The NASCAR Cup Series stays in Florida for one more week and hits Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday for the Dixie Vodka 400. Up until last season, Homestead was always the last race of the year, but now that we have Phoenix set as the Championship event, Homestead got shuffled to race #3. This track is what we call a “high-wear” venue, and tires are going to be ultra important on Sunday. This eliminates the possibility of gambling on pit stops, which means the best drivers and cars should finish up front as expected–unless they have a mechanical issue or something.
Denny Hamlin is on the pole yet again at Homestead-Miami Speedway–he’s started 1st in six of the last seven races here–and you can click here to see the Dixie Vodka 400 Starting Lineup. With several “good” drivers wrecking last week at the Daytona Road Course, there is quite a bit of place differential chalk this week, but that might not be the best thing to focus on solely with your Slingshot lineup. I explain why in the video below.
*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.*
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Jordan’s Strategy Breakdown Video
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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Homestead
Chase Elliott ($12,500) – You could also make an argument for me to write up Martin Truex, Jr. ($12,400) in this position, but I’m sticking with Chase Elliott as the safer option, especially since he starts a couple of positions worse, giving him a little better place differential upside. The #9 Chevrolet could, without a doubt, end up winning this race on Sunday, especially when you consider that Chase was one of the few drivers that were somewhat able to keep Denny Hamlin in their sights here at Homestead last year (Elliott finished 2nd). Chase had the 2nd-best average running position overall on high-wear race tracks last year as well.
Kyle Busch ($11,800) – Here’s what you need to know about Kyle Busch: he starts 24th and has finished 6th or better in each of the last six Homestead races, including wins in both 2015 and 2019. Additionally, on the “high-wear” race tracks last season, Kyle had an average finish of 7.5, which was 3rd-best in the series, with an average running position of 9.9 (that 6th-best in the series). Getting a strong driver like Kyle Busch with so much scoring upside at less than $12,000 in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest is a no-brainer pick in my eyes.
Matt DiBenedetto ($8,800) – Of all the drivers considered place differential chalk this weekend–Chase Briscoe, William Byron, Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, and DiBenedetto–I’d consider Matty D the safest option of them all. Byron, Chastain, and Reddick all have a tendency to drive a little wild and could easily hit the wall on Sunday, while Chase Briscoe is making his first Cup Series start on an intermediate track. Briscoe could definitely contend–he’s in a great car–but DiBenedetto starts the furthest back of all of these guys and is, subjectively, the most conservative driver of the bunch. He finished 14th here at Homestead last year in this Wood Brothers Racing car, and if he does that again on Sunday, that’d be 112 fantasy points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest.
Kyle Larson ($11,300) – Kyle Larson is typically a risky pick no matter where we race at. Just last week at the Daytona Road Course, he was up there battling from the lead and then got out of control and nailed the wall, ending his day. Now we’re at Homestead, which is one of his best tracks, but one small mistake can ruin your day here, too–especially when you have a driver like Larson that likes to ride the wall. The upside with Larson this week is great, as he could actually win the race, and he has place differential potential starting 17th, but the risk is definitely there. Do you trust him? Larson has three top 5 finishes in seven career Homestead starts and only one result worse than 15th.
Ross Chastain ($8,000) – When you think of “Risky” Fantasy NASCAR picks, Ross Chastain has to come in at or near the top of your list. Yeah, the guy is a wheel man, but that kind of driving can easily get you into trouble. When it comes to the all-important place differential with your Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest roster this weekend, Chastain is definitely a top option since he starts 31st, plus he’s the cheapest of all of the “good” drivers starting back there. Here at Homestead, Ross has two Cup Series starts, but he was in junk equipment for them and finished 33rd and 35th. In the Xfinity Series last year, he ran 9th and 3rd at this track. I’d cap out the upside on Chastain for Sunday at about mid-teen finishing level.
Daniel Suarez ($6,900) – As I mentioned in the video breakdown above, I’m going to be keeping a close eye on Daniel Suarez this weekend. This will be the first real test for this Trackhouse team on a “normal” race track in 2021, and Suarez starting 21st definitely doesn’t take away any of the risk factor when it comes to the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. However, if he is able to crack the top 15 on Sunday, that’s not only going to provide great value for your lineup, but also allows you the cap space to afford the high-dollar guys and get away from that mid-range chalk. I could definitely see Suarez being in the top Slingshot lineup this weekend, it all comes down to how much you want to risk this early on in the year.
“Race Winner” Pick = Denny Hamlin – Going with the algorithm again this week. Hamlin is on the pole for the sixth time in the last seven races at Homestead, and last year he was finally able to put a good race together and get to victory lane. Well, I guess it was more than just a good race; Hamlin dominated last year’s event at Homestead, leading 137 laps and winning both Stages along the way. My second choice for this pick would be Chase Elliott, for what it’s worth. My algorithm has him projected to finish 3rd, behind Hamlin and Harvick.