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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Homestead-Miami Speedway


NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Dixie Vodka 400
The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Date: Sunday, June 14
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET
Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)
2019 Race Winner: Kyle Busch

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Hooters 250
The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Date: Saturday, June 13
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.5 miles (167 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)
2019 Winner: Tyler Reddick

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Contender Boats 250
The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Date: Sunday, June 14
The Time: 12 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.5 miles (167 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)
2019 Winner: Tyler Reddick

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Next Race: Baptist Health 200
The Place: Homestead-Miami Speedway
The Date: Saturday, June 13
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)
2019 Winner: Austin Hill

NASCAR Cup Series

Welcome to Miami!
The NASCAR Cup Series is returning to Florida for the first time since the season-opening Daytona 500 – and this time around Homestead-Miami Speedway has a new feel.

For the past 18 seasons, since 2002, Homestead-Miami Speedway has hosted the season finale for all three NASCAR national series. This year the South Florida race was moved up to the second month of the season and was originally scheduled to take place on March 22nd, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought racing to a halt.

But now the Dixie Vodka 400 will take place this Sunday, June 14, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Since the start of the elimination-style Playoff format with the 2014 season, the NASCAR Cup Series champion won their title by also winning the season finale at Miami. Prior to that, Tony Stewart (2011) was the only series champion to also win at Miami (2002-2013).

Stewart also holds another honor at Homestead-Miami Speedway – he is the only driver in series history to win in his track debut there (he won the first two races run at Miami – 1999, 2000).

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Brennan Poole, and Tyler Reddick are all making their track debuts at Homestead-Miami. Fellow 2020 rookie, John Hunter Nemechek, raced at the 1.5-mile track last year while filling in for Matt Tifft.

There have been 14 different series race winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway, led by Stewart and Greg Biffle with three apiece. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch (2014, 2019) and Denny Hamlin (2009, 2013) have the most among active drivers with two each.

Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead the field with 19 starts apiece at Miami. And all have one win each at the track.

Good things coming for Joe Gibbs Racing

Heading into Martinsville earlier this week, only one driver on the Joe Gibbs Racing roster had visited Victory Lane in the 2020 season – Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, won his second consecutive Daytona 500 to open the season in the same triumphant way JGR closed out the 2019 season. And since then, Hamlin won the second Darlington race after NASCAR returned to racing.

Last weekend in Atlanta, Kyle Busch finished second and Martin Truex Jr. was right behind him in third.

And that success was a sign of things to come, as Martin Truex Jr. won the first NASCAR Cup Series race under the lights at Martinsville on Wednesday night, cementing what everyone could see developing – that JGR was quickly going to see more drivers on the winners list.

A year ago, as part of a record-setting 19-win season, the teammates had combined for seven wins in the opening 11 events – three from Kyle Busch (Phoenix, Auto Club, Bristol-1), two from Hamlin (Daytona 500, Texas-1) and two by Martin Truex Jr (Richmond-1, Dover-1).

They only have three victories through the first 11 races at this point, but they are sitting pretty in the standings.

Truex leads the pack in fourth place in the standings while Hamlin is eighth. Kyle Busch sits in ninth. And the fourth JGR driver, Erik Jones, is in Playoff contention in 15th.

Wednesday’s win at Martinsville marked the first victory for Truex’s new crew chief, James Small. And after a rough start together, the duo seems to have proven that JGR made the right choice in choosing Small to replace Truex’ longtime crew chief Cole Pearn, who departed the organization following the 2019 season.

Through the first four races, they had an average finish of 24.5 – and didn’t crack the top 10. But in the seven races back after the return to racing, their average finish has been 7.86, with a 20th-place effort at Bristol being the only result outside the top 10.

Truex has a win at this weekend’s venue, capturing the 2017 championship with his victory at Homestead-Miami.

Jimmie Johnson inching closer to ending drought; Hendrick shows strength

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been inching closer and closer to the much-anticipated end to the biggest winless drought of his career.

The veteran driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet who announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2020 season, has been showing improvement with each race this season.

He hasn’t won a race since the 2017 season (Dover) but has two top fives and six top 10s right now and is sitting in 11th-place in the series driver standings, 151 points back from the leader Kevin Harvick.

Johnson will make his 20th start on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and has one win from 2016 to his name – the last time he won the series title. He has five top fives, 11 top 10s and has led 102 laps at the Homestead and he has the seventh-best driver rating (93.7). Plus, Johnson ranks eighth in average running position, sixth-best in fastest laps run, and is ranked eighth for fastest on restarts.

On Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway, Johnson won Stage 1 and led 70 laps en route to a 10th-place finish. A couple days before that at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Johnson finished seventh and at Bristol he finished third.

Johnson’s momentum heading to Homestead is strong as well as the momentum of his entire team.

With two Hendrick drivers already locked into the Playoffs with wins (Elliott & Bowman), Johnson looks to become the third. William Byron is the only other driver from the Hendrick camp without a win so far.

On Sunday at Homestead-Miami, Chase Elliott will start fifth, Alex Bowman will start eighth, Johnson will start ninth and William Byron will start 22nd.

Multi-race winners in 2020

Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski have all won two races so far this season.

Hamlin opened the season with a win at the Daytona 500 and then went on to win the second race back after the COVID-19 pandemic at Darlington Raceway.

Logano won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and again at Phoenix Raceway, the last race prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harvick won the race that marked the return to racing at Darlington Raceway and then went on to win again at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend.

Keselowski has also won two races this season, both coming in the last five races. He won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and again at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Among the 2020 race winners this season, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. are three that haven’t won multiple times yet.

As the Cup Series make their way to South Florida for the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, June 14 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), will we add another multi-race winner to the list or will one of the drivers who have already won two win another one?

Bowman has gotten consistently stronger at Homestead through his five career starts. Last season, he got his career-best finish at the track in ninth.

Elliott, Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, has strong numbers at the 1.5-mile track. He has one top five (2017) and two top-10 finishes (2017, 2018) at the track. Last season, he finished 15th.

Truex, who is coming off of a lot of momentum from his win on Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway, has the most experience of the drivers trying to add his name to multi-race winners in 2020.

Truex has 15 starts at Homestead with one win coming in 2017, the year he won the Cup Series championship, along with six top fives, 10 top 10s and an average finish of 10.2. He has led 312 laps at the track.

As far as drivers that have already won multiple races this year, here is what their stats look like at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hamlin will be making his 16th start this weekend in Miami. He has two wins at the track (2009 and 2013) and started on the first in the last three races at the track. He has four top fives, 10 top 10s and has led 256 laps.

Logano has 11 starts at the track with one win coming in 2018, the year he won the championship. He also has four top fives, six top 10s and has led 158 laps. Logano has finished in the top 10 in the last five races.

Harvick will be making his 20th start at the track this weekend. He has one win, coming in 2014, with 11 top fives, 17 top 10s and 414 laps led.

Lastly, Keselowski will head to Miami for his 13th start. He has three top fives, five top 10s and an average start of 9.9 at the track. He has not yet won at Homestead-Miami.

Kings of the 1.5-mile tracks over last three Cup seasons (2018-2020)

Race Winners 1.5-mile Wins
Kevin Harvick* 6
Brad Keselowski 4
Kyle Busch* 4
Joey Logano* 3
Martin Truex Jr* 3
Chase Elliott 2
Denny Hamlin* 2
Alex Bowman 1
Kurt Busch* 1
* – Denotes the driver has won previously in the NASCAR Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Since 2018, the NASCAR Cup Series has competed on 1.5-mile tracks 26-times producing nine different winners, led by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick with six victories; including last weekend’s win at Atlanta.

During the same time frame (2018-present), Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have combined to win nine of the 26 races (34.6%) – Kyle Busch (four wins), Martin Truex Jr. (three) and Denny Hamlin (two).

Team Penske teammates, Brad Keselowski (four wins) and Joey Logano (three) have combined for the second most victories on 1.5-mile tracks since 2018 with seven victories – most recent was Keselowski’s win in the 2020 Coca-Cola 600.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Xfinity Series gears up for Homestead-Miami Speedway

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the Sunshine State for a double-header at Homestead-Miami Speedway after an action-packed race at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend.

Noah Gragson collected his second win of the season in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet last weekend at Atlanta. Gragson also won the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway to kick things off for the series.

His win at Atlanta also earned him the first installment of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program. Gragson won $100,000 and is eligible to win it again this weekend along with three other fulltime drivers in the series that qualified.

The double-header will begin on Saturday afternoon for the Hooters 250 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and the series will return to the track on Sunday for the Contender Boats 250 (12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Sunday’s race will be the Dash 4 Cash race.

Homestead-Miami Speedway has been the season finale for all three NASCAR national series since 2002, but it was announced last season, the track was scheduled to race in March 2020. But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original date was postponed until this weekend.

Homestead-Miami Speedway has hosted 25 NASCAR Xfinity Series races dating back to the inaugural event in 1995 (won by Dale Jarrett). The 28 Xfinity races have produced 20 different pole winners and 18 different race winners. Kyle Busch, Jeff Green, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Tyler Reddick are all tied with two poles at the track. Joe Nemechek leads the series in wins (three), Kyle Busch and Mark Martin have the most top fives (seven) and Matt Kenseth has the most top 10s (10) at the 1.5-mile track. Joe Gibbs Racing has the most wins of any team at Homestead-Miami Speedway with four.

Homestead-Miami Speedway has a 1,760-foot frontstretch and backstretch with four degrees of banking on straights and 18-20 degrees of variable banking in the corners.

Both Xfinity Series races at Homestead this weekend with be 250.5 miles and 167 laps total. The first stage will end on Lap 40, the second stage will end on Lap 80 and the race will conclude on Lap 167.

Stay updated on Dash 4 Cash
The Dash 4 Cash program is back for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and this time the schedule is a little different compared to past years due to a revised 2020 schedule as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dash 4 Cash kicked off last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Noah Gragson, Chase Briscoe, Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton were the four qualifiers. Gragson, who finished runner-up to AJ Allmendinger, ultimately won the Dash 4 Cash bonus.

As the Xfinity Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend for a double-header, the second installment of Dash 4 Cash will be for Sunday’s race, the Contender Boats 250 (12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Since Gragson won the prize and finished runner-up, he earned a spot in this weekend’s competition along with AJ Allmendinger, Justin Haley and Daniel Hemric. So, it will be two drivers from Kaulig Racing and two drivers from JR Motorsports competing for the big prize.

The first of the four competitors to finish at Homestead-Miami will win the $100,000 bonus. The Homestead bonus winner and the top three highest finishing drivers (who have declared points in the series) will qualify for the next Dash 4 Cash event at Talladega Superspeedway.

In addition, Xfinity is planning to make donations in each Dash 4 Cash race market to continue showing their companywide commitment of connecting families, veterans and seniors to necessary digital tools during this difficult time.

Dash 4 Cash Qualifiers for Homestead:

  • Noah Gragson (No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet)- Gragson has one Xfinity Series start at Homestead, a fourth-place finish last season. Gragson has three Gander Trucks starts at Homestead with a best finish of third in 2018.
  • AJ Allmendinger (No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet)- Allmendinger has one Xfinity Series start at Homestead, a 21st-place finish in 2007 for Chip Ganassi Racing. He has 10 Cup Series starts at Homestead, with a best finish of fifth in 2010.
  • Justin Haley (No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet)- Haley has one Xfinity Series start at Homestead, finishing 33rd last season after starting eighth and was unable to finish the race. Haley has two starts at the track in the Gander Trucks, finished ninth in 2017 and eighth in 2018.
  • Daniel Hemric (No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) - Hemric has two Xfinity Series starts at Homestead, finishing fourth in 2018. He has one Cup Series start at the track in 2019 and finished 12th. Hemric has three Gander Trucks starts at Homestead, with a best finish of fifth in 2016.

Chevrolets at Homestead
As the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for a double-header and a Dash 4 Cash bonus race, it looks like the strongest manufacturer at the track is Chevrolet.

Interestingly enough, all four of the Dash 4 Cash participants drive a Chevrolet, too. Currently, Chevrolet holds the track record for the most Xfinity Series wins by a manufacturer with 11.

A Chevrolet has won the last two races at the track, for the season finale. Tyler Reddick won both of those but for two different teams. In 2018, he won for JR Motorsports and in 2019, he won for Richard Childress Racing.

Reddick also holds the race record in a Chevrolet at 140.515 mph in November 2018.

If a Chevrolet is to win either race this weekend at Homestead, it will mark the manufacturers’ third win of the season, tying them with Toyota for the most thus far.

Dale Jr. is back again!
The wait to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. back behind the wheel of a car is almost over. After the postponement of the originally scheduled race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Earnhardt will pilot the No. 8 JR Motorsports Hellmann’s Chevrolet in Saturday’s Hooters 250 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Since retiring from full-time racing as a NASCAR Cup Series driver, Earnhardt has participated in one Xfinity Series race each year with his JR Motorsports team. He finished fourth at Richmond Raceway in 2018 and fifth at Darlington Raceway last season. This year, he’s taking on the 1.5-mile South Florida track.

He has five previous starts at the track with one top five and three top 10s and an average start of 12.0. He has a series best finish of second in 1999. Earnhardt has 17 starts to his name in the Cup Series at Homestead with one top five, two tops 10s and 121 laps led.

Since his retirement in 2017 and participation in one Xfinity race each season, he’s finished inside the top-five in all of them.

Briscoe looks for third 2020 victory
With two victories to his name already and a runner-up result, Chase Briscoe is the top of the Xfinity Series class and heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend could help him get his third victory.

Briscoe is the highest returning finisher from last season’s championship race at the 1.5-mile track and claimed the final spot on the podium.

Briscoe won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and again in the return to racing at Darlington Raceway. He had an extremely strong showing at Atlanta last weekend, too, before a pit road speeding penalty ruined his day.

Homestead’s features are similar to Atlanta’s, which Briscoe tends to favor. Briscoe is ranked fourth for average running position with an average finish of 8.0. He also has the sixth-best driver rating at the track.

Briscoe has two Xfinity Series starts at Homestead and finished 13th in 2018 and third last season.

"I’m excited to race there in the heat of day. I always love when it’s hot and slick. It used to be we’d start the race in the afternoon, around the same time actually, but it was a different time of year, so it wasn’t as hot and we’d end the race at night. I’ve always said this style of track and racing suits my style best, and Homestead is my favorite racetrack. It’s a special place to me since that’s where I got my first NASCAR win. Hopefully, we can add two more wins with Ford Performance Racing School this weekend," Briscoe said.

Early glance at Xfinity’s Driver Playoff Outlook

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Points Points From Cutoff
1 Chase Briscoe 340 2 1 11 In On Wins
2 Noah Gragson 336 2 3 13
3 Harrison Burton # 308 1 0 5
4 Brandon Jones 258 1 2 7
5 Justin Allgaier 297 0 4 4 133
6 Ross Chastain 295 0 0 1 131
7 Austin Cindric 285 0 2 2 121
8 Justin Haley 267 0 0 0 103
9 Ryan Sieg 217 0 0 0 53
10 Riley Herbst # 201 0 0 0 37
11 Brandon Brown 199 0 0 0 35
12 Michael Annett 198 0 0 0 34
13 Josh Williams 164 0 0 0 -34
14 Myatt Snider 152 0 0 0 -46
15 Alex Labbe 142 0 0 0 -56

There are currently only four drivers locked into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with wins. Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones.

Burton, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, is the highest-ranked rookie and has continued to have an exceptional season braking multiple records and has winning every weekly rookie award.

Briscoe and Gragson are both tied with two wins. Currently, there is one Ford, one Chevrolet and two Toyota’s locked into the Playoffs. Jones and Burton are both Joe Gibbs Racing drivers while Briscoe is the sole Stewart-Haas Racing driver and Gragson represents Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.

There are some new and unfamiliar faces in the current Playoff outlook, though. Riley Herbst is another Sunoco Rooke of the Year contender and is currently taking the 10th spot. Below him is Brandon Brown who runs the No. 68 for his own team, Brandonbilt Motorsports.

Brown has shown a lot of improvement this season, finishing in the top-10 three times, the most of any season prior. He finished seventh in the season-opening race at Daytona and finished eighth and seventh at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, respectively.

Josh Williams is tied with Michael Annett, who takes that final 12th spot in the Playoff picture with Myatt Snider and Alex Labbe following him in 14th and 15th.

Williams has had a career-best season with two top 10s in eight starts. He finished 10th at Auto Club Speedway and ninth at Bristol Motor Speedway. Prior to this season, Williams had only one top 10 in his five-year career.

Myatt Snider expands Xfinity Series schedule
Myatt Snider, driver of the No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and No. 93 RSS Racing Chevrolet, is adding additional races to complete his 2020 schedule with both team as a fulltime competitor. Snider’s sponsors for the remainder of the season include TaxSlayer, Louisiana Hot Sauce and Superior Essex.

The expansion of the season will include competing in the No. 93 for RSS Racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway before heading back to the No. 21 at Pocono Raceway.

In total, Snider will compete with RSS in the No. 93 in all but three of the remaining events for the season.

"I’m so excited to go full time racing this year with great partners in TaxSlayer, Louisiana Hot Sauce and Superior Essex. We’re going to have great looking race cars all year," Snider said. "I think with the way we’ve been running; we will have a really good chance to make the Playoffs in 2020. I’m really looking forward to getting the rest of the season going during the next couple of races. We’re going to slay it."

Pit selection, starting lineup for Homestead
Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series pit selection order will be based on finishing position from the June 6 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, followed by new entries in order of points.

The starting lineup is determined by:

  • Positions 1 – 12: The first 12 NXS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up Eligibility will be assigned starting positions 1st – 12th using a random draw.
  • Positions 12 – 24: The next 12 NXS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 12th- 24th using a random draw.
  • Starting positions 25 – 36: The next 12 NXS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 25th -36th using a random draw.
  • Any vehicles that are eligible for the Event in position 37th – 40th will be assigned starting positions based on their order of eligibility.

Sunday’s pit selection order is based on finishing position from the June 13 race at Homestead, followed by new entries in order of points.

The starting lineup is determined by:

  • Positions 1-15: Invert the top 15 from the June 13 race at Homestead
  • Positions 16-40: In finishing order from the June 13 race at Homestead, followed by new entries

Xfinity Series teams will use the same car for both races. The teams will be three hours post-race on Saturday and one hour on Sunday to prep the car for inspection.

They can’t make any changes to these items or they will have to start at the rear:
Car, engine system and headers, transmission, rear gear, cooling and oiling system, brake calipers, hubs, rear end housing.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Grant Enfinger looks to keep momentum rolling in South Beach

After claiming the lead on a two-lap overtime restart, ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger was able to grab the checkered flag for the second time this season last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The win marked the first ever for a Ford truck at Atlanta and it was Enfinger’s first career victory at the 1.54-mile track. Driving the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford, which finished .215-second ahead of Austin Hill, led only seven laps – including the most important one – the final lap.

Enfinger’s win in the season-opener at Daytona and a win at Atlanta marks his first multi-win season of his career.

As the series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday night for the Baptist Health 200 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), expect Enfinger’s recent success to continue. In four starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway he has posted one top five (runner-up finish in 2018), three top 10s and an average finish of 10.0.

Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill returns to Miami to defend win

For Austin Hill last season ended with a big win at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and this weekend the Georgia native returns to South Beach to defend his win. The current points leader is 21 points up on second place Zane Smith heading into this weekend.

Hill will definitely be one to watch on Saturday as he has made four series starts at Homestead posting a win and an average finish of 14.8.

"Yeah, it’s always really fun to go back to a track that you’ve won at," said Hill. "It gives you a lot of confidence, going in. We were really good there last year. It’s going to be a little bit different this year with it being a little bit hotter and when we are racing. It’s probably going to be slicker. It’s going to be nice to have the Xfinity cars go out first to get some rubber down on the track. I’m excited. I’m excited to get going."

Hill’s early points lead is attributed to his solid performances this season finishing in the top-10 in all four starts in 2020.

Keep your eyes on these guys in Miami
There are four drivers in this Saturday night’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race to keep an eye on that already have Homestead-Miami Speedway trophies to their name.

Driver standings leader Austin Hill being one of them, along with Brett Moffitt who won in 2018 to claim the championship, Matt Crafton who won there in 2015 and Johnny Sauter who won in 2011.

Moffitt is sitting in fourth in the series driver standings, 31 points behind points leader Austin Hill. The driver of the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet has two starts at Miami and finished in the top five in both. This includes a fifth-place finish last year in addition to the 2018 victory. His average finish at Homestead is 3.0.

Crafton, driver of the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford and reigning series champion, is still trying to raise his title defense game. So far, his only top 10 this season through the first four races is a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas. He’s ranked 11th in the standings currently but has a solid resume at Miami. He has 19 starts at the South Florida track with 11 top 10s and not a single DNF.

Sauter, driver of the No. 13 ThorSport Racing Ford, comes to Miami abundantly motivated. After an inspection failure last weekend at Atlanta, Sauter dropped from a top-10 finish to last place. He has one win at Miami with nine top-10 finishes in 13 starts, including five of his last six starts.

Gander Truck Sunoco Rookies on the rise

With a class of seven drivers in the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year program it was inevitable that a few would rise to the top of the series’ talent pool. Three of the seven – Zane Smith, Christian Eckes and Derek Kraus – have broken into the top 10 in points and are currently Playoff eligible.

Leading the way amongst the 2020 rookies is GMS Racing’s Zane Smith, driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet, who sits second in the driver standings heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway – 21 points behind points leader Austin Hill. Smith will be making his Homestead-Miami Speedway series debut this weekend but heads to the track with a good bit of confidence after finishing in the top-10 in the last three races; including a season-best third-place showing at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NGROTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
Rookies Points Awards
Zane Smith 142 2
Christian Eckes 125 1
Derek Kraus 107 1
Tanner Gray 86 0
Raphael Lessard 84 0
Ty Majeski 82 0
Tate Fogleman 51 0
Spencer Davis 42 0

Sitting sixth in the Gander Trucks driver standings is Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Toyota – 38 points back from standings leader Austin Hill. Eckes has had a slow start to the season but has rebounded recently posting a pole and a third-place finish last weekend at Atlanta – his first top five of the season.

The third series rookie to crack the top 10 in points is McAnally-Hilgermann Racing’s Derek Kraus, who currently resides ninth in the series driver standings – 56 points back from series standings leader Austin Hill. Kraus has had an up and down season so far, posting a top five (fourth) in the season-opener at Daytona and then another top 10 (seventh) last week at Atlanta.

Of the three rookies, Eckes is the only one with previous experience at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He made his series track debut last season, starting second and finishing third. Both Smith and Kraus will be making their series track debuts this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Honoring Florida nursing home caregivers
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series drivers Korbin Forrister, Ross Chastain and Jennifer Jo Cobb are joining together to make a special visit to Sunrise Health and Rehabilitation Center to recognize and honor the frontline caregivers and show their appreciation for their efforts to keep residents safe.

The drivers will deliver "Thank You Hero" packets to staff and residents outside of the facility due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The visit is part of an ongoing campaign by Forrister, who went to Charlotte Motor Speedway a few weeks ago with signage to support America’s nursing home. The No. 7 All Out Motorsports Toyota was branded with #NursingHomeCareGivers on the side and a large "Thank

You" sign on the back. Forrister will continue the campaign in partnership with Florida Health Care Association and the American Health Care Association for Saturday’s Baptist Health 200 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Executive Director of Florida Health Care Association Emmett Reed said, "We are thrilled to partner with Korbin and to show our support to the dedicated nursing home caregivers who are working tirelessly across Florida and the nation to keep their residents safe from COVID-19. These caregivers are putting themselves at risk every day they come to work and are making heroic efforts to protect their residents. Too often they are overlooked, and we felt it important to spread the message of support for these selfless individuals; they truly are our nursing home heroes."

Homestead-Miami Speedway quick facts
There have been 24 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

There have been 19 different pole winners and 22 different race winners. Four races have been won from the pole. Chase Briscoe is the most recent, winning the race from the pole in 2017. Briscoe also holds the race record at 135.556 mph in the same year.

Last year’s margin of victory was the shortest in the last five races (1.569).

The 1.5-mile track in South Florida has a 1,760-foot frontstretch and backstretch with four degrees on banking on straights and 18-20 degrees of banking in corners.

Todd Bodine and Kyle Busch have the most wins at the track with two. David Reutimann, Joe Ruttman, Mike Skinner hold the record for the most poles with two, also.

Matt Crafton is tied with Ron Hornaday Jr. with the most top 10s at the track (11), and Jack Sprague has the record for most top fives (eight).

The most lead changes at the track is 17, three separate times but most recently in 2010. The fewest lead changes is five in 2002.

The most caution laps at the track was 52 in 1997 and the fewest was four in 2002.

Toyota has the most wins by a manufacturer at the track with 10.

The inaugural race Gander Trucks race at Homestead was in 1996, the Florida Dodge Dealers 400, where Dave Rezendes won in a Ford for Geoff Bodine.

Chase Purdy running limited schedule for GMS Racing

GMS Racing announced that Chase Purdy will join the team for five races in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2020. His debut will be at Pocono Raceway on June 27 in the No. 24 Bama Buggies Chevrolet.

He will also pilot the No. 24 at Kentucky Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

In 2018, Purdy competed full-time in the ARCA Menards Series for MDM Motorsports alongside his GMS Racing teammates Sheldon Creed and Zane Smith. Purdy gathered 10 top fives and 14 top 10s and finished in fourth place in the championship standings. 2018 was also the year he made his Gander Trucks debut competing at Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway with GMS Racing crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz.

Gander Trucks Driver Playoff Outlook

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Points Points From Cutoff
1 Grant Enfinger 132 2 1 11 In On Wins
2 Austin Hill 163 0 0 0 65
3 Zane Smith # 142 0 0 0 44
4 Brett Moffitt 132 0 0 0 34
5 Ben Rhodes 128 0 0 0 30
6 Christian Eckes 125 0 0 0 27
7 Sheldon Creed 117 0 0 0 19
8 Johnny Sauter 108 0 0 0 10
9 Derek Kraus # 107 0 0 0 9
10 Todd Gilliland 106 0 0 0 8
11 Matt Crafton 98 0 0 0 -8
12 Tyler Ankrum 98 0 0 0 -8
13 Stewart Friesen 87 0 0 0 -19

Grant Enfinger is the only driver in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series that is locked into the 2020 Playoffs on wins so far. The series is only four races in though, so there’s plenty of time to switch up the standings come the postseason.

Catching most people’s eye when looking at the Playoff outlook are the three rookies in the Playoff picture right now – Zane Smith, Christian Eckes, and Derek Kraus. Smith has led the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings for the entire season so far.

Only one former series champion is currently eligible for the Playoffs by points, Johnny Sauter, who sits eighth in points; 55 back from the standings lead.

Three-time series champion, Matt Crafton is currently on the Playoff bubble, this first spot outside the postseason cutoff (in 11th). Since the inception of the Playoffs in the Gander Trucks in 2016, Crafton has not missed the postseason. He is currently eight points behind 10th place Todd Gilliland heading into Homestead-Miami.

— NASCAR Wire Service —