NASCAR Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway to wrap up February schedule today

Homestead–Miami Speedway track map By Will Pittenger – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Dixie Vodka 400

The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway

The Date: Sunday, February 28

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)

NASCAR Cup Series

Third Times The Charm: Over 70 years since Cup has seen three consecutive first-time winners

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season has started in historic fashion becoming just the third season in series history to with two first-time winners to win the first two races of the year; joining the series’ inaugural season 1949 and 1950. Now the 2021 season, has the opportunity to join the inaugural 1949 season as just the second season in series history to start the year with three consecutive first-time winners to win the first three races of the year. A feat that will be difficult, because this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race, the Dixie Vodka 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), will be hosted by Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track that has never had a Cup Series first-time winner.

The inaugural NASCAR Cup Series season holds the record for the most consecutive first-winners to start the season with five.

Three or more consecutive first-time winners has only happened three times in the NASCAR Cup Series. The first, was the five consecutive first-time winners in 1949. The other two times it occurred was in 1950.

This season, Front Row Motorsport’s driver Michael McDowell grabbed his first-career win at Daytona International Speedway in the Daytona 500. He is the eighth different driver to win their first-career race in the Daytona 500. McDowell got the win in his 358th start, the second largest amount of starts before a first Cup win behind Michael Waltrip’s 463.

Then the following week at the DAYTONA Road Course, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell led just five laps en route to his first-career NASCAR Cup Series victory in just his second season at the premier level.

This weekend, 16 of the 38 drivers entered at Homestead-Miami Speedway are looking for their first NASCAR Cup Series career victory. Six former NASCAR Cup Series Homestead-Miami Speedway winners are entered this weekend, led by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin with three victories; followed by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch (two wins) and Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. each with one win.

Three or more consecutive first-time winners has only happened three times in the NASCAR Cup Series. The first, was the five consecutive first-time winners in 1949. The other two times it occurred was in 1950.

This season, Front Row Motorsport’s driver Michael McDowell grabbed his first-career win at Daytona International Speedway in the Daytona 500. He is the eighth different driver to win their first-career race in the Daytona 500. McDowell got the win in his 358th start, the second largest amount of starts before a first Cup win behind Michael Waltrip’s 463.

Then the following week at the DAYTONA Road Course, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell led just five laps en route to his first-career NASCAR Cup Series victory in just his second season at the premier level.

This weekend, 16 of the 38 drivers entered at Homestead-Miami Speedway are looking for their first NASCAR Cup Series career victory. Six former NASCAR Cup Series Homestead-Miami Speedway winners are entered this weekend, led by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin with three victories; followed by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch (two wins) and Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. each with one win.

Two new names already listed on this season’s Playoff picture, who’s next?

While there still may be 24 more races left in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season to decide who will qualify for the Playoffs, two new names that will be making the postseason debuts this year – Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell – have already locked themselves in. Looking ahead to this weekend’s race, the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) there are 15 different drivers entered that have won at least one NASCAR national series race at the famous 1.5-mile South Florida track and all 15 are hoping to etch their name on the postseason list.

Two drivers looking for their first win this season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, are the only two drivers entered this weekend that have won in all three NASCAR national series at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch has scored two wins (2015, 2019) in the NASCAR Cup Series, two in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2009, 2010) and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2010, 2013, 2020). Harvick has collected one victory in each series (Cup 2014, Xfinity 2004, Truck 2009).  In last season’s Homestead Cup race, Busch finished posted his ninth career top-10 finishes (sixth) at the track and Harvick finished 26th, his first finish outside the top-10 at the 1.5-mile track since 2007 (19th). 

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin is the early favorite for this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Chesterfield, Virginia native is tied with Greg Biffle and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart for the series-most wins with three each. Plus, he is the defending winner of this race. He took last season’s checkered flag from the pole after leading a race-high 137 laps. In total, Hamlin has made 16 series starts at Homestead-Miami posting three wins, five top fives and 11 top 10s.

The next most recent winner in the NASCAR Cup Series at Homestead-Miami was Team Penske’s Joe Logano, who took home the series title after winning the 2018 season finale. Logano has made 12 starts at the South Florida track posting one win, four top fives and six top 10s. The 30-year-old, Logano, finished 27th in the Homestead-Miami race last season, his first finish outside the top-10 since 2014 (16th).

Like Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. won the 2017 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Furniture Row Racing and also collected a series title in the process. Truex finished 12th in last year’s Homestead-Miami race, breaking a streak of 1-2 finishes dating back to 2017 (2017 first-place; 2018 and 2019 runner-up finishes). In 16 starts at Homestead, Truex posted one win, six top fives and 10 top 10s.

The sixth active driver to win at Homestead-Miami Speedway is Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch, who won back in 2002 driving for Roush Fenway Racing. In total, Busch has made 20 series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway putting up one win, four top fives and seven top 10s. He finished 17th in last season’s event.

Seven additional NASCAR Cup Series drivers entered this weekend have won at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series; including Brad Keselowski (two wins: 2011, 2013), Chase Briscoe (2020), Tyler Reddick (2019, 2018), Cole Custer (2017), Daniel Suarez (2016), Kyle Larson (2015) and Ryan Newman (2005). Briscoe is the only driver of the seven to win at Homestead in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2020) and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2017).

Two additional NASCAR Cup Series drivers entered this weekend have won at Homestead-Miami Speedway solely in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – William Byron (2016) and Bubba Wallace (2014).

NASCAR Cup Series Etc.

Steve Letarte returns to the pit box for Spire Motorsports – This week Spire Motorsports announced several team members on the No. 7 car will not be participating in this weekend’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway due to COVID-19 protocols; including the crew chief Ryan Sparks. As a result, former NASCAR Cup Series crew chief turned NBC Sports NASCAR TV Analyst will return to the pit box this weekend and lead the No. 7 team with driver Corey LaJoie. Letarte served as crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series for nine full seasons at Hendrick Motorsports. During that time, Letarte led NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon (10 wins) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (five wins) to a combined total of 15 victories in the series – none were at Homestead. LaJoie has made four series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway posting an average finish of 31.2.

Homestead to host limited number of fans – NASCAR and Homestead-Miami Speedway announced back in December that the 1.5-mile venue’s February NASCAR weekend will play host to a reduced number of fans, and will also be pushed back one week later than originally scheduled. The decision to limit fans is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and is in accordance with enhanced safety protocols and procedures to provide a safe environment for guests, NASCAR competitors, employees and the local community.

Now set for Feb. 27-28, the third weekend of the 2021 NASCAR season will be headlined by Homestead-Miami Speedway’s Dixie Vodka 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 28 and a NASCAR Xfinity Series race set for Saturday, Feb. 27. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, originally scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19, has been realigned to the DAYTONA Road Course for the same date.

“The South Florida community and Homestead-Miami Speedway are always excited to welcome fans here from across the country,” said track President Al Garcia. “We pride ourselves on personal hospitality and incredible racing at our beautiful, colorful, one-of-a-kind facility. We will work with our fans to find the best opportunity to enjoy NASCAR racing at its finest, here at Homestead-Miami Speedway.”

The Crew’s Sarah Stiles to Perform Virtual National Anthem – As NASCAR fans around the globe continue to dive into Netflix’s new racing-themed comedy series, THE CREW, fans of the show will have an opportunity to see one of its lead actresses showcase her singing talent ahead of this Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway.


Stiles, a multi-talented actress, musician, and two-time Tony Award nominee, can currently be seen starring as ‘Beth’ in THE CREW alongside Kevin James. 

On television, Sarah also recurs as ‘Bonnie Barella’ on Showtime’s hit series BILLIONS and starred in EPIX’s critically acclaimed series GET SHORTY. Additional television and film credits include the Steven Soderbergh’s UNSANE, I’M DYING UP HERE, BLACKLIST, DIETLAND, as well as the animated STEVEN UNIVERSE for Cartoon Network and SUNNY DAY for Nickelodeon. Sarah lends her voice on the recording of Pasek and Paul’s JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH.

On stage, Sarah Stiles starred in the Broadway production of TOOTSIE as ‘Sandy Lester’. She earned Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for this role. She has also starred in various Broadway productions including her Tony nominated performance as Jessica in HAND TO GOD, ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREEVER, Kate/ Lucy AVENUE Q and THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNUM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. 

In 2016, she penned her solo show SQUIRREL HEART which she performed to sold out audiences at Joe’s Pub at the Public in NYC. Her debut EP YOU CAN UKELELE WITH ME was released by Broadway Records in August 2020.

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