will impact what we see on Sunday. Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 267 laps (400 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 80, Stage 2 ends on lap 160.
Lineup Lock 3:00 pm eastern Sunday
2019 Winner: Kyle Busch (Started 4th)
2019 Pole Sitter: Denny Hamlin (Finished 10th)
Past Winners: (starting position)
2018 Winner: Joey Logano (started 5th)
2017: Martin Truex Jr. (2nd)
2016: Jimmie Johnson (14th)
2015: Kyle Busch (3rd)
2014: Kevin Harvick (5th)

Martinsville Recap
What went right?

Martinsville started out terrible and looked really bad for the first 350 laps, but our guys finished strong and I was able to eek out a win on Fan Duel. Brad Keselowski led 5 laps and finished 3rd (5th in Fan Duel Scoring), Martin Truex Jr. led 132 laps and won the race (2nd in Fan Duel Scoring), Jimmie Johnson led 70 laps and finished 10th with + 11 differential (3rd in Fan Duel scoring), Ty Dillon performed close to expectation with a 22nd place finish, 3 laps down, with + 8 differential, and Michael McDowell stayed on the lead lap all night and finished the race 14th + 15 differential which is an outstanding return on his $4,000 salary.

On Fan Duel, I ended up using Hamlin, Truex, Keselowski, McDowell, and Dillon. That lineup scored 416.1 and cashed in every contest I entered.

What went wrong?
Hamlin was my pick to win the race so there was no way I wasn’t going to play him. Hamlin looked awful from the beginning but fought hard to finish 24th, 3 laps down. Hamlin’s car was overheating, he couldn’t keep it at the bottom of the track in the turn, it was a really bad night for the 11 team which is a head scratcher because of how good his teammate (Truex) was. As bad as the night was for Hamlin, Austin Dillon’s race was much worse. Dillon started the race with a flat tire, went 3 laps down, tore out a crush panel, and ended up parking it after completing 399 laps.

On Draft Kings, I played Hamlin, Truex, Keselowski, Ty and Austin Dillon, and Michael McDowell. That lineup scored 255.25 and I lost money overall but did cash in a single 50/50 contest.

What Vegas thinks (Friday AM lines via Draft Kings Sportsbook):
Kevin Harvick is the favorite at +450. I think the race is going to be difficult to predict a winner so I am personally sitting this one out. However, if you are looking for a long shot I like Matt Kenseth at +6600, he’s also +1600 for a top 3 and +175 for a top 10.

Kevin Harvick +450
Martin Truex Jr. +500
Kyle Busch +550
Chase Elliott +700
Joey logano +900
Denny Hamlin +1000
Brad Keselowski +1000
Ryan Blaney +1200
Alex Bowman +1400
Jimmie Johnson +2000

Driver Ratings at Homestead:
1. Kevin Harvick 108.8
2. Martin Truex Jr. 107.3
3. Matt Kenseth 105.2
4. Kyle Busch 102.3
5. Denny Hamlin 97.4
6. Joey Logano 94.2
7. Jimmie Johnson 93.7
8. Chase Elliott 91.8
9. Brad Keselowski 89.2
10. Clint Bowyer 85.9
11. Ryan Newman 85.5
12. Austin Dillon 83.0
13. Erik Jones 80.6
14. Kurt Busch 78.3
15. Ryan Blaney 72.6

Average Running Position at Homestead:
1. Kevin Harvick 7.886
2. Martin Truex Jr. 8.321
3. Matt Kenseth 8.834
4. Chase Elliott 11.296
5. Denny Hamlin 11.648
6. Joey Logano 11.829
7. Kyle Busch 11.913
8. Jimmie Johnson 12.951
9. Brad Keselowski 12.998
10. Ryan Newman 13.380
11. Austin Dillon 13.966
12. Clint Bowyer 14.469
13. Erik Jones 15.027
14. Daniel Suarez 18.408
15. Kurt Busch 18.589

Laps Led
1. Kyle Busch 463 (11.6% of laps run)
2. Matt Kenseth 449 (12.0)
3. Kevin Harvick 356 (8.9)
4. Martin Truex Jr. 312 (8.3)
5. Denny Hamlin 256 (6.4)
6. Joey Logano 158 (5.4)
7. Brad Keselowski 107 (3.3)

2019 Top 10
1. Kyle Busch
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Erik Jones
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Joey Logano
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Ryan Newman
8. Austin Dillon
9. Alex Bowman
10. Denny Hamlin

2018 Top 10
1. Joey Logano
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Kyle Busch
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Chase Elliott
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Aric Almirola
10. Kurt Busch

2017 Top 10
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Larson
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Chase Elliott
6. Joey Logano
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Ryan Newman

2016 Top 10
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kyle Larson
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Joey Logano
5. Jamie McMurray
6. Kyle Busch
7. Matt Kenseth
8. A.J. Allmendinger
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Michael McDowell

In my opinion, this is the most difficult race to predict since we have returned to racing. The fact that this race usually determines a champion in November and is now being run under very different circumstances in June creates a lot of uncertainty. We need to get a combination of solid consistency at the top and low hanging fruit in the mid-tier/bottom to build a solid cash lineup. Let’s get started.

Kevin Harvick ($14,500/11,800) Kevin Harvick is my top play for Sunday because he has been incredibly consistent at Homestead. Harvick hasn’t finished outside the top 10 at this track since 2007 and he is currently on a streak of 6 straight top 5s. Harvick has also been consistent this season. His 15th place finish at Martinsville is his worst finish of the year. At intermediate tracks in 2020, Harvick has finished 8th, 9th, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 10th, and 1st. Starting 7th, I think Harvick runs inside the top 10 all day and competes for a top 5 finish.

Joey Logano ($13,000/10,700) Joey Logano has also been very consistent at Homestead. Since moving to Penske in 2013, Logano has finished inside the top 10 at Homestead in 6 of 7 races included a win and top 5s in 5 of his last 6. I think we will see Logano at a lower ownership rate compared to some of the other top drivers and I think he is a really solid play for cash games on Sunday.

Tyler Reddick ($8,300/7,300) Tyler Reddick dominated Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Xfinity Series. Reddick scored 2 wins in 3 races (his other finish was 4th) en route to back-to-back Xfinity championships. I do not expect Tyler Reddick to contend for the win on Sunday, but I think he can run inside the top 10 throughout the race and compete for a top 12 finish at the end. Reddick starts the race 24th which gives you too much upside to pass up.

Matt Kenseth ($7,500/8,200) The combination of Kyle Larson’s success in the 42 car and Matt Kenseth’s success at Homestead has me taking a hard look at Kenseth on Sunday. Homestead was one of Kyle Larson’s best tracks and Kenseth finished top 10 in 8 of his last 9 races at the track (2010-2018). This included a 6th place finish in 2018 when Kenseth was driving an underperforming 6 car for Roush Fenway racing (in place of Trevor Bayne). Starting 20th, Kenseth is too cheap to be ignored. A 15th place finish would make this a good play and I think there is top 10 potential for Kenseth on Sunday.

Christopher Bell ($6,600/9,300) Christopher Bell has a large price discrepancy between Fan Duel and Draft Kings this week. Starting 36th, Bell has the potential for +20 differential which makes him an option, even at his high price on Draft Kings. Unlike Martinsville, I don’t mind using rookies at Homestead. Bell was solid at Homestead in Xfinity and Trucks but not outstanding. I think Bell is a lock on Fan Duel and needs to be strongly considered for DK lineups as well, even at his elevated price.

Cole Custer ($6,400/6,000) In the Xfinity Series, Cole Custer has 3 top 2 finishes in 4 races at Homestead. He also finished 10th in his only truck race at the track. I like Cole Custer, particularly on Draft Kings, as an alternate to Christopher Bell. Custer is starting this race 35th and could easially outscore Bell on Sunday. I also like pairing the two of them together.

Michael McDowell ($5,000/5,200) There will be a lot of focus on Bell and Custer and a lot of people might overlook Michael McDowell. McDowell has exceeded expectations this season with finishes inside the top 25 in 10 of 11 races. McDowell finished 24th at Atlanta, 18th and 25th in the two races at Charlotte, 23rd and 17th in two races at Darlington, and 22nd at Fontana earlier this year. His only bad finish this season was at Las Vegas where he was 36th, 22 laps down. McDowell would need to beat Bell and Custer by 5-6 spots to score more points than them, but he also comes at a much lower price tag which might help a lineup fit together. Don’t ignore McDowell on Sunday.

The obvious Fan Duel cash lineup that I like is Harvick, Logano, Reddick, Custer, and Bell. That lineup doesn’t work on Draft Kings but you can work in McDowell and Kenseth. Good luck to all our subscribers this weekend!

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