Alex Bowman – Alex Bowman should have a strong showing at Homestead. The high-line comes into play and running that groove is a strength for Bowman. On Sunday I think he’s a low-double digits driver who has a good chance to finish in the top ten. At Homestead, Bowman’s most recent race was in 2016 when he drove the #88. In that event he finished 16th and earned the 15th best driver rating. I wouldn’t consider his two starts prior to that as relevant.
Austin Dillon – Austin Dillon has been a quality performer at Homestead. He’s run well here recently and he’s been fast in recent races at 1.5 mile tracks. In the Playoffs at tracks of this length he has a 10.7 average finish and a 14.7 average running position. I’ll note in all three of those races he finished in either 10th or 11th. At Homestead in recent races he’s proven to be a safe option. Over the last three races he has the 12th best driver rating, a 12.3 average finish and a 12.7 average running position. Last year in the season finale, Dillon had his best Homestead performance. He finished 11th, earned the 12th best driver rating and had a 13th place average running position. In 2016, Dillon earned the 9th best driver rating, had a 10th place average running position and finished 12th. In 2015 he was a solid mid-teens performer. In the race he finished 14th, earned the 14th best driver rating and had a 15th place average running position. On Sunday I would look for Dillon to be a low-double digits to mid-teens driver.
Jimmie Johnson – Homestead will mark the end of the “Jimmie Johnson & Chad Knaus Era.” This duo has amassed 7 championships, 83 wins and will go into the history books as the greatest driver/crew chief pairing in the modern era. On Sunday I’m going to project Johnson as a low to mid-teens performer, with a result at the higher end of that range being more likely. At 1.5 mile tracks the Johnson/Knaus combo have won 28 races together, but it certainly hasn’t been a strong point this year. In 2018 at tracks of this length minus Atlanta #1 and Texas #2 he has 1 top ten, a 15.4 average finish and a 15.9 average running position. At Homestead, Johnson has been pretty consistent in recent races having finished in the top ten in 4 of the last 5 races. Last year he finished outside of that mark and finished 27th. In the race he started 22nd, was in 9th on lap 20, but then on lap 38 he said something was wrong with his car and he had a flat tire. Later on lap 67 his car was filled with smoke and he made an unexpected pit stop which dropped him two laps down into the low-thirties. In 2016 when Johnson was competing for the championship he had a clutch performance. He started in the back but raced his way up thru the field with relative ease. By lap 52 he was up to 5th. By no means could anyone say Johnson had the best car. The race kind of fell into his lap. Performance wise he was really about 6th place good. Additionally, he earned the 5th best driver rating, had an 8th place average running position and led 3 laps. In the three Homestead races prior to that he finished 9th.