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First-time winners dominate start of NASCAR season

Rick Allen, Dale Jarrett and Parker Kligerman preview Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami, look at what to expect from Kyle Larson this weekend and more.

NASCAR’s revamped schedule was looked upon as giving the sport a fresh look this season, but it is the drivers winning who have done that.

Myatt Snider’s victory in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race continued a run of first-time winners in Xfinity and Cup in February.

The streak started with Michael McDowell winning the Daytona 500 for his first Cup win. The following week, Ty Gibbs won the Xfinity race on the Daytona road course in his first series start. The next day, Christopher Bell won his first Cup race on that course. Then came Snider’s win.

So what are the chances the streak continues in Sunday’s Cup race? Well, the track has never had a driver score their first Cup win at the 1.5-mile speedway. But the way this season has gone, history matters little.

Among the Cup drivers who could score their first series win Sunday is Tyler Reddick, who finished fourth in last year’s Cup race and has two Xfinity wins. Few run Miami’s high line near the wall as well.

Another driver seeking their first Cup win is Bubba Wallace. His 23XI Racing team is aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR’s Denny Hamlin won at Miami last year. Kyle Busch was sixth for JGR last year. Bell was eighth for Leavine Family Racing, which was aligned with JGR last season. Wallace was 13th for Richard Petty Motorsports in that race.

Also, Matt DiBenedetto is searching for his first career Cup win. Should he win, he will give Wood Brothers Racing its 100th career victory and become the 19th different driver to win for the organization. Among those who have won for the Wood Brothers are NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Glen Wood and Dale Jarrett.

Saturday belonged to Snider, who took the lead on the second overtime restart and won his first career Xfinity race. Reaching Victory Lane was a long journey for Snider that included part-time rides and a season in the NASCAR Euro Series.

“The stuff that I think back to Is just all the previous experiences that I’ve had with different race teams coming up with in the sport,” Snider said after his win. “I started out in the Truck Series with (Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2017). That was an eye-opening experience because I really learned a lot that year and learned how much I didn’t know about NASCAR racing. … I went toThorSport full-time (in 2018) and that was a great experience and we didn’t have any sponsorship for 2019.”

That led to him racing in the Euro Series in 2019. He returned to run the full Xfinity season last year, splitting his time with Richard Childress Racing and RSS Racing. He turned that into a full-time ride with RCR this season and his first trip to Victory Lane.

Now the question becomes who will be the next first-time winner?