CONCORD, N.C. – The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs continue with the second of three races in the Round of 8 on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The penultimate round of the playoffs will decide which four drivers will compete for a championship.
With two races left before the season finale at Phoenix Raceway, Chase Elliott and William Byron remain in the playoffs. Despite a 21st-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Elliott enters Homestead-Miami with a 17-point advantage to the cutline. Byron sits as the first car out of a spot in the Championship 4, six markers below the cutline.
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Homestead-Miami opened in 1995 and originally mirrored the rectangular design of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After hosting two NASCAR Xfinity Series races in 1995 and 1996 as well as one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, the circuit was reconfigured to an oval design with low banked corners. Cup Series action at the South Florida facility began in 1999 but after four races, the track was reconfigured again in 2002. This time, the corners were changed to progressive banking (18-20 degrees). The 1.5-mile circuit has maintained this configuration since then and played host to the season finale from 2002 until 2019.
Last season, the Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami served as the third race of the campaign. After 400 miles, it was William Byron who took home the checkered flag, the first win at the Cup Series level with crew chief Rudy Fugle. The performance saw the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro win stage two and pace the field for 102 circuits on his way to victory lane.
Kyle Larson also ended the event in the top five, leading five laps during the race. The result was the first of what would be 20 top-five finishes during the season for the driver of the No. 5 during his championship season.
Alex Bowman also ran well in 2021’s visit to Miami, bringing home the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet Camaro in the ninth position. After leading four laps, Elliott fell outside the top-10, ending the day in the 14th position.
Bowman will not race this weekend as he recovers from a concussion suffered following an accident in the Sept. 25 event at Texas Motor Speedway. Noah Gragson continues to fill in for Bowman and will drive the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend.
Elliott has two top-five finishes and three top-10s in six starts at Homestead-Miami. Larson has top-five finishes in half of his eight starts at the venue. In four NASCAR Xfinity Series races, Gragson has three top-five finishes.
As an organization, Hendrick Motorsports has tasted victory three times at Homestead-Miami with Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Byron each accounting for a single win at the facility.
Here is what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.
WHAT TIME IS PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING?
Group practice will begin at 10:05 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 22, and will be broadcast on the NBC Sports App. Group qualifying will follow practice and begin at 10:50 a.m. ET and can also be found on the NBC Sports App.
Elliott and Gragson will be in Group A, while Larson and Byron are part of Group B.
WHAT TIME IS THE RACE?
The 400-mile Cup Series main event is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 23, and will be broadcast on NBC.
CAN I LISTEN ON THE RADIO?
The race will be on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
CAN I STREAM ONLINE?
FIVE FAST FACTS HEADING INTO HOMESTEAD
Data provided by Racing Insights
2: Byron’s pit crew ranks second in average four-tire pit stops since the start of the playoffs.
3: Gragson has finished inside the top-two positions during the last three Xfinity Series races at 1.5-mile tracks, collecting two victories along the way.
9.0: Average finish from Elliott at Homestead-Miami. The mark is the second-best average finish among drivers to make at least two starts there.
20: At least one Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished inside the top-10 during the last 20 races held at the Miami facility. The streak is the longest by any team in the track’s history.
330: Laps led by Larson at Homestead-Miami since 2013, the most of any driver in the Cup Series during that span of time.