The drivers left in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs take their talents to South Beach on Sunday, although they and the rest of the field really won’t have much time for sandy frolicking.
Instead, they’ll line up in their 3,500-pound machines on Sunday for the green flag (1:36 p.m. CDT, NBC) at Miami-Homestead Speedway, site of the second race in the Round of 8. Just three spots remain in the Championship 4, and seven racers hope to claim one by taking the checkers on the intermediate oval.
“It’s a track I feel good about,” said Martin Truex Jr., one of those seven, who sits third in the playoff standings. “It’s a place where I think we can make something happen.”
He has before. The New Jersey racer’s 18 starts there include a 2017 victory and 12 top-10s. Another win would put him in the final. He’d join Kyle Larson, who qualified by winning at Las Vegas last week in the opening round of the semifinals.
William Byron stands second in points, nine over the bubble line. Denny Hamlin, the leader in wins at Homestead among the playoff drivers, and Truex are both two points to the good.
Under the line are Christopher Bell (-2), Tyler Reddick (-16), Ryan Blaney (-17) and Chris Buescher (-23).
Larson is the defending race winner and the leader among active drivers in laps led at the facility. He might win again, not that he needs to. But it would be nice.
“I’m not going into these next two races thinking that they are throwaways,” he said. “I want to go and have some good runs and potentially have a couple more wins to roll into Phoenix with a lot of confidence and momentum chasing a second championship.”
Every racer is looking for the same — confidence, momentum, a championship. What better place than under the Florida Sun?