The NASCAR Cup Series found a window in the rain and had some luck on Wednesday night by being able to get the full race in at Martinsville, and it looks like they’ll need to do the same thing at Homestead-Miami Speedway here on Sunday. But, just because the weather doesn’t look great doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make fantasy picks, so let’s get to it. Homestead is a 1.5-mile track but not shaped like a typical cookie cutter. It’s one of those “high wear tracks” with an abrasive surface, with the others in that category being Atlanta, Chicagoland, Darlington, and Fontana. We’ve raced at three of those four tracks this season, and should see similar faces up front at Homestead.
Random draw set the starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Homestead, and Denny Hamlin was the lucky driver who “won” the pole. This is the fifth time he’s starting 1st at Homestead in the last six races here. Click here for the full starting lineup for the Dixie Vodka 400.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Homestead
Kevin Harvick ($13,000) – There’s a very good chance that we see more Kevin Harvick domination here on Sunday, especially if you believe the Fantasy Racing Online algorithm and how much of a favorite it has him as. As you probably remember, this #4 Ford led the most laps en route to victory lane at Atlanta recently (another high wear track), and Harvick also had the best green flag speed in the first Darlington race this season that he dominated (also a high wear track). As far as his history here at Homestead, Harvick hasn’t won here since the 2014 season but he also hasn’t finished worse than 4th since then either. Additionally, he hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 at Homestead since the 2007 season. Harvick pulled 7th in the qualifying draw here on Thursday night so there’s a little place differential potential for him in this Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest.
Kyle Busch ($12,400) – Kyle Busch is always a contender at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he already has a pair of 2nd-place finishes to his name at high wear tracks this season (Fontana and Atlanta). Now, obviously with Kyle starting up in 4th on Sunday, he barely has any room for place differential points, but he can make up for that with both Stage points as well as if he leads the most laps and gets those 10 fantasy points in this Slingshot contest. Rowdy has two wins here at Homestead in his last five starts and hasn’t finished worse than 6th at this track since the 2014 season.
Christopher Bell ($8,400) – Chalk pick #1. Christopher Bell drew the 36th-place starting spot in qualifying this week which means he has major potential to be one of the top scoring drivers in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest on Sunday. Looking at other high wear tracks from this season, Bell finished 24th and 11th in the two Darlington races and then recently came home 18th in the Atlanta race. That averages out to 17.7. If Christopher Bell can finish 18th here at Homestead on Sunday, he’ll score 92 points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. That’s solid value.
Cole Custer ($8,300) – The second chalk pick. When you get 2 fantasy points per position gained, and you have the opportunity to pick a driver in Stewart-Haas equipment starting back in 35th, you have to take that chance. Now, Cole Custer hasn’t been blowing anybody away with his finishes thus far in 2020, but he came home 18th at Fontana and 19th at Atlanta this season, which are both high wear tracks. Also, for what it’s worth, Cole has finished 1st or 2nd in each of his last three starts here in the Xfinity Series. If he can pull off a 15th-place finish here on Sunday, Custer will score over 100 points in the Slingshot contest, which would be a great value for his price.
Austin Dillon ($7,900) – Austin Dillon and his wife are still on baby watch as of the time of this writing, but I’m going to go ahead and assume he doesn’t miss a race. And while Austin’s 16th-place starting spot isn’t amazing in terms of place differential potential, I do think he has a pretty good chance at posting a solid Slingshot score at Homestead. Austin posted his best career finish at this track last November (he ended up 8th) and he’s now posted five straight results in the top 14 here. Additionally, Dillon came home 11th at both Atlanta and Darlington this year–also high wear tracks–as well as finishes of 4th and 8th at Las Vegas and Charlotte (other 1.5-mile tracks). Austin also has three results of 11th or better in the last four Cup Series races overall.