Hamlin has started on pole position in six of the last seven races here, including the last five consecutive. That changes tomorrow when he lines up in 14th position. No matter where he starts, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver will certainly be tough to beat.

Miami is one of the hottest cities in the country, and with Formula One holding a street race earlier this year, NASCAR is ready to take back the spotlight. It has been more than 600 days since the last Cup race, which was in February of the 2021 season. There have been 66 races since that weekend, and a lot has changed since then.

There was a test here last month, and one driver seemed to stand out among the rest. Hamlin was not at the top of the speed chart on either day of testing, but he was inside the top-five both days. Fellow playoff driver Chase Briscoe certainly took notice.

"I felt that Denny was the best car by quite a bit," Briscoe said. "I felt like we were kind of a tenth or two better than almost everybody else, and then Denny was like two or three tenths better than us. He was pretty unbelievable. Short run, long run, it didn’t matter. He was just lights out. They were the car to beat if we were racing on that weekend."

Hamlin himself noted awhile back that this final round of the playoffs (Las Vegas, Homestead, Martinsville) sets up quite nicely for him. He enters this race x points above the cutline in 3rd place. If he is able to advance to the Championship Four, it will be the fourth consecutive trip there.

As he continues the pursuit of his first ever Cup championship, the veteran driver has been remarkably consistent through the seven races. After starting with a pair of runner-up finishes, Hamlin has two more top-fives and has only finished outside of the top-ten (13th) one time. With some of his best tracks coming up next, the rest of the garage should be very concerned.

"We’re executing well, and that’s something we didn’t do well early in the season," Hamlin said. "I love Homestead for sure. It’s a track I love racing at. The driver can make a difference with so many options. In the end, I have to execute and not make any mistakes."

There have been ten different winners in the last ten Cup races, which has been the theme of this season. The last time there were 11 different winners in a row came back in 2012. Hamlin would be that 11th driver if he can get back to victory lane tomorrow, and the driver of the No. 11 Toyota would love nothing more than that.