In essence, the entire month of February for NASCAR has called Florida it’s home. Three races, three different race tracks, two completely different facilities. It started with a late night on the big super speedway, then a change in setup and race packages meant lefts and rights in the same building.
Now, a track that at one time was the final event of the season, crowning a champion, gets an early-season delight. A year ago, this track would not see any racing until June when the pandemic first meant no fans for pre-race, then meant no race at all on the scheduled date.
Ever since 1999, this track certainly has seen a lot of changes, not just in race dates, but the track.
For the first four years, this place was, for lack of a better term, unexciting. The flat track was perfect for open-wheel racing, but for a stock car it was not the most pleasant attraction. When the Homestead-Miami Speedway went under the knife, and went to the layout we know today, it changed everything.
This track became exciting, different, and consistently would provide excellent action.
The progressive banking meant side-by-side action from top to bottom, which at a facility this size was a perfect. High line meant wide open most of the corner, but down low meant strong handling.
Even before the pandemic, the one thing this track had an advantage on over any track was the grandstand layout. I was a major fan of how the track had the bottom of the grandstands elevated to where you still could see the entire frontstretch all the way from turn three through turn one. That visual aspect makes a big difference. That said, there’s not going to be as many fans in the seats, but they certainly will have an amazing view.
This is the final race in Florida until we officially set the Playoff field.
So it’s time to dust off the Dixie Vodka 400, and potentially see a third consecutive first-time winner. Let’s get that green flag in the air.