Photo courtesy of Todd Warshaw
By virtue of a random draw, Denny Hamlin and his No. 11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Toyota will start on the pole to begin the 267-lap Sunday race around Homestead-Miami Speedway. If Hamlin ends the Dixie Vodka 400 in the same position he starts it, it’ll be the second consecutive race in which a Joe Gibbs Toyota finds Victory Lane.
It would also mark three Toyota victories in four races at Homestead dating back to November 2017. It will however, be the first time that a Toyota has won at Homestead on an even numbered year. Toyota’s have won at Homestead in 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013 and 2009.
There’s only been two race winners who’ve started on the pole with the most recent being Kurt Busch in 2002; Busch will start in the 10th position on Sunday for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Also in Sunday’s field is Brad Keselowski, who holds the track record for qualifying, clocking in at 181.238 miles per hour back in 2014. That lap is also the overall lap record for Homestead-Miami Speedway, with a time of 29.816 seconds. Keselowski will start Sunday’s race in third.
The Dixie Vodka 400 first made its debut on the Cup Series circuit in 1999, and was the final race in the NASCAR Cup Series from 2002 until 2019. It was the final race in the Cup Series playoffs from 2004 until 2019. It’s ran in three stages with the first two being 80 laps long and the final stage being 107 laps in length. Busch is the Dixie Vodka 400 defending champion and will begin Sunday’s race in the fourth position.
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Looking to win consecutive races will be Martin Truex Jr. Truex won the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Wednesday in Martinsville and will begin sixth on Sunday.
The Dixie Vodka 400 has gone by four previous names: Pennzoil 400 (1999 and 2000), Pennzoil Freedom 400 (2001), Ford 400 (2002-11), and Ford EcoBoost 400 (2012-19).
Joe Gibbs Racing is tied for most team wins with Roush Fenway Racing at seven.
Average race time is 3:12:58 (15-year average). The longest running was in 2004 with a time of 3:50:55. And the shortest being the 2012 running, coming in at 2:48:56.
Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400’s coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET. It will air on FOX.