It’s time for yet another victory lap. The NASCAR Best Bets article scored another win last week — Joey Logano +1500. Soak it in and move on, we’re not done yet. As always, trust the spreadsheet but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead, which gets underway Sunday, October 23 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Homestead is a unique monster. Drivers rim ride and hug the wall all the way around the track. The closer a driver snugs up to the wall, the faster they go. If they get too close, it’s game over. That’s during normal seasons. How is this going to play out in the rickety Next Gen jalopy?
Track history means more than current form and current form at intermediate tracks. However, track history means less than current trends. That trend being the Next Gen car’s tendency to crap the bed. Sorry to put it so crudely, but we are 30 races in, and there is simply no other way to describe the 2022 race car and it’s abject failures.
The rule has been to chase the longer odds in 2022. That is definitely not changing at Homestead-Miami.
Race Winner Favorites — Dixie Vodka 400
Tyler Reddick +700
For those that remember the 2019 Xfinity Series Championship, the broadcasters were perplexed. They openly questioned why Reddick was still riding the wall at Homestead late in the race with a sizable lead. The answer was simple. Reddick does not know how to not run the wall. As we have seen this season, he does not know how to run at any speed lower than 100%. This has led to many DNFs but could lead to a dominant win at Homestead this Sunday.
Kyle Larson +1000
Last season, Larson failed to live up to his Homestead reputation by only finishing fourth. He was unstoppable in 2021 and had great equipment, it should have been his race to win. However, in the low-horsepower, high-downforce car, Homestead just wasn’t the same. The Next Gen car leaves a lot to be desired in terms of power, but Homestead should once again become a challenging track that rewards and punishes aggressive drivers. Larson has only been punished at Homestead as far as the last lap goes. However, throughout the races, no one has been better at this unique race track.
Can Larson break through now that NASCAR is bringing a more racey package to Homestead? Darlington was always a rim-riding track where Larson was great but could not close in CGR equipment. In 2021 with Hendrick equipment, Larson finished second in both Darlington races — both races were in the high-horsepower, low-downforce racing package. Second doesn’t pay, but Larson checks all of the boxes. Last but not least, Larson is out of the playoffs. He will not ease up or play it safe. It’s checkers or wreckers. It’s checkers or wreckers for most of the field, but few of those can actually earn the checkered flag. Most of the cars that are capable of winning are willing to lay up and preserve the car for a solid points finish.
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Race Winner Long Shots — Dixie Vodka 400
Noah Gragson +3000
This is a long shot but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities Gragson has a car capable of winning races — the No. 48 Hendrick Chevy won at Las Vegas in the spring. More importantly, he has the skill to get it done. Similar to Reddick, he loves ripping the wall and will be glued to the boards from the green to the checkered. The kid has nothing to lose, and with double-duty, he’ll get plenty of reps this weekend.
Erik Jones +5000
The closest comparable 2022 race for Homestead is Darlington. Both tracks reward and punish drivers willing to get up on the wall. Erik Jones caught some breaks when he won the Southern 500, but he had a fast enough car to get in that position. It was also his second Southern 500 win. He clearly has the skill to handle cars that are a handful at treacherous tracks. Similar to Larson and Gragson, Jones is not a playoff driver. He’s racing for wins. Late in the race, some of the fast cars may have to concede the win and settle for top-5 points.
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