The championship four are set for the culmination of the season. If the Martinsville race was any indication of what we can expect this weekend we are in for an exciting race. Who will be this year’s champion? Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, or Martin Trues Jr.. Two Hendrick drivers and two Gibbs drivers. The two teams that have been the best all season long.
NASCAR CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP
The series concludes with the final race of the season at the Phoenix Raceway with the running of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship race. For the second consecutive season we are on a shorter, flatter track for this race. Not like when they always ran on a mile and a half track in past seasons. I think all of these drivers have an equal chance to win this week and qualifying is going to be crucial for them. Getting the best stalls on pit road could be the difference in this race.
Kyle Larson: He’s the driver who’s been given the best odds to win this year’s championship for quite some time now. He’s the only driver of the championship four that has never won at this track. However, he does have a second and two third place finishes here. He has also finished in the top ten in each of his last five starts here with three of those being top five finishes. I think he gets the job done this week.
Chase Elliott: Chase won this race last year and with that won the championship. I truly believe that Kevin Harvick will not let Chase win the championship this year. I’ve never known him to say something and not follow through on it. This is why I will have Chase as my stay away from driver this week. Could I be wrong? Yes, but I don’t think so. If I am wrong, then Chase looked very good last week at Martinsville and runs well on this type of track and could repeat as champion.
Denny Hamlin: Denny won the fall race here two years ago and has finished in the top five in five of his last seven starts at the track. They are going to have to avoid pit road penalties that they are prone to have in this race. Qualifying will also be huge for this team and all teams as the person who wins the pole will get their choice of that first pit stall.
Martin Truex Jr.: The last qualifier won the spring race at Phoenix this year. That means he should have a pretty good setup when they take the car of the truck. If he can get it dialed in during practice and have a good qualifying run he is going to be a contender too. We probably couldn’t ask for a more competitive group for this years championship.
Kyle Busch: With nine top five finishes in his last twelve starts at this track, the rest of the championship drivers must be thrilled that Kyle came just short of making the top four. That doesn’t mean this team is done trying to win and I don’t think they are going to let any teammates pass them without earning it. A win is how this team wants to finish the season.
Kevin Harvick: With seven wins and three runner up finishes in his last eighteen starts here, Kevin will have a car good enough to win this race. He will also have a car good enough to get close to Chase Elliott and that will be the part of the race we’ll want to watch for. Will Kevin make good on his threat to make sure Chase doesn’t win this year’s championship. Will he do something early in the race, late in the race or not do anything?
Brad Keselowski: Brad had a good run last weekend at Martinsville and would like nothing to end his tenure with Team Penske with a win for Roger. They have nothing to lose in this race and have no teammates running for the championship. In fact, there are no Ford’s in this year’s championship either so they have nothing to worry about other than trying to get to the checkered flag first.
Joey Logano: With three straight top three finishes at this track they will be a contender once again in this race. It just seems that they have been off for most of the second half of the season and I don’t know if they are ready to win again. They might do better after they can practice instead of just taking their car off the truck and trying to race with it. They’ll be able to make adjustments early in the weekend that can help right from the start of the race.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR PHOENIX RACEWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game Group B
- Kyle Larson
- Aric Almirola
- Alex Bowman
- William Byron
Driver Group Game Group C
- Bubba Wallace
- Michael McDowell
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT PHOENIX RACEWAY
- Kyle Larson
- Denny Hamlin
- Kyle Busch
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Brad Keselowski
Dark Horse: William Byron
Stay Away From: Chase Elliott
Big 18: Tyler Reddick