What, Why and Where to Find Racing on TV for February 27-28

It’s Week 3 of the NASCAR Cup Series season and there’s a chance we’ll see something that hasn’t been seen in 70 years.

Should another first-time NASCAR winner cross the stripe in the lead at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it would mark the first time since NASCAR’s inaugural 1949 season that a Cup Series season has started with three consecutive first-time winners.

For those keeping score at home, this year’s first-time winners were Michael McDowell (Daytona 500) and Christopher Bell (Daytona Road Course).

This week’s main event is the Dixie Vodka 400, and it will be at a track that has never had a Cup Series first-time winner.

Here’s what to watch for this weekend on the flat screen:

NASCAR Cup

What: Dixie Vodka 400

Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Florida

Why it is a Must-See: NASCAR could have its third first-time winner in as many weeks. So, the $64,000 question is, who might that be. How about Ryan Preece? The JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet driver is one of 16 yet-to-win Cup Series drivers in the field. Preece has been competitive so far in 2021, finishing sixth at the Daytona 500 and ninth last week on the Daytona Road Course. And, since we know you were wondering, the 1949 season actually saw first-time winners in the first FIVE races (OK, so it was the first season). Those winners were Jim Roper, Red Byron, Bob Flock, Curtis Turner and Jack White. For Roper and White, it was their only career wins in NASCAR Cup.

What to Watch:

• Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott finished 1-2 at Homestead in 2020, and both had top-five finishes at the Daytona 500 two weeks ago. They should be in the mix this weekend.

• Christopher Bell is looking to make a little history of his own this weekend. Last week’s Cup Series winner is trying to become the first first-time winner to follow up that first with a second win the very next time out since Billy Wade in 1964.

• 23XI Racing, the team co-owned my NBA great Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin is off to a strong, if unspectacular start. The team’s driver, Bubba Wallace, has turned finishes of 17th in the Daytona 500 and 26th on the Daytona Road Course into a 13th-place standing in the Playoff points.

• It’s never too early to look at the standings, right? Through two races, Bell and McDowell are 1-2 in the Playoff standings based on their wins. The other drivers on the good side of the playoff cut line are Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Elliott, Preece, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Cole Custer, Kyle Larson, Wallace, Martin Truex Jr., Corey LaJoie and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

• The first driver on the outside of the current playoff cut line is Kyle Busch in 17th. So, let’s keep an eye on him this week.

Where to Find the Action:

SUNDAY, FEB. 28

NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400, Homestead, Florida; 3:30 p.m., FOX (L)

NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400, Homestead, Florida; 3:30 p.m., FS1 (S)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

What: Contender Boats 250

Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Florida

Why it is a Must-See: This track lends itself to a lot good racing, or at least great finishes. Last season, this race had 18 lead changes and Burton’s victory margin over second-place finisher Austin Cindric was .179 second. Chase Briscoe won the second race of 2020 at Homestead by an even closer margin, 0.072 sec., in double overtime over Brandon Jones (see video below).

What to Watch:

• Defending Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric and Joe Gibbs’ grandson Ty Gibbs were the first weeks’ winners on the Xfinity side. While Cindric is the early favorite in the series, Gibbs, 18, is not running for the championship and is not in the field this week. Gibbs’ next scheduled Xfinity Series race is not until March 13 at Phoenix. So don’t look for him to hard this weekend at Homestead.

• There’s plenty of star power just behind Cindric in the Xfinity Series season standings, as four-time series winner Harrison Burton is second and former RCR Cup Series driver Daniel Hemric is third. Burton won last year at Homestead.

• Santino Ferrucci, who finished seventh and was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 2019, is making his NASCAR Xfinity debut this week. The 22-year-old Ferrucci will be in the No. 26 Toyota Supra for the first of what is slated to be five Xfinity Series races in 2021.

Where to Find the Action:

SATURDAY, FEB. 27

NASCAR Xfinity Series Contender Boats 250, Homestead, Florida; 4:30 p.m., FS1 (L)

NASCAR Xfinity Series Contender Boats 250, Homestead, Florida; 10 p.m., FS2 (S)

 

(L) – Live; (S) Same Day Tape Delayed; (T) Taped

Source:  BY MIKE PRYSON Auto Week

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