MIAMI, Fla. — This weekend’s Baptist Health Cancer Care 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will set the Championship 4 to compete for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title in Phoenix.
Heading into the race, only one playoff driver, Ty Majeski, has punched his ticket to the Phoenix finale — winning this playoff round opener at Bristol. Beyond him the standings are tight. Chandler Smith, Zane Smith and Ben Rhodes fill out the current top-four positions.
However, Christian Eckes and Stewart Friesen are only three points below defending series champion Rhodes in the standings, and Nemechek is only five points back. Grant Enfinger is 29 points below the cutline.
While none of the current full-time drivers has ever won at Homestead-Miami Speedway before, both Nemechek and Enfinger can boast a previous runner-up finish. Nemechek — then 18 years old — finished second in his first race at the track in 2015, and Enfinger won pole position and finished second in 2018.
Five of the last six races have been won by these playoff drivers with Chandler Smith winning the Pocono regular-season finale and then at Richmond two weeks later. Enfinger won the playoff opener in Indianapolis. Nemechek won the Kansas playoff race, and Majeski won the Bristol race that opened this round.
The series did not compete at Homestead-Miami last year, so this will be a fresh outing for many. Matt DiBenedetto, who won a photo finish at Talladega two weeks ago, will be making his Truck Series debut in South Florida. His best finish in seven NASCAR Cup Series starts there is 20th in 2014.
This weekend also marks Chandler Smith’s series debut on the 1.5-mile South Florida oval. Zane Smith has only one previous start — finishing 37th in 2020 after an early-race accident. Eckes will be starting only his third Homestead-Miami race, but he is 2-for-2 in top-10 finishes with a best showing of third in his 2019 debut at the track.
Nemechek has four starts, with that runner-up showing in 2015 his best work and another top 10 in 2018, but he hasn’t led a lap in his last three Truck races at Homestead. His last Truck start at Homestead-Miami was in 2018.
Rhodes, Friesen and Enfinger each have five previous Homestead starts. Enfinger’s three top-10 finishes – including that runner-up showing – is best among those. Friesen’s best finish is fourth place in 2018, although he has never led a lap at the track. Rhodes’ best finish is 10th in 2018.
Worth noting, Hailie Deegan arrives in Homestead fresh off her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut — 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And the driver of the No. 1 David Gilliland Racing Ford earned a career best Truck Series finish — sixth place — in the most recent race at Talladega.
Practice begins at 4 p.m. ET on Friday followed by Cometic Gasket Pole Qualifying at 4:30 p.m. ET.