Ford EcoBoost 400 Preview

For the three or four of you still reading this preview each week, alas, we’ve come to the end of the season. Thank you for checking these out, and I definitely hope they added some value to your fantasy performance this season. Enjoy the championship race at Homestead, and as always, best of luck. Is it February yet?

– Dan

HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Homestead is a 1.5 mile true oval with 18-20 degrees of progressive banking in the turns. This track has been hosting the final race of the season since 2002, and thus the championship race in the playoff era. Like some intermediates we’ve seen throughout the season, this track definitely has multiple racing grooves thanks to the progressive banking. Those like Kyle Larson who are willing to run the wall will make maximum use of the banking and drive a straighter line around the track to get huge momentum runs out of turns 2 and 4. Others running the bottom will trade a shorter distance for a sacrifice in corner speed. It will be very interesting to see which lines and pit strategies the 4 championship drivers choose to run on Sunday.

PIT STALL PICKS: THE DOWNFORCE, THE DRAFT, & THE DRAG

This section is less about prognostication, and more about highlighting drivers catching my eye at a given moment. We all play in different formats and have different strategies, but hopefully this adds some value to your results. Good luck!

THE DOWNFORCE (start ’em)

Kevin Harvick – At 11/4, Kevin is one of the two favorites to win this race, and rightly so. He has finished 53% of his career starts in the top-five at Homestead, including 4 straight. He leads all drivers with a 294.00 Pit Stall Rating. From a fantasy perspective, my only concern with the 4 playoff drivers is their lack of incentive to earn stage points, which do not matter for them (finish position decides the winner). Keep this in mind for how your league assigns points this weekend.

Kyle Busch – The other favorite at 11/4 is Kyle Busch. Kyle has finished 5 of his last 6 Homestead races in 7th or better, including a win back in 2015 and a runner-up to Martin Truex last season.

Kyle Larson – Kyle was going to be my personal pick for this race, but I’ve had to adopt a contrarian strategy to catch our league leader. This isn’t working too well, but I digress. Kyle loves this track, and it’s super fun watching him run the high line at Homestead. He’s finished 5th, 2nd, and 3rd in the last 3 races, and he’s a good bet to secure another top-5 this week. Vegas has him at 3/1 to win.

Martin Truex Jr. – Martin won this race last season, and is priced at 6/1 to win this weekend. I have him ranked lower than the aforementioned because 9th at Texas and 14th at Phoenix are underachieving by the 78’s standards. He’s certainly capable of dominating this weekend, but something feels off to me.

Joey Logano – In contrast, I think Joey Logano at 10/1 is a good price. If we look back to Texas, Fords swept the top-3 spots, and this team has had the most time to focus on this specific race. Joey’s Pit Stall Rating of 143.03 ranks 4th overall at Homestead.

THE DRAFT (dark horse)

Chase Elliott – Chase has only made 2 career starts at Homestead, finishing 11th in 2016 and 5th in 2017. Regardless, he’s running well to close out the season, and his Pit Stall Rating of 121.25 ranks 5th among drivers. Chase is my personal contrarian play this week.

THE DRAG (use caution)

Ryan Blaney – Ryan has really struggled here, finishing 17th, 26th, and 29th in his 3 respective starts. If you pay attention to this space, you may want to consider starting him now that I’ve called him out. Seriously, I think my drag picks have finished better than my top down force pick in at least 33% of the races this year. Whatever, these guys are good, and they figure things out eventually.

AVERAGE FINISH POSITION @ HOMESTEAD (last 5 track events)

4.0, #4 Kevin Harvick
7.2 #11 Denny Hamlin
7.6, #42 Kyle Larson
7.6, #22 Joey Logano
8.0, #9 Chase Elliott

AVERAGE LOOP RATING @ HOMESTEAD (last 5 track events)

117.6, #4 Kevin Harvick
110.9 #18 Kyle Busch
109.3, #42 Kyle Larson
108.7, #22 Joey Logano
107.3, #11 Denny Hamlin

2018 PTS MOMENTUM (last 5 overall races this season)

39.8, #4 Kevin Harvick
38.4, #22 Joey Logano
38.0, #18 Kyle Busch
36.4, #10 Aric Almirola
33.0, #78 Martin Truex Jr.

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