This week marks the finale of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway.Since this is the final race of the season, I thank all the readers of my articles this year and hope you have fared well in your tournaments. Here is one last round of picks and analysis for 2017.
TOP PRICED PICKS
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,100 on DraftKings) is the favorite this week considering that six of his seven wins this season were captured at 1.5 mile tracks, which is a similar track type to Homestead. In 12 starts at the site, Truex has seven Top 10 finishes. Since 2005, Truex has the fourth-best Average Running Position of 9.6, the second-most Fastest Laps at 174, and the third-best Driver Rating of 101.8 at Homestead. He was second in first practice, third in first practice, first in final practice, and starts second. Truex has been great in practices compared to the rest of the field and he should ultimately compete for the win.
Kyle Busch ($10,500) has been strong at Homestead in recent years, finishing seventh or better in four of his last five starts at the site. In 12 starts at Homestead, Kyle Busch has five Top 10 finishes and 279 Laps Led, which is third of active drivers. Since 2005, Kyle Busch has the 10th best ARP of 14.0, the seventh-most Quality Passes (Passes of Cars in the Top 15 under green flag conditions) at 483, the most Fastest Laps at 194, and the sixth-best DR of 96.9. Kyle Busch was first in first practice, had the fourth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in second practice, the best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice, and starts third. Watch for Kyle Busch to compete for a Top 5 position based on practice speeds.
Homestead is one of Kevin Harvick’s ($9,700) best tracks. He has finished in the Top 10 in every Homestead race since 2008 and has only finished outside the Top 10 twice in his career at the site. In 16 starts at Homestead, Harvick has one win and 315 Laps Led, which is second of active drivers. Since 2005, Harvick has the best Average Finishing Position of 6.0, the third-best ARP of 8.9, the third-most Fastest Laps at 154, and the second-best DR of 106.0. He was third in first practice, had the sixth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in second practice, the fourth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice, and starts ninth. Harvick has been solid throughout practices compared to the rest of the field and will compete for a Top 5 finish.
MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS
Denny Hamlin ($8,900) is the only active driver with multiple wins at Homestead. In 12 starts at the site, Hamlin has two wins and eight Top 10 finishes. Since 2005 at Homestead, Hamlin has the fifth-best AFP of 10.6, the seventh-best ARP of 12.8, the sixth-most Fastest Laps at 118, and the seventh-best DR of 95.8. He was fifth in first practice, first in second practice, third in final practice, and starts first. Hamlin’s practice speeds point to a finish in the Top 5.
Clint Bowyer ($8,500) has finished outside of the Top 20 only three times at Homestead. In 11 starts at the site, Bowyer has six Top 10 finishes. He was second in final practice, had the ninth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice, and starts 16th. Bowyer was faster than most in final practice and has solid history at Homestead. He will finish in the Top 15, ahead of his starting position.
Erik Jones ($8,100) will be racing at Homestead in the Cup Series for the first time this week. He has three Top 10 finishes on 1.5 Mile intermediate tracks this season, including two weeks ago at Texas. Jones had the fourth-best 10 consecutive Lap Average in first practice, was fourth in final practice, had the ninth-best 10 consecutive Lap Average in final practice, and starts 14th. Based on practice speeds, look for Jones to finish in the Top 10.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($7,800) is making his final start as a full-time Cup Series driver at Homestead. In 16 starts at the site, Earnhardt has two Top 10 finishes. He has six finishes of 12th or better in the last seven races in 2017. He was 14th in first practice, second in second practice, and seventh in practice. He will start from the rear after changing his engine during practice with his original qualifying position of 24th being counted. Earnhardt’s practice speeds are better than his original starting position, so look for him to finish close to the Top 10 while gaining Place Differential points.
Daniel Suarez ($7,000) will make his first start at Homestead in the Cup Series. He has three Top 15 finishes in his last four races at 1.5 Intermediate tracks. He was 10th in first practice, 11th in second practice, 10th in final practice, and starts 10th. His practice speeds indicate a finish around his starting position in the Top 10.
Ty Dillon ($6,900) has two starts at Homestead. In both of his starts at the site, he finished with a positive PD. He was 32nd in first practice, was ranked 19th in the 10 Consecutive Lap Average in second practice, and ranked 16th in the 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Dillon’s practice speeds point to a finish in the Top 20.
Paul Menard ($6,100) is making his final start with Richard Childress Racing this week. In 11 starts at Homestead, Menard has finished with a positive PD eight times. He was 11th in first practice, 15th in second practice, and was ranked 18th in the 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. He starts 15th. Menard’s practice speeds indicate a finish around his starting position.
Michael McDowell ($5,800) scored his only Top 10 finish of 10th at Homestead last season. He has finished with a positive PD in two of his last three starts at Homestead. McDowell was eighth in first practice, 13th in second practice, was ranked 21st in the 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice and he starts 23rd. McDowell will pick up a Top 20 finish based on his practice speeds.