Dale Money | June 13th, 2020
The Gibbs side had plenty of problems on Wednesday night at Martinsville. However, it would end up being Martin Truex Jr that carried the can for the organization. Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin would each finish the race three laps down. Normally a strong driver at his home track, Hamlin had problems most of the night. He ended up 24th, which was last among the Gibbs drivers.
After suffering both right front damage and a pit road penalty in the early going. Truex would spend a lot of time, working himself back up through the field. It wouldn’t be until lap 370 when Truex would eventually overtake Ryan Blaney. Truex would not relinquish the lead from that point on. This victory automatically punches Truex’s ticket to the playoffs.
Blaney’s Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano would finish third and fourth respectively. Although Truex would control the last chunk of the race, it was Logano that dominated in laps led. Logano’s 234 laps led were by far the most among any driver, as Truex was second with 134 laps.
We now move on from Martinsville and travel to Homestead-Miami, for the Dixie Vodka 400. Looking at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it is a 1.5-mile oval track with a seating capacity of 46,000. The first NASCAR race happened here in November of 1995. It was last November that Kyle Busch would go onto win the race as well as the championship here at Homestead-Miami.
Hamlin is slated to start Sunday’s race on the pole opposite Blaney. And former Super Bowl winning head coach Jimmy Johnson will serve as the virtual grand marshal. So without further ado, let’s delve into the driver options for this upcoming Cup Series event. We’ve broken down the selections between dominator, mid-range, and value plays. Best of luck to everyone.
Kyle Busch (10,100 DK 13,700 FD)
After Wednesday’s flop at Martinsville, In which Busch would struggle most of the night, it is now time to turn the page. As stated previously, Busch’s most recent visit to Homestead-Miami resulted not only in a win but his second series title.
When you look at his cup career at this track, it’s really been a tale of two cities. His first seven races here were utterly shameful, he would have just one top 10 and two top 20’s. Since that time though, Busch has completely flipped a switch. When you consider that In those next eight races, he would finish inside the top seven all but once.
Slated to start fourth on Sunday, I expect Rowdy to do everything in his power to get himself up to the front of the order early and rack up as many laps led as possible. As of now, Busch is ninth in the points, however, he does not have one single stage win. The need for playoff points is becoming more and more crucial with each race.
Kevin Harvick (11,800 DK 14,500 FD)
When it comes to looking for that dominator to invest the main chunk of your budget, you obviously want a driver that has proven to be ultra-consistent. Harvick has continuously proven himself to be a threat for race victories at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Consider over the course of his last 12 races here, Harvick has finished top four or better nine of those times. He also leads all current drivers in top five’s, top 10’s, and average finish at Homestead-Miami over his career.
Harvick will run off the starting line in the seventh position on Sunday and should be a contender for not only a potential victory but the fastest laps and potential laps led. Looking at the standings heading into this upcoming event, Harvick is holding down the lead over second-place driver Logano by 28 points and currently owns 26 playoff points.
Tyler Reddick (7,300 DK 8,300 FD)
Reddick is very familiar with this track. It was last November here at Homestead-Miami that Reddick earned himself both a second straight Xfinity Series title as well as back to back race victories. Having beaten rival Custer to the punch each time.
Outside of his 36th place stinker at Bristol, Reddick has been very serviceable. He’s even thrown in a pair of top eight’s at Darlington and Charlotte. Reddick is set to go 24th on Sunday and should be able to work himself into at least a top 15 outcome. Since the return to racing, Reddick has finished 16th or better on six of those seven occasions.
With back to back Xfinity victories along with a fourth-place finish the opportunity previously at Homestead-Miami, Reddick has shown he knows how to perform here. Question is how will he fare in a cup car? He has at least proven himself to be a stable driver when it comes to getting himself in among the top 16 or better, not to mention the price is very reasonable. I see no reason why you wouldn’t take a chance.
Cole Custer (6,000 DK 6,400 FD)
One of the more attractive bargain bin drivers for this week in my humble opinion. In Custer’s last five races heading into this week, he has finished inside the top 19 on three of those occasions. This will be Custer’s first cup appearance at Homestead-Miami, however, he does have an incredible Xfinity record at this track. Custer has three straight top two’s here and led 292 total laps. Had it not been for Reddick, he’d be a back to back winner.
Slated to start 35th on Sunday, I think it’s within his ability to get by 15 cars or more and finish within the top 20. When you look at the drivers in Custer’s price range for this weekend, he is one of the few with the potential to supply that sort of point haul.
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