Another NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway means another pole for Denny Hamlin. Hamlin’s pole start for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at the track, the third race of the 2021 season, is his fifth-consecutive pole at Homestead. The three-time Homestead race winner also is the defending winner of the Dixie Vodka 400.
“We feel good in our efforts through the first two races of the season,” Hamlin said. “Obviously, we wish we could have come out with a victory at either of the Daytona races, but we still had good performances. We’re confident in how we’ll run this weekend and, hopefully, have a repeat of last year.”
Joey Logano will start on the front row alongside Hamlin.
As is the case with most of the races in 2021, there was no qualifying. Instead, the starting grid was set by a formula that includes car-owner points, in addition to the previous race finishing order and fastest laps for each driver. That formula put one of Hamlin’s teammates, Christopher Bell in the third starting spot at Homestead after his first-career NASCAR Cup Series win Feb. 21 at the Daytona International Speedway road course.
“Homestead is definitely a place risk/reward is a huge conversation to talk about at Homestead,” Bell said. “We know there is a ton of speed if you get up right next to the fence. The Cup cars are very, very sensitive and prone to damage. If you get against the fence, it’s really easy to cut a tire. That’s going to be something that is definitely going to be talked about amongst all of the teams, and it’s going to be fun to see who plays with the razor’s edge. I think we are a team that definitely could play with it more than others, since we’ve already won and locked in [the playoffs], but for me, it’s going to be about seeing the checkered flag. I want to make sure that I get to the end. If it’s the closing laps, and I’ve got a shot to win and I’m pushing hard, I think I’m going to get up there and try to make it happen, but I definitely want to finish.”
Bell will share row two on Sunday’s grid with Kevin Harvick. Kurt Busch and Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell will start in the third row in the fifth and sixth positions, respectively.
Other starters in the first five rows include Brad Keselowski in the seventh position, Ryan Preece in eighth, Martin Truex Jr. ninth and Cole Custer in 10th.
DIXIE VODKA 400 STARTING GRID