Analyzing the best Group 1 play for Miami

NASCAR Finish Line, a free-to-play gaming app from Penn National Gaming, is back with the resumption of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. Each week, there will be six groups of five drivers for the upcoming race. Users will predict which driver will finish first among each of the six groups and then the overall race winner and second-place finisher for a chance to win $25,000 if all eight scenarios are correctly selected.

RELATED: Download NASCAR Finish Line

The first of six groups for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX/FOX Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) consists of four past champions and winners at the 1.5-mile track as well as the 2020 championship co-favorites based on the latest odds from Penn Gaming. The group is made up of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott.

For a stats look, has compiled the drivers’ career average finish at Miami, their average finish of the last two races at Miami, their average finish in 2020 races at Auto Club Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway and then their average finish of tracks in the 1.5-mile range in 2020 — Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Atlanta. Miami is the second roughest surface on the circuit, where as Atlanta is the roughest and Auto Club is the third roughest, so those two are solid basis of comparison based on the track surface.

PHOTOS: Tracks ranked from smoothest to roughest

A points system has been assigned, starting with one point for the best finisher and counting up to six points for the worst finisher. Those numbers were then added up. The lowest total signifies the strongest driver (green), and the highest total represents the weakest driver (red) — in recent years.

Driver Career Miami
avg. finish
Last 2 Miami races Two 2020 races on rougher surfaces Four 2020 races on 1.5-mile range tracks
Kyle Busch Avg. finish: 16.3 (5) Avg. finish: 2.5 (2) Avg. finish: 2.0 (1) Avg. finish: 12.5 (5) 13
Chase Elliott Avg. finish: 9.5 (2) Avg. finish: 11.0 (5) Avg. finish: 6.0 (3) Avg. finish: 9.3 (3) 13
Kevin Harvick Avg. finish: 6.4 (1) Avg. finish: 3.5 (4) Avg. finish: 5.0 (2) Avg. finish: 6.0 (1) 8
Joey Logano Avg. finish: 12.7 (4) Avg. finish: 3.0 (3) Avg. finish: 11.0 (5) Avg. finish: 7.5 (2) 14
Martin Truex Jr. Avg. finish: 10.2 (3) Avg. finish: 2.0 (1) Avg. finish: 8.5 (4) Avg. finish: 9.5 (4) 12

Harvick looks to be the overwhelming choice based on the stats for Group 1 at Miami and is coming off a win at a track with a rough surface at Atlanta. Even his average finish in the last two races at the 1.5-mile track in Florida — 3.5 — while fourth best in this group — is still ridiculously low and would likely top the category with almost any other set of drivers to compare against. If you go by strictly Miami results, Truex is a solid alternative to choose, as he had the best combined marks in the Miami-based categories. If you go by just 2020 stats on rougher surfaced tracks and 1.5-mile range tracks, Elliott is the alternative to Harvick to consider.

Make sure to get your picks for all the groups as well as the first- and second-place finishers in the NASCAR Finish Line App before Sunday’s race at Miami.

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