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The three-race Florida Swing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series concludes with Saturday’s Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the first 1.5-mile intermediate track on the schedule this season. Located just north of the Florida Keys, Homestead has hosted the Xfinity Series from 1995 to date and was the traditional site of the season finale until last year, when the Championship 4 event moved to Phoenix Raceway.
Saturday’s race is scheduled for 167 laps (250.5 miles) with stage breaks after 40 and 80 laps. Harrison Burton and Chase Briscoe won last year’s Homestead races, which were run back-to-back on the same weekend after a 10-week hiatus because of the Covid-19 crisis.
|Contender Boats 250 Information|
|What||Contender Boats 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|When||Saturday, Feb. 27, 4:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
Harrison Burton drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, which fields some of the best equipment in the NASCAR Xfinity Series garage. Burton won the first leg of last year’s weekend doubleheader at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished eighth in the second race.
So why on earth is Burton listed at +1200 on the DraftKings Sportsbook’s Xfinity race page, behind four other drivers, three of whom have never won at the 1.5-mile track? Has no one noticed that Burton has finished third and sixth in the first two races of the 2021 season and currently is second in the series standings? It just doesn’t make sense.
“I love Homestead-Miami Speedway,” says Burton, who will start third in Saturday’s race. “It was a place that I struggled at when I first started, but now I love it. There’s a fine line there—you have to run right next to the wall to get around that place and that makes it really tricky sometimes.
I’ve recently gotten better at that, so we will continue to work on making consistent laps this week. We didn’t necessarily have the fastest car there last year, but we were able to get a win on a last-lap restart, and that’s a testament to my guys and all the hard work they put into this thing week-in and week-out.
And you’ll love Homestead, too—all the way to the bank after you take Harrison Burton at +1200.
If Harrison Burton’s +1200 betting line is a mystery, it’s no surprise that Tyler Reddick is the favorite to win on Saturday at +200. Now a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver at Richard Childress Racing, Reddick is making his first Xfinity Series start since he won 2019 season finale and wrapped up the series title—at Homestead.
Notorious for running the top line at the 1.5-mile track, Reddick did the same thing in 2018 to win the first of his consecutive series titles. He finished fourth in 2017 in his only other Homestead start. Running the wall means scraping the wall at some point, but the more durable composite bodies used in the Xfinity make the cars considerably more forgiving than their Cup Series counterparts.
Two factors weigh against Reddick and make him a risky bet at +200. He’s driving for RSS Racing as a teammate to Ryan Sieg. RSS is a good team but lacks the firepower of a Joe Gibbs Racing or JR Motorsports. In addition, Reddick faces the handicap of starting 38th in a field of 40. The last 14 Xfinity winners at Homestead have come from top-10 starting positions, and no driver has ever won at the track from a starting position deeper than 30th.
Ready for another brain teaser? Santino Ferrucci is listed at +3000 for his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut. Brandon Brown, on the other hand, is posted at +5000 in Saturday’s Contender Boats 250. Brown qualified for last year’s Playoff and finished 11th in the final standings.
Ferrucci has a surfeit of personality. He was the rookie of the year in the Indianapolis 500 in 2019 after a seventh-place finish. Last year, he ran fourth in IndyCar’s marquee race. But Ferrucci has no competitive experience whatsoever in a full-bodied stock car. He will turn his first laps on race day.
Homestead will be the first of five straight races for Ferrucci in the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota Supra, but don’t waste your money on a bet at +3000. The animated 22-year-old is a welcome addition to the series, but he’s light years away from a win.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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