AUTO RACING: Larson the new favorite in NASCAR championship chase? We will findout in Miami this weekend.



4EVER 400 presented by Mobil 1

Site: Homestead, Florida.

Schedule: Saturday, practice, 9:05 a.m., and qualifying, 9:50 a.m.; Sunday, race, 2:30 p.m. (NBC).

Track: Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Race distance: 267 laps, 400.5 miles.

Last year: Kyle Larson won after starting fifth.

Last race: Larson became the first driver locked into NASCAR’s title-deciding finale in the opening playoff race of the round of eight, winning at Las Vegas and keeping him in contention for a second Cup title in three years.

Fast facts: Larson, the 2021 champ, moved to the top of the playoff standings, followed by William Byron, 2017 champ Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. The four on the outside looking in with two races left to jumble things are Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney and Chris Buescher. … Blaney was disqualified after the race for an illegal front shock, but the penalty was later overturned. He finished sixth. … Truex won the regular-season title but has had a terrible playoffs and is barely hanging on to a shot to win a second Cup title. His ninth-place finish Sunday was his best through seven playoff races.

Next race: Oct. 29, Martinsville, Virginia.




Contender Boats 300

Site: Homestead. Florida.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 6:05 p.m., and qualifying, 6:35 p.m.; Saturday, race, 3 p.m. (USA).

Track: Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Race distance: 200 laps, 300 miles.

Last year: Noah Gragson won after starting second.

Last race: Riley Herbst raced his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory, a dominating 14.9-second win at Las Vegas,

Fast facts: Herbst led 103 of the 201 laps. It was the most significant margin of victory in the series this season and nearly seven seconds better than the previous best margin of victory for an Xfinity Series race at the track in his hometown. … Championship points leader John Hunter Nemechek was second, followed by Herbst’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Cole Custer, Chandler Smith and Sam Mayer. … Justin Allgaier was sixth, followed by Austin Hill. … Allgaier and Hill stand second and third in the playoffs with Hill four points ahead of Custer.

Next race: Oct. 28, Martinsville, Virginia.




Baptist Health Cancer Care 200

Site: Homestead. Florida.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 4:05 p.m., and qualifying, 4:35 p.m.; Saturday, race, noon, (FS1).

Track: Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Race distance: 134 laps, 201 miles.

Last year: Ty Majeski won after starting 18th.

Last race: 2018 series champion Brett Moffitt turned his first race of the season in the series into his first superspeedway victory, prevailing in a three-wide overtime battle to win at Talladega.

Fast facts: Corey Heim is the only driver to have secured a spot in the championship finale with one race remaining for the seven other contenders. … Carson Hocevar, Christian Eckes and Nicholas Sanchez hold the next three spots heading into the final race before the championship finale, with Grant Enfinger three points back, 2021 champion Ben Rhodes five back, Majeski 19 back and defending champion Zane Smith 36 behind.

Next race: Nov. 3, Avondale, Arizona.




United States Grand Prix

Site: Austin, Texas.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 1:30 p.m., and qualifying, 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sprint shootout, 1:30 p.m., and Sprint, 6 p.m.; Sunday, race, 3 p.m. (ESPN).

Track: Circuit of The Americas

Race distance: 56 laps, 191.634 miles.

Last year: Max Verstappen won after starting second.

Last race: Verstappen clinched his third consecutive season championship with a second-place finish in the sprint race, then won in Qatar for his 14th victory in 17 races this season.

Fast facts: Verstappen and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez have combined to win 16 of the 17 races; the only other winner was Carlos Sainz Jr. … Perez trails Verstappen by 209 points in the standings, but is 30 points ahead of third place Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time series champion. Hamilton is 11 points ahead of fourth-place Fernando Alonso. Sainz is fifth, another 30 points back.

Next race: Oct. 29, Mexico City.




Last race: Scott Dixon won at Laguna Seca, his third win of the season, all in the last four races. The six-time champion gave Chip Ganassi Racing a 1-2 finish in the standings. A week earlier, teammate Alex Palou became the first driver in 18 years to clinch the title before the final race of the season.

Next race: 2024 season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida.




Last event: Leah Pruett won in Top Fuel and Matt Hagan won in Funny Car in Texas.

Next event: Oct. 26-29, Las Vegas.




Next events: Friday-Saturday, Mesquite, Texas.



AP auto racing: