For the third straight season, NASCAR’s annual visit to South Florida will come at a different time on the schedule – and with it comes a whole new approach for the 43 drivers involved.
After nearly two decades as the final race on the schedule, Homestead-Miami Speedway went from holding the Dixie Vodka 400 last June to now being the first race after a two week stint in Daytona to start the 2021 season.
Last year’s winner at Homestead, Denny Hamlin, will be looking to make history with another trip to victory lane. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota has won three times at the South Florida track, tying him with Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart for the most wins at the event.
Last season, Hamlin and fellow driver Kevin Harvick were two of the tops winners on NASCAR’s Cup Seires – combining for 16 trips to Victory Lane.
“I think it will be more status quo on where we were last year,” Hamlin said. “That doesn’t mean me and Kevin, since it’s a mile-and-a-half, that we are going to dominate. With the mid-tier teams, this is where the resources that they don’t have will come into factor a little bit more.
The first two races of the 2021 season have both gone to first-time winners – with Michael McDowell being victorious in the Daytona 500 on February 14th and Christopher Bell victorious in last week’s road course race at the track.
For Hamlin and other veterans, it was not a shock to see that take place.
“We were at a superspeedway. I think the winners list is like, ‘Oh wow, where (are) our superstars?’ but we are about to get into a chunk of the season where you are going to start to see some of your normal winners in the bracket,” he said.
Homestead-Miami Speedway will welcome a limited number of fans for Saturday’s Xfinity Series Contender Boats 250 and Sunday’s Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400.
“Last year we became the first major sporting venue globally to welcome back fans, and we are excited for the opportunity to see even more of them here for two days this year,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Al Garcia. “Fans will be treated to some great entertainment options before and after the race on both days, giving all of our guests a true ‘taste of Miami.’”