The Cup Series teams have wrapped up two days of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for an October race weekend. Two Ford drivers in Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski topped the charts with the fastest laps on September 21.
Logano had two solid days of testing ahead of the pivotal Round of Eight playoff race. He turned in the second-fastest lap on Tuesday before topping the charts one day later with the best speed of 167.126 mph. RFK Racing’s driver-owner was second-fastest on September 21 at 167.033 mph.
While Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson was the third-fastest on Wednesday at 166.641 mph, another Ford Performance driver came in at fourth overall. Logano’s teammate Ryan Blaney posted a lap at 166.569 mph. Denny Hamlin was the first Toyota driver on the board with a lap at 166.441 mph.
A Rookie of the Year Had a Strong Session
Logano was the fastest during the September 21 session, but another of his teammates topped the charts on the first day. Austin Cindric, who clinched Rookie of the Year in 2022, posted the best lap at 165.548 mph over 116 laps.
“I’ve done a lot of Homestead tests driving Xfinity cars and I’ve been P1 plenty of times and I can’t say that it’s certainly translated into race weekends or at least for the whole stint, but obviously to have some speed, be able to work on stuff — that’s the big thing,” Cindric told Ford Performance after the session.
“Homestead is such a unique racetrack. I wish we would have gotten that chance for probably a few other playoff tracks as far as open tests, but everyone has had the same opportunity and we’ll have the same opportunity to go back and look at the data, but I think it’s also valuable to do it on a tire that’s consistent between a lot of intermediates now, so I think from that standpoint it’s great.”
Cindric and Team Penske secured some important information during the two-day session, but they won’t be able to bring the exact same setup for the playoff race. Temperatures were in the 90s during the September 21-22 tests, but they will be lower when the Cup Series heads to the track on October 23.
The Homestead-Miami Weekend Holds Greater Importance
The trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway takes place at a different point of the season than in 2021. Last year’s race was the third of the year, and it provided William Byron with the opportunity to punch his ticket to the playoffs.
The 2022 season, for comparison, put Homestead-Miami Speedway back where it belongs — in the playoffs. The Florida track hosts the second race in the Round of Eight, and it will give one of the championship-eligible drivers an opportunity to reach the championship four.
The drivers and teams did not want to show up for an important weekend with no experience at the track in the Next Gen car. Now they will have some data available that will help them prepare for one of the final opportunities to secure a spot in the most important race of the entire season.
“Oh, it’s everything. It’s everything right now,” Logano said on Instagram on September 22. He continued and explained that these sessions are invaluable given the limited practice and qualifying time during the actual race weekends.