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Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead

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Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the middle race in the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

Joey Logano became the first driver to lock in a spot in the Championship Four by winning last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A win by any of the remaining seven drivers in the playoff field Sunday would check off another position in the final four for the Nov. 6 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

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Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney and Christopher Bell remain in the hunt. Chastain, Elliott and Hamlin are above the playoff cutline entering Homestead.

Playoff races in the Xfinity Series (4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC) and the Camping World Truck Series (1 p.m. ET Saturday, FS1) also are on the Homestead schedule.

Missing from Sunday’s race will be driver Bubba Wallace, who was suspended for one race by NASCAR for crashing Kyle Larson last Sunday at Las Vegas. John Hunter Nemechek will replace Wallace.

Drivers to watch Sunday at Homestead:

FRONTRUNNERS

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 2nd

  • Last three races: 2nd at Las Vegas, 37th at Charlotte, 4th at Talladega

  • Past at Homestead: Best finish in three career starts is 17th

Chastain is plus-18 points to the cutline entering Homestead, putting him in decent position to challenge for a spot in the Championship Four. The best way to move into that group, however, is winning, and Chastain hasn’t done that since April. He has two top-four runs in the past three races.

Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 3rd

  • Last three races: 21st at Las Vegas, 20th at Charlotte, won at Talladega

  • Past at Homestead: Best finish of 2nd in six career starts

Elliott’s recent outings are rather dizzying. In the past five races, he has a win and a second but also finishes of 21st, 20th and 32nd. He was not a factor in last Sunday’s race at Las Vegas.

Chase Briscoe

  • Points position: 6th

  • Last three races: 4th at Las Vegas, 9th at Charlotte, 10th at Talladega

  • Past at Homestead: 18th last year in only career start

Briscoe has not finished outside the top 10 in the past four races and continues to make playoff noise. He is minus-9 points to the cutline and will be racing at Homestead for only the second time in Cup competition. He has won there in the Xfinity Series (2020) and Truck Series (2017).

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Christopher Bell

  • Points position: 8th

  • Last three races: 34th at Las Vegas, won at Charlotte, 17th at Talladega

  • Past at Homestead: Finishes of 8th and 20th in two career starts

Bell happened to be in the way when Bubba Wallace crashed Kyle Larson on Sunday at Las Vegas. The resulting damage left him parked and with a 34th-place finish. He’s minus-23 points to the cutline and will be looking for Victory Lane Sunday to advance.

Ryan Blaney

  • Points position: 7th

  • Last three races: 28th at Las Vegas, 26th at Charlotte, 2nd at Talladega

  • Past at Homestead: Best finish of 3rd in seven career starts

Blaney, still riding a season-long winless streak (not including a win in the All-Star Race), is minus-11 points to the cutline entering Sunday’s race.

John Hunter Nemechek

  • Points position: NA

  • Last three races: (Truck Series) 24th at Talladega, 12th at Bristol, won at Kansas

  • Past at Homestead: 23rd and 19th in two Cup starts

A Truck Series regular, Nemechek is the only winner in the Bubba Wallace-Kyle Larson-Christopher Bell incident from Las Vegas. With Wallace suspended for one race by NASCAR, Nemechek gets a start in the 23XI Racing No. 45 Toyota as his replacement. Can he shine with a big opportunity?

Read more about NASCAR

Bubba Wallace apologizes to Christopher Bell NASCAR viewer’s guide for Homestead-Miami Speedway Suspended Bubba Wallace will be replaced by John Hunter Nemechek for Homestead

 

Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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