NASCAR is in Miami for the Dixie Vodka 400 and the Eckel 4 pick from a wide open field – Hamlin? Harvick?
Dixie Vodka 400, Homestead, Miami, Fla, 3:30 TV: Fox
This is what has happened through the first two weeks of the NASCAR season:
Two drivers who had never won a race before — Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell — won races.
Only one driver — Denny Hamlin — has been in the top five in both races.
And only four drivers — Hamlin, McDowell, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Preese — have been in the top 10 in both races.
Sunday the circuit heads to Miami for the Dixie Vodka 400 and the Eckel 4 is all over the place with its picks for the race.
Hamlin, the only three-time winner of the race which began in 1999, is the favorite at 9-2 and is also on the pole which is a distinct advantage on a 1.5-mile track.
Two of the “4’’ think Hamlin returns the circuit to a bit of normalcy this week.
If you think the long shots continue in the third week of the season take a look at Aric Almirola at 40-1 or Tyler Reddick, at 25-1.
Reddick, in his first race ever here a year ago, finished fourth and Almirola finished fifth. So they know the course.
To put it bluntly this is a tough race to figure and our picks reflect that as nine different drivers got mentioned by the panel of four.
Denny Hamlin (9-2): It’s hard to not pick Hamlin, unless you’re looking for a price. And both Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis, put him on top. Hamlin not only has three wins in this race; he’s finished in the top 10 eight times.
Kevin Harvick (7-1): I wasn’t going to let Harvick get away at 7-1. You just don’t get him at odds this good very often, so jump on board while you can. And if there’s anything Harvick knows how to do, it’s beat Hamlin.
Brad Keselowski (10-1): This was Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney’s top pick. And the odds aren’t bad. Keselowski has a top five finish in 2018 here and finished fifth a week ago in Daytona.
Others to Watch: Martin Truex Jr. (7-1); Chase Elliott (6-1); Joey Logano (10-1), Kyle Larson (8-1).
Long Shot Plays: Tyler Reddick (25-1) and Aric Almirola (40-1).