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Chase Elliott Wins at Phoenix, Takes 2020 Cup Championship

Brian Lawdermilk | Getty Image

By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

Chase Elliott won the biggest race of his life – rallying from a last place starting position to cross the Phoenix Raceway finish line first in the Series Finale 500 – earning his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship at the age of 24 – the youngest champion in NASCAR’s premier series in 25 years.

Ultimately Elliott won by 2.74-seconds over former fellow title contenders, Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. The fourth championship-eligible driver, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, finished fourth.

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, 45, was fifth in his final race as a fulltime driver, congratulating his young Hendrick Motorsports teammate Elliott on-track and later on pit lane  – a fitting symbol of the sport’s ‘passing of the guard’.

“Awesome, awesome, awesome,” Elliott screamed into his team radio after taking the checkered flag. “We are the champions!”

Three of the four title contenders led laps on the day at the famed one-mile desert oval. Logano was out front 125 laps and Keselowski led 16 laps, but Elliott’s 154 laps led were indicative of his motivation, talent and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team’s preparedness for this race. He only earned his place in the four-driver championship field with a clutch victory last week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and made the most of that work on Sunday.

Ultimately Elliott wrestled the lead away from Logano for good with 42 laps of the 312-lap race remaining. It was the result of a determined driver and team after the car failed pre-race inspection Sunday morning and had to start last in the 39-car field.

His focus was evident, however, from the drop of the green flag. Elliott’s Chevrolet was 15th by Lap 15. He took the lead for the first time at Lap 79 and led seven different times on the afternoon.

Once Elliott rallied to the front, the four title contenders were predominantly the top four drivers on track the remainder of the race – truly settling the championship among themselves.

“Obviously when you don’t win it hurts, it definitely stings,” Logano said. “I told the guys before the race, you can’t lose. You either win or you get stronger. Unfortunately, we got stronger today.”

With this championship, Elliott and his father Bill (the 1988 series champion) now become only the third father-son NASCAR Cup Series championship combination in the sport’s history joining Lee and Richard Petty and Ned and Dale Jarrett. Elliott’s father stood trackside for the race and joked afterward that he had given his son some simple advice for the big day. Advice Chase readily admits went through his head as he challenged for the life-changing trophy.

“He told me, ‘all you have to do is beat three people’,” a smiling Elliott said of father’s pre-race advice. “He said all week he felt confident that we could come out here and do this. And he was right.

“This is a moment I’ve dreamed about. This is all I’ve wanted to do is be a race car driver and race in NASCAR. To be honest, I’m humbled.”

Elliott’s good friend Ryan Blaney finished sixth followed by regular season champion Kevin Harvick, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron and Martin Truex Jr.

Clint Bowyer, who is moving to the FOX television booth, and former series champion Matt Kenseth, who is returning to retirement, finished 14th and 25th, respectively in their final race. Crew chief Chad Knaus, at the helm for Johnson’s seven titles, led Hendrick driver Byron to that ninth-place showing.

And Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer, who qualified for the Playoffs with a victory at Kentucky Speedway this summer, finished 28th officially wrapping up the 2020 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

“I’m at a loss for words, this is unbelievable,” Elliott said. “Oh, my gosh. We did it. I mean, we did it. That’s all I’ve got to tell you. Unreal.

“Crew chief, Alan Gustafson, is now a NASCAR Cup Series champion, and very deserving. I just can’t say enough about our group. I felt like we took some really big strides this year, and last week was a huge one. To come out of that with a win and a shot to come here and have a chance to race is unbelievable. Heck, I don’t know. I don’t even know. This is unreal.”

NASCAR Cup Series Race – 33rd Annual Season Finale 500

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Sunday, November 8, 2020

  1. (1)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 312.
  2. (3)  Brad Keselowski (P), Ford, 312.
  3. (2)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, 312.
  4. (4)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 312.
  5. (26)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 312.
  6. (5)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 312.
  7. (11)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 312.
  8. (12)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 312.
  9. (25)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 312.
  10. (13)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 312.
  11. (8)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 312.
  12. (7)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 312.
  13. (10)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 311.
  14. (9)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 311.
  15. (23)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 311.
  16. (6)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 311.
  17. (17)  Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 311.
  18. (18)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 311.
  19. (21)  Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 311.
  20. (31)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 311.
  21. (22)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 311.
  22. (14)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 311.
  23. (29)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 311.
  24. (19)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 311.
  25. (16)  Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 311.
  26. (27)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 311.
  27. (20)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 310.
  28. (15)  Cole Custer #, Ford, 310.
  29. (35)  Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 309.
  30. (32)  JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, 306.
  31. (30)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 306.
  32. (37)  Joey Gase(i), Ford, 302.
  33. (36)  James Davison, Ford, 302.
  34. (24)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 299.
  35. (38)  Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 296.
  36. (33)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 288.
  37. (39)  Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, Rear End, 261.
  38. (28)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, Suspension, 215.
  39. (34)  Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, Handling, 149.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  112.096 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 47 Mins, 0 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.740 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 27 laps.

Lead Changes:  19 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Elliott (P) 0;J. Logano (P) 1-32;R. Blaney 33;J. Logano (P) 34-78;C. Elliott (P) 79;J. Logano (P) 80-119;C. Elliott (P) 120-138;J. Johnson 139-142;M. DiBenedetto 143;A. Almirola 144-150;C. Elliott (P) 151-163;K. Busch 164-167;C. Elliott (P) 168-172;B. Keselowski (P) 173-182;C. Elliott (P) 183-189;B. Keselowski (P) 190-195;C. Elliott (P) 196-260;R. Stenhouse Jr. 261;J. Logano (P) 262-269;C. Elliott (P) 270-312.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Chase Elliott (P) 7 times for 153 laps; Joey Logano (P) 4 times for 125 laps; Brad Keselowski (P) 2 times for 16 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 7 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 4 laps; Jimmie Johnson 1 time for 4 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 time for 1 lap; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 1 lap; Matt DiBenedetto 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 22,11,9,2,12,18,88,14,1,21

Stage #2 Top Ten: 2,9,22,11,12,48,1,18,21,24

 

Chase Elliott Wins Thrilling Race at Martinsville, Advances to Championship 4

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

Chase Elliott cruised to an impressive 6.577-second victory over Ryan Blaney Sunday in the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for the most clutch victory of the 24-year old’s young career – earning a position in next week’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 season finale.

Equally as dramatic was a failed last lap pass for position that has eliminated the regular season champion and nine-race winner Kevin Harvick from advancing to that final round. Harvick had to pass 2019 series champ Kyle Busch for one position – one point – to be able to advance to next week’s title race and instead the cars crashed after making contact. Harvick ended up 17th, eight points shy of a Playoff berth.

With his victory, the Hendrick Motorsports driver Elliott joins Team Penske’s Joey Logano, who advanced to the title race with a victory two weeks ago at Kansas. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, a seven-race winner, raced his way into the Championship 4 with an 11th-place finish at Martinsville and Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, who finished fourth Sunday, was the final driver to earn a championship opportunity.

“Just so proud,” said Elliott, who was ranked sixth in the championship, 25 points below the cutoff line entering the race and was in a must-win position to earn his career first chance at NASCAR’s most prestigious championship.

“To be backed into a corner like that and have to win tonight, I feel like that’s what we’ve been missing these past four of five years. To perform when we don’t have a choice. And to do that tonight, I couldn’t ask for a better night. It’s just unreal.”

Elliott, who led a race best 236 of the 500 laps, took the lead for good with 43 laps remaining after passing Martin Truex Jr., who thought he had a loose wheel. Truex, who also needed to win to advance to the Championship 4 for the fourth straight year, nursed his car home in 22nd place instead.

After taking the lead, Elliott was able to drive away from the field and the three Team Penske teammates Blaney, Logano and Keselowski who finished second, third and fourth, respectively. Playoff drivers Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman – both needing a victory to advance – finished fifth and sixth, followed by Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. Matt DiBenedetto rounded out the top 10.

Ultimately eight points separated Keselowski from Harvick after the checkered flag, but it was a long, tense day of math and motivation for both former series champs. Had Harvick been able to pull off that last lap pass on Busch, he would be challenging for a title instead of Keselowski.

Harvick had a tire go down early in the race causing him to make a green flag pit stop and lose two laps putting him in catch-up mode on the half-mile Martinsville track – one of the most challenging venues on the circuit.

“For sure with the way we’ve run here in the past,” Harvick said, acknowledging he and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford team expected the Martinsville race to be a challenge.

“Everybody kept battling there and I tried to run into the door of the 18 as a last-ditch effort there and spun him out there so sorry to put him in the middle of trying to gain a point. Not a great three weeks. It didn’t go our way. We fought for everything we had and it just came up short.”

While Hamlin, who will be making his second consecutive Championship 4 appearance, said as excited as he was to make the title round, he still felt badly that after a season like Harvick had, that he ultimately would not be championship-eligible. The two won 15 of the 35 races.

“I feel badly for Kevin, they probably deserve a little better than that, it’s just the format, I guess, it’s just three races and everything you do for eight innings doesn’t matter if you don’t have a great ninth inning,’’ Hamlin said.

The Season Finale 500 at the one-mile Phoenix Raceway takes place next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NASCAR Cup Series Race – 72nd Annual Xfinity 500

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Sunday, November 1, 2020

  1. (8)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 500.
  2. (10)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 500.
  3. (7)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, 500.
  4. (1)  Brad Keselowski (P), Ford, 500.
  5. (5)  Kurt Busch (P), Chevrolet, 500.
  6. (3)  Alex Bowman (P), Chevrolet, 500.
  7. (20)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 500.
  8. (16)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500.
  9. (9)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500.
  10. (12)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 500.
  11. (4)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 500.
  12. (19)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 500.
  13. (15)  Cole Custer #, Ford, 500.
  14. (31)  Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, 500.
  15. (11)  Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 500.
  16. (25)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 500.
  17. (6)  Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 500.
  18. (21)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 499.
  19. (22)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 499.
  20. (18)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 499.
  21. (32)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 499.
  22. (2)  Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 499.
  23. (14)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 498.
  24. (17)  Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 498.
  25. (26)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 498.
  26. (23)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 498.
  27. (29)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 497.
  28. (24)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 497.
  29. (34)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 495.
  30. (27)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 495.
  31. (38)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 494.
  32. (33)  Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 490.
  33. (35)  Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 489.
  34. (39)  Joey Gase(i), Ford, Electrical, 447.
  35. (13)  William Byron, Chevrolet, Accident, 439.
  36. (37)  James Davison, Ford, Electrical, 422.
  37. (30)  Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, Accident, 184.
  38. (28)  Chris Buescher, Ford, Accident, 146.
  39. (36)  Garrett Smithley(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 100.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  71.581 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 40 Mins, 27 Secs. Margin of Victory:  6.577 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  12 for 83 laps.

Lead Changes:  20 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   B. Keselowski (P) 1-3;M. Truex Jr. (P) 4-88;C. Elliott (P) 89-112;D. Hamlin (P) 113-133;A. Bowman (P) 134;K. Busch 135-139;K. Busch (P) 140-162;C. Elliott (P) 163-217;D. Hamlin (P) 218-220;J. Logano (P) 221;D. Hamlin (P) 222-239;C. Elliott (P) 240-266;M. Truex Jr. (P) 267;C. Elliott (P) 268-353;J. Logano (P) 354-368;R. Blaney 369-404;J. Logano (P) 405-407;M. Truex Jr. (P) 408-442;C. LaJoie 443-448;M. Truex Jr. (P) 449-456;C. Elliott (P) 457-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Chase Elliott (P) 5 times for 236 laps; Martin Truex Jr. (P) 4 times for 129 laps; Denny Hamlin (P) 3 times for 42 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 36 laps; Kurt Busch (P) 1 time for 23 laps; Joey Logano (P) 3 times for 19 laps; Corey LaJoie 1 time for 6 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 5 laps; Brad Keselowski (P) 1 time for 3 laps; Alex Bowman (P) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,88,2,9,22,19,18,24,1,48

Stage #2 Top Ten: 9,19,11,12,1,18,2,22,88,6

Kyle Busch Salvages Winning Streak with Victory in NASCAR Cup Race at Texas

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

 

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

After winning the three-time-weather-delayed Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Kyle Busch climbed from his car and pointed to the image of a zombie on his helmet.

“This is what we’ve all looked like around here for the last three days,” Busch quipped. “Everybody just zombied into their phones.”

In reality, 72 hours, 28 minutes and 34 seconds elapsed between the time NASCAR red-flagged the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race on Sunday and lifted the red at 5:03 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon after many attempts to dry the track and complete the event on Monday and Tuesday.

Using every trick in his arsenal, and with constant direction from crew chief Adam Stevens, Busch saved enough fuel over the last green-flag run to get 66 laps out of his last tank of gas. Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota ran out of fuel during the celebratory burnout on the frontstretch.

The victory was Busch’s first of the season, preserving a 16-year streak of winning at least one race per season, starting with his rookie year in 2005. It was his third win at the 1.5-mile speedway in Fort Worth and the 57th of his career.

“We finally got it,” Busch said. “I was so nervous… I was nervous the whole last run. I’ve been in this position so many times. The last three laps, though, that’s like winning the championship. That’s how nervous I was.

“I can’t believe it, but just so proud to be here. My team guys, awesome pit stops, they were phenomenal. We’re ready to fight next year—we’ll be back.”

The victory also was welcome consolation for the reigning series champion, who was eliminated from the Playoff in the Round of 12.

By winning, though, Busch frustrated teammate and Playoff driver Martin Truex Jr., who likely needed a victory at either Texas or next Sunday at Martinsville to advance to the Championship 4 event at Phoenix Raceway. After his final green-flag pit stop on Lap 276 of 334—eight laps after Busch came to pit road for the last time and packed his Camry full of fuel—Truex chased his teammate, trimming a deficit of more than five seconds to .468 seconds at the finish line.

“We knew he was close (on fuel),” Truex said. “The only thing we could do at that point is what we did all day anyway, which is try to run flat-out. Hell of an effort by the guys… It seems like one of those years when we’re second, third, fourth. We’re there a lot. We just needed a little bit more to be better.”

Sunoco rookie Christopher Bell ran third, followed by Ryan Blaney and Playoff driver Alex Bowman. Brad Keselowski,  Kurt Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano completed the top 10.

Logano already has qualified for the Championship 4 with a victory Oct. 18 at Kansas Speedway. Kevin Harvick finished 16th after suffering damage from a brush with the wall on Sunday (when 52 laps were completed), but the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford remained 42 points above the Playoff cut line.

Hamlin and Keselowski are 27 and 25 points, respectively, above the cutoff heading to Sunday’s elimination race at Martinsville. Chase Elliott had to make an unplanned pit stop to change a corded tire, lost a lap and finished 20th. Both he and Bowman, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, are 25 points behind Keselowski in the standings, in danger of falling out of the Playoff.

NASCAR Cup Series Race – 16th Annual Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Sunday, October 25, 2020

  1. (9)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 334.
  2. (6)  Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 334.
  3. (15)  Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 334.
  4. (10)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 334.
  5. (5)  Alex Bowman (P), Chevrolet, 334.
  6. (3)  Brad Keselowski (P), Ford, 334.
  7. (8)  Kurt Busch (P), Chevrolet, 334.
  8. (14)  Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 334.
  9. (7)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 334.
  10. (2)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, 334.
  11. (12)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 334.
  12. (22)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 334.
  13. (11)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 334.
  14. (16)  Cole Custer #, Ford, 334.
  15. (19)  Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 334.
  16. (1)  Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 333.
  17. (21)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 333.
  18. (29)  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 333.
  19. (25)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 333.
  20. (4)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 333.
  21. (17)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 333.
  22. (24)  John Hunter Nemechek #, Ford, 332.
  23. (13)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 332.
  24. (27)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 332.
  25. (28)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 331.
  26. (23)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 331.
  27. (30)  Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 328.
  28. (31)  Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 328.
  29. (37)  Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 326.
  30. (36)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 325.
  31. (38)  Garrett Smithley(i), Ford, 325.
  32. (35)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 321.
  33. (34)  Quin Houff #, Chevrolet, 316.
  34. (20)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 310.
  35. (40)  Chad Finchum(i), Toyota, 310.
  36. (26)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Engine, 279.
  37. (39)  Joey Gase(i), Ford, Suspension, 184.
  38. (18)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, Accident, 59.
  39. (32)  Matt Kenseth, Chevrolet, Accident, 59.
  40. (33)  JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 20.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  135.263 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 42 Mins, 14 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .468 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  8 for 47 laps.

Lead Changes:  23 among 11 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Harvick (P) 1-28;A. Bowman (P) 29-45;M. Truex Jr. (P) 46;B. Poole # 47;C. Bowyer 48-81;M. Truex Jr. (P) 82;C. Bowyer 83-108;A. Bowman (P) 109-134;R. Blaney 135-138;M. Truex Jr. (P) 139;R. Blaney 140-155;M. Truex Jr. (P) 156-198;K. Busch 199-201;M. DiBenedetto 202-203;A. Almirola 204;E. Jones 205-206;K. Busch 207-216;C. Bowyer 217;K. Busch 218-267;M. Truex Jr. (P) 268-274;C. Bell # 275-279;K. Busch 280-282;C. Bowyer 283-310;K. Busch 311-334.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 5 times for 90 laps; Clint Bowyer 4 times for 89 laps; Martin Truex Jr. (P) 5 times for 53 laps; Alex Bowman (P) 2 times for 43 laps; Kevin Harvick (P) 1 time for 28 laps; Ryan Blaney 2 times for 20 laps; Christopher Bell # 1 time for 5 laps; Erik Jones 1 time for 2 laps; Matt DiBenedetto 1 time for 2 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 1 lap; Brennan Poole # 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 14,19,20,12,48,24,9,22,3,21

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,19,88,2,12,95,3,14,47,4

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Season Finale 500

The Place: Phoenix Raceway

The Date: Sunday, November 8

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 312 miles (312 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 190), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 312)

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

Spotlight turns to Phoenix Raceway for Championship Weekend

Phoenix Cup Playoff Winners

Season

Track

Race Winners

2019

Phoenix

Denny Hamlin

2018

Phoenix

Kyle Busch

2017

Phoenix

Matt Kenseth

2016

Phoenix

Joey Logano

2015

Phoenix

Dale Earnhardt Jr

2014

Phoenix

Kevin Harvick

2013

Phoenix

Kevin Harvick

2012

Phoenix

Kevin Harvick

2011

Phoenix

Kasey Kahne

2010

Phoenix

Carl Edwards

2009

Phoenix

Jimmie Johnson

2008

Phoenix

Jimmie Johnson

2007

Phoenix

Jimmie Johnson

2006

Phoenix

Kevin Harvick

2005

Phoenix

Kyle Busch

2004

Phoenix

Dale Earnhardt Jr

It was announced back in March of 2019, that the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Weekend would be held at Phoenix Raceway in 2020. After a long, unpredictable, and unprecedented season the series has arrived, and four drivers and teams are ready give it their all and decide who will be crowned the 2020 champion.

 

This season marks the first year the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race will be held at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2004, Phoenix Raceway has occupied three different positions on the postseason schedule. In 2004, the Phoenix Raceway hosted the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. Then from 2005 – 2019 (last 15 seasons), Phoenix Raceway has hosted the penultimate (ninth) race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. 

 

Seven different drivers have won the Playoff races at Phoenix Raceway, led by Kevin Harvick with four Playoff wins (2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014).

 

Four non-Playoff drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway. In 2005, Kyle Busch won the Phoenix Playoff race and was ranked 19th in the points at the time of the win. In 2011, Kasey Kahne won the Phoenix Playoff race and was ranked 14th in the points at the time of the win. In 2015, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Phoenix Playoff race and was seventh in points at the time of the win. Earnhardt Jr. had made the Playoffs in 2015 but was eliminated in the Round of 12. And in 2017, Matt Kenseth won the Phoenix Playoff race and was seventh in points at the time of the win. Kenseth had made the Playoffs in 2017 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.

 

Prior to the 2020 season, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s season finale from 2004-2019 (last 16 seasons). A total of 11 different drivers have won the season finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, led by Greg Biffle with three victories (2004 – 2006).

 

Season Finale Cup Race Winners

Season

Track

Race Winners

2019

Homestead

Kyle Busch

2018

Homestead

Joey Logano

2017

Homestead

Martin Truex Jr

2016

Homestead

Jimmie Johnson

2015

Homestead

Kyle Busch

2014

Homestead

Kevin Harvick

2013

Homestead

Denny Hamlin

2012

Homestead

Jeff Gordon

2011

Homestead

Tony Stewart

2010

Homestead

Carl Edwards

2009

Homestead

Denny Hamlin

2008

Homestead

Carl Edwards

2007

Homestead

Matt Kenseth

2006

Homestead

Greg Biffle

2005

Homestead

Greg Biffle

2004

Homestead

Greg Biffle

Seven times the winner of the season finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway has won the championship during the Playoff Era (2004-Present). In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the 15th starting position at Homestead, and as a result secured his third-career NASCAR Cup Series championship in the closest points battle in series history – tied with Carl Edwards – Stewart won the title by virtue of the tiebreaker: most wins. In 2014, Kevin Harvick won from the fifth starting position at Homestead in the first year of the elimination-style format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, as a result he won his first series title. In 2015, Kyle Busch won from the third starting position at Homestead in the second year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, as a result he won his first series championship. In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won from the 14th starting position at Homestead in the third year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he tied NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the series-most titles with seven each. In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won from the second starting position at Homestead in the fourth year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship. In 2018, Joey Logano won from the fifth starting position at Homestead in the fifth year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship. In 2019, Kyle Busch won from the fourth starting position at Homestead in the sixth year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he became just the second active driver with multiple titles (2015, 2019) joining seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.  

 

The worst finish in a Playoff race by the eventual series champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway is 15th (three times): Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012. Plus, two non-Playoff drivers have won the Homestead-Miami season finale Playoff race: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013). 

 

This weekend at Phoenix only two of the Championship 4 drivers have won at the one-mile raceway – Joey Logano (two wins) and Denny Hamlin (two wins). But don’t count out Chase Elliott (2017) and Brad Keselowski (2018) they have career-best finishes at Phoenix of runner-up.

 

In total Phoenix Raceway has hosted 48 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to the inaugural event on November 6, 1988. The race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki in a Ford. The 48 series events at Phoenix have produced 25 different pole winners and 24 different race winners. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman lead the series in starts at Phoenix with 35 each. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick lead the series in poles at Phoenix with four each and Harvick also leads the series in wins (nine) and top fives (18). NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin leads the series in lead lap finishes at Phoenix with 30 in 34 starts. Kevin Harvick leads the series in laps led (1,662) and laps completed (10,906) at Phoenix. NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Championship 4 contender Joey Logano is the most recent winner at Phoenix, taking the checkered flag back in March after starting 13th.  

 

By The Numbers: Phoenix Raceway / Season Finale

1 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races Phoenix Raceway has hosted (2020).

2 – Number of 2020 Championship 4 drivers with a former win at Phoenix Raceway – Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.

5 – Number of wins from the pole or first starting position at Phoenix Raceway – most recent Kevin Harvick’s win in March of 2015.

7 – Number of times the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series championship season finale race has won the title during the Playoff Era (2004-Present); including the last six seasons in the elimination-style format of the Playoffs - Tony Stewart, 2011; Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016; Martin Truex Jr., 2017; Joey Logano, 2018; and Kyle Busch, 2019 – Note: All the wins listed were at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

8 – Number of former NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix race winners entered in this weekend’s season finale – Kevin Harvick (nine wins), Jimmie Johnson (four), Kyle Busch (three), Denny Hamlin (two), Matt Kenseth (two), Joey Logano (two), Ryan Newman (two) and Kurt Busch (one). 

8 – Number of former NASCAR Cup Series champions entered in this weekend’s season finale race at Phoenix Raceway – Jimmie Johnson (seven title), Kyle Busch (two), Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.      

9 – The degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4 of Phoenix Raceway.

11 – The degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2 of Phoenix Raceway.

12 – The most cautions in a single NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway; has happened twice – most recently earlier this season (03/08/2020).

15 – The worst finish by the eventual series champion in the season finale race (at Homestead-Miami Speedway) - it happened three times: Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012. 

16 – Total number of NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races held at Phoenix Raceway (2004-2019).

20 – The age of the youngest NASCAR Cup Series race winner at Phoenix Raceway: Kyle Busch (November 13, 2005 – 20 years, 6 months, 11 days).

24 – Number of different NASCAR Cup Series winners at Phoenix Raceway; led by Kevin Harvick with nine victories.

25 – Number of different NASCAR Cup Series Busch pole winners at Phoenix Raceway; led by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick with four each.

28 – The greatest number of lead changes in a single race at Phoenix Raceway (Feb. 27, 2011) – earlier this season the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix produced 20 lead changes.

29 – The lowest starting position by a race winner at Phoenix Raceway (Ricky Rudd, 1995).

35 – Most NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway starts; led by Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman with 35 each. 

48 – Total number of NASCAR Cup Series races held at Phoenix Raceway.

312 – Number of laps scheduled for this weekend’s Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

 

Season Finale Title-Clinching Performances

Sunday’s Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will mark the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. The 2020 season marks the first year the championship race will be held at Phoenix Raceway but below is a look at how the last 10 NASCAR Cup Series season finales at Homestead-Miami Speedway have turned out:

 

2010 – Jimmie Johnson Tracks Down Denny Hamlin For Fifth Straight Title

Denny Hamlin held a comfortable 15-point lead on Jimmie Johnson for the championship heading into the season finale. However, Hamlin could not close out the title. Hamlin damaged his Toyota with an early-race spin and finished 14th as a result. Kevin Harvick, who was third in points entering the race, finished third. Johnson placed runner-up to take home his fifth consecutive championship.

 

2011 – Tony Stewart Wins Third Championship In Epic Race

Trailing leader Carl Edwards by three points entering the 2011 season finale, Tony Stewart virtually needed a win to capture the title – especially considering that Edwards ultimately finished runner-up in the race.

 

Stewart drove to the front from the back of the field twice and edged out Edwards to get to Victory Lane.

 

The pair finished the season tied in points, but Stewart held the tiebreaker over Edwards of most wins during the season (five to one). It was the first title for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

2012 – Brad Keselowski Fends Off Jimmie Johnson For First Championship

Brad Keselowski entered the 2012 season finale 20 points ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings.

 

Keselowski, who won two Playoff races to help put himself in championship-clinching position, didn’t produce his best performance with a 15th-place showing at Homestead-Miami.

 

But problems in the pits for Johnson caused the five-time champion to finish 36th and helped Keselowski secure his first championship, as well as the first title for Team Penske.

 

2013 – Jimmie Johnson Closes In On Earnhardt And Petty With Sixth Title

After building up his points lead on the strength of six wins, 16 top fives and 23 top 10s, Jimmie Johnson needed to finish 23rd to capture his sixth NASCAR Cup Series championship.

 

Following an incident on a restart just shy of the 200-lap mark, Johnson ended up 23rd when it all sorted itself out.

 

By the end of the race, he worked his way up to finish ninth, earning Hendrick Motorsports a record 11th championship.

 

2014 – Harvick Rides To Two ‘Do Or Die’ Victories To Earn First Series Title

Kevin Harvick started the penultimate race of the 2014 season needing a win to get into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix. He dominated the contest, leading 264 laps to earn the victory and a spot in the Championship 4. After playing mind games throughout Homestead week with the rest of the field, Harvick held off runner-up Ryan Newman to earn his first career NASCAR Cup Series title and the second for Stewart-Haas Racing.

 

2015 – Kyle Busch Overcomes Injury For Improbable Comeback

Just ninth months after breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot, Kyle Busch edged out defending champion Kevin Harvick for the Homestead race win and his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. Busch missed the first 11 races of the season after sustaining his injuries in a crash in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona. He came back to win five races in the NASCAR Cup Series that year and cement his name in NASCAR history.

 

2016 – Johnson Ties Series Record With Seventh Championship

Jimmie Johnson proved once again to not count him out in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He won his way into the Round of 8 with a victory at Charlotte, then took the checkered flag at Martinsville to punch his ticket to Homestead. He provided a walk-off win at Homestead to capture his seventh championship, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the NASCAR Cup Series record.

 

2017 – Martin Truex Jr. Earns First Championship

Driving for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing, Truex turned a career-best season into a championship for the ages. His victory in the Homestead finale was a personal best eighth on the year. He led the final 34 laps and held off a hard charging Kyle Busch by .681-seconds to earn the trophy hoist. It was an emotional victory with team owner, Barney Visser recovering from a recent heart attack back in Denver and Truex’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex trackside after a year of major medical obstacles.

 

2018 – Joey Logano Wins First Championship

After qualifying for the Championship 4 in the Round of 8 opening race at Martinsville Speedway, the 28-year old Logano headed to Homestead-Miami largely considered the “underdog” to 2018’s “Big 3” – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. The threesome (Busch, 9, Harvick, 8 and Truex, 4) won 21 of the first 35 races in 2018. However, the Team Penske driver grabbed his opportunity and took it to the Big 3, winning the season finale by a sizable 1.7-seconds over Truex, Harvick and Busch and taking his career first NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy – Team Penske’s second.

 

2019 – Kyle Busch grabs second title, fifth for JGR

After putting up four wins early in the 2019 NACAR Cup Series season, Kyle Busch went winless for 21 races. He pointed his way into the Championship 4 but when his back was against the wall he answered and won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway passing Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and the holding off his hard charging Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. by 4.578-seconds to win his second championship. With the feat, Busch became just the second active multiple champion joining Jimmie Johnson (seven titles). The title was also the fifth for Joe Gibbs Racing - Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015 and 2019).

 

Chances a spoiler steals the show this weekend at Phoenix

Since the introduction of the "win and you’re in" elimination-style Playoff format, the eventual champion has won the season finale race (at Homestead-Miami Speedway) each of the six years (Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016; Martin Truex Jr., 2017; Joey Logano, 2018; Kyle Busch, 2019). Still, with a new venue this season (Phoenix) hosting the championship event there is still a chance a driver out of championship contention can win the event.

 

The name that rises to the top of the list of possible spoilers this weekend, is NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway wins leader, Kevin Harvick, who has spent a career mastering the one-mile raceway putting up nine series victories, including four Playoff wins. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Harvick, failed to make the Championship 4 this season, the first regular season champion since its inception in 2017 to not make the final round, would like nothing more than to steal one more win. Harvick leads the series in victories this year with a career-best nine wins (2006 sweep, 2012 Playoff race, 2013 Playoff race, 2014 sweep, 2015 Spring race, 2016 Spring race, 2018 Spring race).

 

Expect Harvick to be in the mix for the lead no matter what this weekend. Phoenix Raceway is his best track. At Phoenix, Harvick leads the series in wins (nine), top fives (18) and lap led (1,662). Plus, he leads the series in key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 8.231 and a Driver Rating of 111.2. 

 

Next up on the list of possible spoilers this weekend at Phoenix is four-time NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway winner and Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson. Phoenix has been pivotal in the success of Johnson over the years and this weekend the veteran would like nothing more than to go out with one last victory. The feat would not only tie him with NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the series all-time wins list but would also end the current winless streak he has been on that has reached a career-long 130 races. Johnson has made 34 series starts at Phoenix posting four wins (2007 Playoffs, 2008 sweep, 2009 Playoffs), 15 top fives and 21 top 10s. Johnson plans to retire from fulltime NASCAR Cup Series competition at the end of the 2020 season.

 

And the last driver making our possible spoilers at Phoenix list this weekend is Joe Gibbs Racing and three-time NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway winner Kyle Busch. Busch just recently, at Texas two weeks ago, snapped a 33-race wineless streak that dated back to last season’s championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 2020 season has been rough for Kyle Busch, he was eliminated from the Playoffs in the Round 12, becoming the first defending champion not to make the Championship 4 round the following season since the establishment of the elimination-style Playoff format in 2014. Busch would like nothing more than to end the season on a high note and win this weekend at Phoenix. The Las Vegas native has made 30 starts at Phoenix posting four poles, three wins (2005, 2018 Playoff race, 2019), 12 top fives and 22 top 10s.

 

Best of the Rest

Just because only four drivers made it to the Championship 4, doesn’t mean the rest of the field doesn’t have something to fight for this weekend at Phoenix Raceway in the Season Finale 500 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

As the points stand now, Kevin Harvick sits in fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with a 34-point advantage over sixth place Alex Bowman and a 66-point edge over seventh place Martin Truex Jr. Bowman hopes to hang on to his sixth place position amongst the two former champions as it would be his career best finish in the final series championship standings. His previous best finish in the points was 12th last season.

 

As for the top non-Playoff drivers from this season, Erik Jones (17th), veteran Jimmie Johnson (18th) and rookie Tyler Reddick (19th) have been battling it out for the 17th position since the Playoffs began. As of now, Jones holds a 59-point advantage on Johnson heading into Phoenix and a 96 -point lead over Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick. Jones recently announced he would be moving to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2021 to pilot the famous No. 43. Despite missing the Playoffs, Jones had a solid season putting up nine top fives and 13 top 10s. He also hasn’t been too shabby at Phoenix, in eight start he has one top five and four top 10s.

 

Saying farewell to a NASCAR icon: Jimmie Johnson

Since signing with Hendrick Motorsports and pairing up with Chad Knaus, no driver has been more dominant over the last two decades than El Cajon, California’s Jimmie Johnson.

 

In 19 full seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series, Johnson has managed to win seven championships (2006-2010, 2013, 2016) tying the series all-time record held by NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Plus, he was the first driver in series history to win five consecutive NASCAR Cup Series championships (2006-10). He also holds the record for the most NASCAR Cup Series Playoff berths with 15. In total, he has made 685 starts in his career and this weekend, his 686th will be his last in fulltime NASCAR Cup Series competition.

 

In those 685 career NASCAR Cup Series starts, Jimmie Johnson has thrilled us and proven no matter the points format, nor the layout of the car, he was going to succeed. Johnson is currently tied for sixth on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time wins list with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough with 83 wins each. Johnson has won at 21 different tracks on the series schedule; including this weekend’s venue – Phoenix Raceway.  Not to mention, he is a two-time Daytona 500 champion (2006, ‘13), and four-time Brickyard 400 winner (2006, ’08, ’09, ’12).

 

But Johnson’s legacy transcended off the track as well, not only has he spent a large amount of time working with his foundation the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, but he was also recognized by the national media as an outstanding human being and named him the 2009 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

 

After making 34 starts at Phoenix Raceway posting four wins, 15 top fives and 21 top 10s in his career, Johnson will be making his last start in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this Sunday. Johnson will start from the 26th position at Phoenix this weekend.

 

How Far They’ve Come: From ARCA Menards Series to Championship 4

The ARCA Menards Series has evolved and developed into the preeminent driver development series in stock car racing. The bridge between local and regional racing and the professional leagues of stock car series nationally, the ARCA Menards Series platform has seen dozens of drivers participate as they made their way up the ladder.

 

Of the 99 drivers that participated in the season openers at Daytona for the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series, and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, 86 of them had experience in the ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East, and/or ARCA Menards Series West. Thirty-seven of them have accumulated 132 total ARCA Menards Series wins and six championships, twenty-nine of them accumulated 93 total East wins and six championships, and twelve of them accumulated a total of 51 West victories and four championships.

 

All twelve drivers competing for national series titles at Phoenix have ARCA experience, and ten of them have wins within the ARCA Menards Series platform.

 

Chase Elliott made 12 ARCA Menards Series starts over three seasons, with one win (Pocono, 2013), six top-five, and eleven top-ten finishes. He also scored wins in what is now known as the ARCA Menards Series East (Iowa, 2012) and ARCA Menards Series West (Sonoma, 2016).

 

Brad Keselowski made three ARCA Menards Series starts, two in 2004 and one in 2006 for three different owners. Keselowski didn't fare well in any of the three starts, with a best finish of 17th at Michigan in his final appearance. Keselowski is the son of 1989 ARCA Menards Series champion Bob Keselowski and won ARCA-sanctioned super late model races at Toledo Speedway before moving up the ranks to NASCAR Gander Truck Series competition.

 

Joey Logano has four career ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit, and he's won half of them (Rockingham, 2008, Pocono, 2009). His worst ARCA finish? Second, twice, at Talladega in 2008 and Daytona in 2009.

 

Denny Hamlin made two ARCA Menards Series appearances, one in 2004 at Talladega and the other at Nashville in 2005. He finished third in his debut at Talladega.

 

Chase Briscoe is the 2006 ARCA Menards Series champion. He won six times on his way to the championship, at Winchester, Iowa, Lucas Oil, Pocono, Chicagoland, and Kansas. He finished in the top five 14 times and had 18 top-10 finishes in 20 starts that season.

 

Austin Cindric has eight ARCA Menards Series starts, with one win (Kentucky, 2017). He has led laps in seven of his eight career starts. He also has two career wins in two ARCA Menards Series East starts, on the road courses at Virginia International and Watkins Glen.

 

Justin Haley began racing full-bodied stock cars in the Late Model Sportsman division at ARCA-sanctioned Toledo Speedway in 2013. He earned the first of seven top-five ARCA Menards Series finishes at the age of 15 in 2014. He has three series wins, at Springfield, Talladega, and Pocono. He is also the 2016 ARCA Menards Series East champion with two wins and 14 top-10 finishes in 14 starts.

 

Justin Allgaier is the 2008 ARCA Menards Series champion, taking the series title with an impressive three-race win streak to close the season. He has eight total series wins in 86 starts.

 

Grant Enfinger is the 2015 ARCA Menards Series champion. In 2014 and 2015, he opened the season with three consecutive wins. Enfinger has 16 total series wins in 95 appearances.

 

Sheldon Creed is the 2018 ARCA Menards Series champion, with four wins and 18 top-10 finishes in 20 starts. He also has one career ARCA Menards Series West win, on the dirt at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Zane Smith is the 2018 ARCA Menards Series runner-up and Bounty Rookie of the Year. He finished the season with four wins and finished in the top ten in 13 of his 20 starts.

 

Brett Moffitt has 10 career ARCA Menards Series East wins, and from 2009 through 2013 finished either second or third in the final series standings. He has 62 career starts, 34 top-five and 45 top-ten finishes.

 

Sunoco Rookie Cole Custer To Claim Honors In Phoenix

Sunoco Rookie of the Year

Rookies

Points

Cole Custer

2,193

Tyler Reddick

762

Christopher Bell

658

John H. Nemechek

523

Brennan Poole

261

Quin Houff

213

In what was an intense competition throughout the season from one of the most highly touted Sunoco Rookie of the Year classes in several seasons, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer has come out on top of the rookie standings heading into Phoenix Raceway and will look to claim the end of the season honors following the event.

 

The Ladera Ranch, California native, Custer, pretty much sealed his Sunoco Rookie of the Year fate with his last lap pass for the win at Kentucky Speedway earlier this season guaranteeing his spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. As the only rookie to qualify for the postseason, Custer’s points lead in the reseeded standings was unreachable by the other rookies who failed to make the Playoffs. Custer was the first rookie since 2016 (Chris Buescher) to win a race in the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

In 35 starts this season, the 22-year old Custer posted one win (Kentucky), two top fives and seven top 10s. His average starting position this season was 20.0 and his average finish was 19.0. He also led five laps. 

 

The rest of the 2020 Sunoco Rookie of the Year class put their best foot forward this season and really performed amongst the best in the business.

 

Tyler Reddick has made 35 starts this season putting up three top fives and nine top 10s. His best finish on the season was runner-up at Texas-1.

 

Christopher Bell has made 35 starts this season amassing two top fives and seven top 10s. His best finish on the season was third at Texas-2.

 

John Hunter Nemechek has made 35 starts this season collecting three top 10s. His best finish on the season was eighth (twice) at Talladega-1 and Talladega-2.

 

Brennan Poole has made 34 starts this season putting up one top-10 finish. His best finish on the season was ninth at Talladega-2.

 

Quin Houff has made 35 starts this season posting a best finish of 13th at Talladega-2.

 

Ford Motor Company to clinch their 17th Cup Series Manufacturers title

Manufacturers Championship

OEMs

Wins

Points

Ford

18

1,293

Toyota

9

1,225

Chevrolet

8

1,192

After winning double that of their competitors this season (18 victories) in the NASCAR Cup Series, Ford Motor Company will clinch their 17th NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturers Championship (1956, ’57, ’63, ’64, ’65, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’69, ’92, ’94, ’97, ’99, 2000, ‘02, ’18, ’20) this weekend in the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

The 18 victories by Ford during the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season were spread amongst two organizations – Stewart-Haas Racing (10 wins) and Team Penske (eight wins) – and five drivers Kevin Harvick (nine wins), Brad Keselowski (four), Joey Logano (three), Cole Custer and Ryan Blaney (each have one win). 

 

Ford Wins - 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Season

Manufacturer

Date

Track

Race Winner

Organization

Ford

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Las Vegas

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Ford

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Phoenix

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Ford

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Darlington

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Charlotte

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Bristol

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Atlanta

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Monday, June 22, 2020

Talladega

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Ford

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Pocono

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Indianapolis

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Kentucky

Cole Custer

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Loudon

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Michigan

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Michigan

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Dover

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Darlington

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Richmond

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Bristol

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Kansas

Joey Logano

Team Penske

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 (In Alphabetical Order)

The 2020 season comes down to this. The stage is set, and four drivers will contend for the championship and prestigious Bill France Cup this Sunday in the Season Finale 500 for the first time at Phoenix Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). 

 

That foursome, comprised of Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Team Penske’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, have accounted for 18 victories in the 35 races leading up to Sunday’s finale.

 

Two of the four drivers are former champions – Keselowski (2012) and Logano (2018) - with Hamlin and Elliott looking for their first Cup titles.

 

Here’s an in-depth look at the championship contenders in 2020: 

 

Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

 

Elliott By The Numbers:

1 – Number of career appearances in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 (2020).

2 – Number of top-five finishes at Phoenix Raceway. 

4 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series race wins in 2020.

5 – Number of top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway.

9.2 – Average starting position during the first 35 races of 2020 season.

9.6 – Average finishing position during the first nine races of the 2020 Playoffs.

10 – Number of stage wins during the 2020 season.

12.0 – Average finishing position during the 2020 season.

13.0 – Average finishing position at Phoenix Raceway.

14 – Number of top-five finishes in the first 35 races of 2020 season.

21 – Number of top-10 finishes during the 2020 season.

27 – Total number of Playoff points accumulated in 2020.

102.3 – Season-to-date driver rating – second-best among active drivers.

105.3 – Career driver rating at Phoenix Raceway – second-best among active drivers.

249 – Total number of laps led at Phoenix Raceway.

1,094 - Total number of laps led in the 2020 season.

9,229 - Total number of laps completed in the 2020 season (96.1%).

 

Elliott has chance to join his father as a NASCAR Cup Series champion

NASCAR has been built by hard working and dedicated families like the Frances, Pettys, Jarretts, Earnhardts and this weekend Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Chase Elliott has the chance to add to his family’s legacy and join his NASCAR Hall of Fame father Bill Elliott (1988) as a champion in the highest form of stock car racing – the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

If Elliott accomplishes the feat the Elliotts (Bill: 1988) would join the Pettys (Lee: 1954, 1958, 1959 and Richard: 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1979), and the Jarretts (Ned: 1961, 1965 and Dale: 1999) as just the third father-son combo to win the NASCAR Cup Series title.

 

Elliott’s talent was apparent early in his career. The Georgia native jumped in the national NASCAR scene in 2013 in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series on a part-time basis, making nine starts and winning at Canadian Tire in just his sixth start. He then climbed up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JR Motorsport and became the first rookie in series history to win the series championship in 2014. He ran one more season in Xfinity, finishing runner-up in the points in 2015 before moving up to the NASCAR Cup Series fulltime in 2016. Elliott has qualified for the Playoffs all five seasons he has competed in the NASCAR Cup Series, but this is the first one in which he has a clear shot at the title. Since running fulltime in the series, Elliott has put up 10 wins, 58 top fives and 95 top 10s.

 

Mr. ‘Most Popular’ is looking to cap off a career season

Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott is having a career year and not only because he made the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Championship 4 round for the first time, but also because he has racked up four wins on the season – also a career first.

 

The reigning series Most Popular Driver, Elliott had a slow start to the 2020 season with three finishes outside the top-15 in the first six races, but all that changed when he got to Charlotte. Elliott was strong in both Charlotte oval races, leading 38 laps in the first event and finishing runner-up, but followed that up in the next race by leading 28 laps and winning his first event of the season. The 24-year old then rallied off 10 top-10 finishes and another win at the Charlotte ROVAL to finish out the regular season.

 

Elliott entered the 2020 Playoffs as the fifth seed with 20 Playoff points to his credit.

 

Unfortunately, an incident with Martin Truex Jr. for the lead at Darlington relegated him to a 20th-place finish to open the postseason, but Elliott was quick to rebound, finishing fifth at Richmond and seventh at Bristol to advance to the Round of 12. Again, Elliott struggled at the start of the next round, finishing 22nd at Las Vegas but found his momentum at Talladega with a fifth-place finish and secured his spot in the Round of 8 with a win at the Charlotte ROVAL.

 

Elliott then finished sixth at Kansas and slipped to a 20th-place finish at Texas in the Round of 8. As a result, Elliott was in a precarious position 25 points behind the Championship 4 cutoff heading into the penultimate race of the season at Martinsville Speedway. But the rising star answered the call and won at Martinsville Speedway, becoming the third driver since the inception of the elimination-style format in 2014 to win his way into the Championship 4 round; joining Kevin Harvick in 2014 and Denny Hamlin in 2019. His previous best finish in the final championship standings was fifth in 2017.

 

Through 35 races this season Chase Elliott has put up four wins, 14 top fives and 21 top 10s. He has led 1,094 laps and has an average finish of 12.0. He also has the second-best season-to-date driver rating (105.3) on the year. 

 

Elliott’s prowess in the Valley of the Sun

For the first time in series history Phoenix Raceway will host the season finale race and set the stage for the Championship 4 to battle it out for the NASCAR Cup Series title. And the recent change could not have come at a better time for Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott, who has performed much better at Phoenix than the previous season finale venue Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

Elliott has made nine starts at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, posting two top fives, five top 10s and a pole. His average finish at Phoenix is a strong 13.0, sixth-best in the series and second-best in the Championship 4 behind Denny Hamlin’s 11.3. Elliott is also near the top of the charts in several pre-race Loop Data categories at Phoenix with an Average Running Position of 8.930, second-best in the series, a Driver Rating of 105.3, second-best, 243 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best and 2,418 Laps in the Top 15 (85.5%), 13th-most. He started from the pole and finished seventh at Phoenix earlier this season.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Adam Gustafson  

Since making his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series as a Hendrick Motorsport’s crew chief in 2005, Adam Gustafson has shown that he is one of the best in the sport. During his 16 seasons of full-time competition, Gustafson has worked with five different drivers: Kyle Busch (2005-2007), Casey Mears (2008), Mark Martin (2009, 2010), Jeff Gordon (2011-2015) and Chase Elliott (2016-Present). And during those 16 seasons he led his drivers to 13 Playoff appearances and to wins in 12 of the seasons. This weekend at Phoenix will mark his second appearance in the Championship 4, his first appearance was with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon in 2015, they finished the season third in points.

 

The Elliott-Gustafson pair has combined for the following achievements in 176 NASCAR Cup Series races together since 2016:

  • 10 wins
  • 57 top fives
  • 94 top 10s
  • 2,938 laps led
  • 9 poles
  • One NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 appearance (2020)
  • Five consecutive NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs appearances (2016-2020)

 

The two will look to capture their first NASCAR Cup Series championship together this weekend at Phoenix Raceway. If they accomplish the feat, Gustafson will become the 41st different crew chief in the series with a championship.

 

Adding to the historic legacy of Hendrick Motorsports

When it comes to winning titles in the NASCAR Cup Series, no organization does it better than Hendrick Motorsports with their series leading 12 championships among three drivers – Jimmie Johnson (2016, ’13, ’10, ’09, ’08, ’07, ’06), NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon (2001, ’98, ’97, ’95) and Terry Labonte (1996).

 

Overall Hendrick Motorsports has 15 NASCAR national series owner championships, the all-time record in NASCAR.

 

And to boot, Hendrick Motorsports was the first organization in the series history to win four straight, from 1995-98 (Jeff Gordon in 1995 and 1997-98; Terry Labonte 1996). And then upped their record in the series with five straight, from 2006-2010 (Jimmie Johnson). Hendrick Motorsports has won 12 of the last 25 NASCAR Cup Series championships (1995-2019), putting the team's title-winning percentage during that span at 48% - series-best.

 

Chase Elliott can add to the legacy of Hendrick Motorsports this weekend by winning the title and extending the organization’s record in series championships. In total, 13 different organizations have won at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Hendrick Motorsports with 10 victories.

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

 

Hamlin By The Numbers:

2 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series career wins at Phoenix Raceway (2012, 2019).

3 – Number of appearances in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Championship 4 (2014, ’19 ‘20)

7 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series race wins during the 2020 season.

11 – Number of stage wins during the 2020 season.

9.0 – Average starting position for the first 35 races of the 2020 season.

9.5 – Average finishing position for the first 35 races of the 2020 season.

10.2 – Average starting position at Phoenix Raceway.

11.1 – Average finishing position during the first nine races of the 2020 Playoffs.

11.3 – Average finishing position at Phoenix Raceway. 

13 – Number of career top-five finishes at Phoenix Raceway. 

17 – Number of career top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway.

17 – Number of top-five finishes during the 2020 season.

20 – Number of top-10 finishes during the 2020 season.

54 – Total number of Playoff points accumulated in 2020, most among Champ 4.

97.7 – Career driver rating at Phoenix Raceway, fifth-best among active drivers.

100.3 – Season-to-date driver rating, fourth-best among active drivers.

821 – Total number of laps led at Phoenix Raceway.

1,083 - Total number of laps led in the 2020 season.

9,301 - Total number of laps completed in the 2020 season (99.3%).

 

Third time might be the charm for Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin burst on the NASCAR Cup Series scene fulltime in 2006, and ever since he has been a force in the series, year-in and year-out. The 39-year old has competed in the series for 15 full-time seasons, qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 14 of them. This season will mark the third time the Virginian has made the Championship 4 round (2014, 2019, 2020) and Hamlin is hoping this time is the year he gets his first title. If Hamlin were to accomplish the feat this weekend, he would also become the first NASCAR Cup Series driver from Virginia to win a championship.

 

In 2014 he qualified for the final round in the Playoffs, but finished seventh in the season finale at Homestead-Miami and ultimately third in the championship standings. Last season he advanced to Championship 4 for second time in his career, but a tough call on pit road in the season finale was costly for Hamlin and he finished the race in 10th and ultimately fourth in the final championship standings.

 

Hamlin’s best finish in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings came in 2010 when he finished runner-up in the points behind Jimmie Johnson.

 

Hamlin kicked off 2020 with his third victory in the Daytona 500, locking himself into the Playoffs in the opening week of the schedule. Since then, Hamlin has been one of the best in the series this year. In 35 starts, he has posted seven wins, 17 top fives and 20 top 10s. His average finish this season is a stout 9.5.

 

The path to Phoenix was a rocky one for Hamlin

The Joe Gibbs Racing standout, Denny Hamlin, had to bank on his series leading 54 Playoff points a few times this postseason, but despite the slow start he has advanced to the Championship 4.

 

Hamlin stumbled out of the gate this Playoffs finishing 13th (Darlington), 12th (Richmond) and 31st (Bristol) in the Round of 16. It wasn’t until the Round of 12 did he start to step it up, when he finished third at Las Vegas and won at Talladega to guarantee his spot in the Round of 8. He finished the Round of 12 with a 15th-place finish at the Charlotte ROVAL. In the Round of 8, Hamlin was methodical with his strategy and pointed his way into the Championship 4 by finishing 15th (Kansas), ninth (Texas) and 11th (Martinsville).

 

Denny Hamlin is the only driver from last season’s Championship 4 (Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick) to make it back to the final round in 2020. Hamlin and Joey Logano are the only two remaining title contenders with previous Championship 4 experience. Brad Keselowski won his series title in 2012 prior to the inception of the elimination-style Playoff format in 2014 and Elliott will be making his Championship 4 debut this weekend.

  

Hamlin’s previous performance in cactus country

For the first time in series history Phoenix Raceway will host the season finale race and set the stage for the Championship 4 to compete for the NASCAR Cup Series title. And the change in venue is a welcome one for Denny Hamlin.

 

The one-mile Phoenix Raceway is one of the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s best tracks in the NASCAR Cup Series, having made 30 series starts collecting two wins (2012, 2019), 13 top fives, 17 top 10s and two poles. His average finish at Phoenix is 11.267, fifth-best in the series and best among the Championship 4. He also ranks in the top 10 in several key pre-race Loop Data categories at Phoenix with an Average Running Position of 11.487, sixth-best in the series, a Driver Rating of 97.7, fifth-best, 453 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best and 6,759 Laps in the Top 15 (72.2), fifth-most. He started third and finished 20th in the Phoenix Cup race earlier this season.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Chris Gabehart

The powerful duo of driver Denny Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart are the only team from last season’s Championship 4 to make it in this season’s, proving they are a force to be reckoned with.

 

Since joining forces with Hamlin and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team, Gabehart has led the crew to 13 wins, including two Daytona 500 victories (2019, 2020), two Playoff appearances and two Championship 4 appearances (2019, 2020).

 

The Hamlin-Gabehart pair has combined for the following achievements in 68 NASCAR Cup Series races together since 2017:

 

  • 13 wins
  • 35 top fives
  • 43 top 10s
  • 1,874 laps led
  • 3 poles
  • Two consecutive NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 appearances (2019, 2020)
  • Two consecutive NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs appearances (2019, 2020)

 

Under Gabehart’s leadership this season, Hamlin has earned 15 top fives, 18 top 10s and has hoisted the most trophies (seven) since a career best eight-win year in 2010.

 

If Hamlin and Gabehart win the championship this season, Gabehart will become the 41st different crew chief in the series to win a championship.

 

Continuing Joe Gibbs Racing’s excellence

Denny Hamlin earned his first NASCAR Cup Series pole position at Phoenix in 2005 in only his sixth career start. The following year he marked his fulltime debut with Joe Gibbs Racing and he immediately started things on the right foot, winning the 2006 Daytona Speedweeks season-opening exhibition event, the Budweiser Shootout, in his first try. Since then Hamlin has earned 44 Cup points-race victories – picking up his third Daytona 500 win this February. Now the 39-year old is looking to bring the Joe Gibbs Racing organization it’s sixth NASCAR Cup Series championship; joining Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015 and 2019).

 

 

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford)

 

Keselowski By The Numbers:

2 – Number of career appearances in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 (2017, 2020).

6 – Number of top-five finishes at Phoenix Raceway. 

4 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series wins in 2020

7 – Number of stage wins during the 2020 season.

7.7 – Average starting position during the first 35 races of 2020 season.

10 – Number of top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway.

10.3 – Average finishing position during the 2020 season.

12 – Number of top-five finishes in the first 35 races of 2020 season.

12.1 – Average finishing position during the first nine races of the 2020 Playoffs.

13.5 – Average finishing position at Phoenix Raceway.

23 – Number of top-10 finishes during the 2020 season.

35 – Total number of Playoff points accumulated in 2020.

93.8 – Career driver rating at Phoenix Raceway – seventh-best among active drivers.

99.4 – Season-to-date driver rating – sixth-best among active drivers.

248 – Total number of laps led at Phoenix Raceway.

936 - Total number of laps led in the 2020 season.

9,427 - Total number of laps completed in the 2020 season (98.2%).

 

Keselowski looks to become third active multi-time Cup champion

Over the last two decades, winning multiple NASCAR Cup Series championships has been rare, only three drivers have accomplished the feat from 2000 to 2019 – seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson (2006-2010, 2013, 2016), three-time champ and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart (2002, 2005, 2011) and two-time champ Kyle Busch (2015, 2019). This season, Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski has the chance to add his name to the list and become just the third active driver with multiple titles.

 

Keselowski brought Team Penske their first NASCAR Cup Series championship back in 2012 and then Joey Logano secured the organization’s second Cup title in 2018.

 

One thing that has been consistent through the years at Team Penske is that Keselowski has been impressive in his career. He is currently riding a 10-year streak of at least one win each season in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has made the Playoffs nine times in his career and this weekend marks the second time he has advanced to the Championship 4 round (2017, 2020). In total, the 36-year old has put up 34 NASCAR Cup Series victories.

 

Looking back at the 2020 season, Keselowski slipped in the season-opener at Daytona finishing 36th due to an incident, but quickly recovered to ramble off three wins (Charlotte-1, Bristol and New Hampshire) and 19 top 10s to secure his spot in the postseason. He entered the Playoffs seeded third with 29 Playoffs points.

 

A late surge lifts Keselowski to Championship 4

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs have been a roller coaster ride for Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski. The 2012 series champ jumped into the postseason with an 11th-place finish at Darlington and then followed that up with a win at Richmond Raceway to secure his spot in the Round of 12.

 

Following his win at Richmond, Keselowski went on a skid laying down a 34th-place finish at Bristol, a 13th at Las Vegas and then 18th at both Talladega and the Charlotte ROVAL. Buoyed by his Playoff points, Keselowski barely made the Round of 8, but the opportunity gave him the chance to turn his postseason around and he did so by finishing fourth at Kansas and sixth at Texas. Heading into Martinsville last week Keselowski, held the fourth and final transfer spot into the Championship 4 and his fourth-place result at 0.526-mile track was enough to land his No. 2 team into the Championship 4.

 

Keselowski’s career performances in the Arizona desert

Though he has yet to win at Phoenix Raceway, Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski enters this weekend with a lot of optimism he can grab his second title.

 

The Michigan native driver has made 22 series starts at Phoenix Raceway posting six top fives and 10 top 10s. His average finish at Phoenix is 13.5, seventh-best in series and third-best among the Championship 4. Keselowski is also ranked in the top 10 in several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 12.179, seventh-best in the series, a Driver Rating of 93.8, seventh-best, 366 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best and 4,898 Laps in the Top 15 (71.3%), 10th-most. Keselowski started 14th and finished 11th in the Cup race at Phoenix early this season.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Jeremy Bullins

During the 2019 offseason Team Penske made headlines with a crew chief shake-up amongst its three teams and for the first time in in the Cup Series, Brad Keselowski and Jeremy Bullins were paired together for the 2020 season.

 

Jeremy Bullins began his NASCAR career with the Wood Brothers in 2000 as race engineer on the famous No. 21 team; a position he held until June 2002. From 2003 to 2011, Bullins worked with three different teams as race engineer in the NASCAR Cup Series – ST Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing and Richard Childress Racing.

 

In 2012, he accepted a position as crew chief for Team Penske’s No. 22 NASCAR Xfinity Series team. He led five drivers in 2012 and posted three wins with former champion Brad Keselowski – including the inaugural Indy 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bullins served as crew chief for four drivers in 2013 at Team Penske, leading the crew to 12 wins and Roger Penske’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series owner title. Bullins led the No. 22 team and five drivers in 2014 to Team Penske’s second NASCAR Xfinity Series owner title after posting six wins.

 

In 2015, Bullins returned to the Wood Brothers organization to lead the No. 21 team with Ryan Blaney in the NASCAR Cup Series. The pair worked together for three years at the Wood Brothers Racing organization before making the transition back to Team Penske in 2018 where he led Ryan Blaney to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs. Blaney eventually finished 10th in the final Cup Series point standings as he scored then career bests in top fives (eight), top 10s (16), poles (three) and laps led (660). Last season the duo closed out 2019 by finishing a career-best seventh in the final NASCAR Cup Series standings.

 

This season, Keselowski and Bullins have both been pulling in the same direction and it shows. The No. 2 team has not only qualified for the Championship 4 but has also put up some pretty decent numbers in the first 35 races together

  • 4 wins
  • 12 top fives
  • 23 top 10s
  • 936 laps led
  • NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 appearance in inaugural season together (2020)
  • NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs appearances in inaugural season together (2020)

 

If Keselowski and Bullins win the championship this season, Bullins will become the 41st different crew chief in the series to win a championship.

 

Delivering Team Penske its third title

He has done it once, he can do it again. At least that is what Team Penske is hoping this weekend at Phoenix Raceway as Brad Keselowski will attempt to bring the organization its third NASCAR Cup Series championship. Keselowski secured Roger Penske his first Cup title back in 2012 and Joey Logano grabbed the second in 2018.

 

In the Modern Era (1972-Present), only eight organizations have won multiple NASCAR Cup Series championships. Currently Team Penske (2012, 2018) is tied with Roush Fenway Racing (2003, 2004), and Stewart-Haas Racing (2011, 2014) with two titles each and looks to break the tie this weekend at Phoenix. 

 

NASCAR Cup Series (1972-Present) Multiple Champions

Rank

Multiple Championship Winning Organizations

Titles

1

Hendrick Motorsports

12

2

Richard Childress Racing

6

3

Junior Johnson & Associates

6

4

Joe Gibbs Racing

5

5

Petty Enterprises

4

6

Roush Fenway Racing

2

7

Stewart-Haas Racing

2

8

Team Penske

2

 

 

Team Penske has won three times at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series – the first was in 1998 with NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, and the next two were by Joey Logano in the Playoff race of 2016 and earlier this season.

 

 

Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford)

 

Logano By The Numbers:

2 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series race wins at Phoenix Raceway. 

3 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series wins in 2020.

4 – Number of career appearances in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 (2020).

5 – Number of top-five finishes at Phoenix Raceway. 

6 – Number of stage wins during the 2020 season.

6.5 – Average starting position during the first 35 races of 2020 season.

8.1 – Average finishing position during the first nine races of the 2020 Playoffs.

11 – Number of top-five finishes in the first 35 races of 2020 season.

12 – Number of top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway.

12.1 – Average finishing position during the 2020 season.

14.3 – Average finishing position at Phoenix Raceway.

20 – Number of top-10 finishes in the first 35 races of 2020 season.

22 – Total number of Playoff points accumulated in 2020.

98.4 – Career driver rating at Phoenix Raceway – eighth-best among active drivers.

101.0 – Season-to-date driver rating – third-best among active drivers.

449 – Total number of laps led at Phoenix Raceway.

814 - Total number of laps led in the 2020 season.

9,473 - Total number of laps completed in the 2020 season (98.7%).

 

Logano has a shot at second Cup title in three years

Team Penske’s Joey Logano has a chance to become just the 11th different driver to win two or more titles within three seasons and the 17th to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series championships.

 

Herb Thomas, Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly, Lee Petty, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson all won two or more of their multiple NASCAR Cup Series titles within a three-year period.

 

Drivers with Multiple Championships (1949-2019)

Rank

No. of Titles

Driver

Years

1

7

Jimmie Johnson

2016, ‘13, ’10, ‘09, ‘08, ‘07, ‘06

   

Dale Earnhardt

1994, ’93, ‘91, ‘90, ‘87, ‘86, ‘80

   

Richard Petty

1979, ‘75, ‘74, ‘72, ‘71, ‘67, ‘64

4

4

Jeff Gordon

2001, ‘98, ‘97, ‘95

5

3

Darrell Waltrip

1985, ‘82, ‘81

   

Cale Yarborough

1978, ‘77, ‘76

   

David Pearson

1969, ‘68, ‘66

   

Lee Petty

1959, ‘58, ‘54

   

Tony Stewart

2011, ‘05, ‘02

10

2

Kyle Busch

2019, '15

   

Terry Labonte

1996, ‘84

   

Ned Jarrett

1965, ‘61

   

Joe Weatherly

1963, ‘62

   

Buck Baker

1957, ‘56

   

Tim Flock

1955, ‘52

   

Herb Thomas

1953, ‘51

* 16 total multiple NASCAR Cup Series champions

 

Joey Logano started the 2020 season with high hopes in landing new crew chief Paul Wolfe. But they had a rough start in the season-opening Daytona 500 following an incident that relegated him to a 26th-place finish. But the 30-year old didn’t take any time to wallow, bouncing back the following week at Las Vegas with a win and an automatic berth to the Playoffs. He then collected another win at Phoenix Raceway just before the pandemic swept the nation. Once the series returned to action, Logano’s success slowed, and the 2018 series champ put up 12 top 10s to round out the regular season. He entered the 2020 Playoffs as the fourth seed with 22 Playoffs points.

 

No. 22 team’s path to the season finale at Phoenix

Team Penske’s Joey Logano has been a staple in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He has qualified for the Playoffs in seven of 12 seasons he has competed fulltime NASCAR Cup Series, and since the inception of the elimination-style format in 2014, Logano has made the Championship 4 round a total of four times (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020).

 

Besides the wild card that is Talladega, Joey Logano’s 2020 Playoff campaign has been the most consistent among the Championship 4. Logano not touts the best average finish (8.1) among the four title contenders through the first nine races of the postseason, but he also grabbed the first win of the Round of 8 to guarantee his spot in the season finale. 

 

In the Round of 16, No. 22 team and driver Joey Logano put up back-to-back third-place finishes at Darlington and Richmond and then closed out the round with an 11th at Bristol. The Round of 12 was the most treacherous for Logano throughout the postseason. He finished 14th at Las Vegas, 26th at Talladega due to an incident, but managed pullout a runner-up finish at the Charlotte ROVAL to advance to the Round of 8. Logano took the victory in Kansas locking himself into the Championship 4 and has been on cruise control ever since, finishing 10th at Texas and third last week at Martinsville.

 

Logano’s time to shine in the Valley of the Sun

Of the four drivers vying for the NASCAR Cup Series title this weekend at Phoenix Raceway, Team Penske Joey Logano has to be the most thrilled it will be decided on the one-mile oval in the Valley of the Sun, as he is the most recent winner.

 

Back in March, Joey Logano started 13th at Phoenix and raced his way to the win leading 60 of the scheduled 316 laps. Logano actually passed his teammate Brad Keselowski for the lead in the closing laps for the victory. In total, Logano has made 23 series starts at Phoenix posting two wins (2016, 2020), five top fives and 12 top 10s. His average finish is 14.348, ninth-best in the series, but fourth among the Championship 4. Expect Logano to be in the mix this weekend at Phoenix, he ranked in the top 10 in several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 12.205, eighth-best, a Driver Rating of 91.4, eighth-best, 215 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best and 5,001 Laps in the Top 15 (69.7%), ninth-most.

 

The Wolfe in the room 

Of the four crew chiefs contending this weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series title, none have been as successful as Paul Wolfe, and now the veteran crew chief has another chance at becoming the 16th different crew chief with multiple Cup championships. 

 

Crew Chiefs with Multiple Championships (1949-2019)

Rank

No. of Titles 

Crew Chiefs

Years

1

8

Dale Inman

1964, '67, '71, '72, '74, '75, '79, '84

2

7

Chad Knaus

2006, '07, '08, '09, '10, '13, '16

3

4

Kirk Shelmerdine

1986, '87, '90, '91

4

3

Ray Evernham

1995, '97, '98

   

Bud Moore

1957, '62, '63

   

Lee Petty 

1954, '58, '59

7

2

Adam Stevens

2015, '19

   

Greg Zipadelli

2002, '05

   

Andy Petree

1993, '94

   

Jeff Hammond

1982, '85

   

Tim Brewer

1978, '81

   

Herb Nab

1976, '77

   

Jake Elder

1968, '69

   

Carl Kiekhaefer

1955, '56

   

Smokey Yunick

1951, '53

* 15 total NASCAR Cup Series Crew Chief champions

 

Before becoming a crew chief, Paul Wolfe competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driving for car owners Ray Evernham, Armando Fitz, Tommy Baldwin Jr. and Eddie D’Hondt from

2003 – 2005. Wolfe’s first NASCAR crew chief opportunity came at Fitz Bradshaw Racing in 2006. He then moved to Braun Racing in 2008 and then CJM Racing in 2009 before settling at Team Penske in 2010. 

 

In 2010 Wolfe led Brad Keselowski to the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship after posting six wins on the season. In 2011 the duo made the leap to the NASCAR Cup Series and in just their second season together in the NASCAR Cup Series (2012), he led Brad Keselowski to the series championship, becoming the first crew chief in NASCAR history to win a NASCAR Cup Series and a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship as the duo posted five wins in 2012.

 

From 2011-2019, Keselowski and Wolfe put up 29 wins, 110 top fives and 175 top 10s. This season Wolfe joined Joey Logano and the No. 22 team and hasn’t missed a beat. In 2020, the No. 22 team has posted three wins, 11 top fives and 20 top 10s – including the victory at Phoenix earlier this season.

 

Team Penske’s chance at a third title

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 is comprised of four drivers from three organizations – Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. Since one organization managed to qualify two teams for the Championship 4, their odds of winning are double that of the other two organizations – making Team Penske the odds-on favorite for the title this weekend.

 

Not only has Team Penske won the most recent race at Phoenix Raceway (back in March), but the organization has a total of three wins at the one-mile track – Rusty Wallace (1998), Joey Logano (2016 and 2020).

 

Team Penske is currently tied with Roush Fenway Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing for the sixth most NASCAR Cup Series championships in the Modern Era (1972-Present). If Team Penske accomplishes the feat this weekend, they would break the tie with RFR and SHR and become solely in the sixth position among owner championships with three just behind Petty Enterprises with four (in the Modern Era). 

 

 

 

  Xfinity series 

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Austin Cindric Wins 2020 Xfinity Championship in Overtime at Phoenix

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Image

By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

After establishing the pace most of the afternoon, 22-year old Austin Cindric ultimately relied on raw determination to claim the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. The Team Penske driver pulled off the most clutch lap-pass of his young career to take the race victory in Saturday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 and earn his first NASCAR title.

After pitting for tires just before a final overtime restart, Cindric was able to work his way forward at the final green flag and got around Noah Gragson on the last lap – driving away to a .162-second victory for his sixth win of the season, easily the most celebrated of his career.

After celebratory donuts in his car, Cindric pulled himself out of the driver’s window, climbed on top of his bright yellow No. 22 Team Penske Ford and flashed No. 1 victory signs on both hands before waving a giant champion’s flag.

“There was a lot of work put into this race car,” a grinning Cindric said, carefully taking the time to thank everyone from his team owner, NASCAR Hall of Famer Roger Penske, to his sponsors, his team, pit crew, spotter and ultimately his mom and dad.

“I’m speechless, I can’t believe it. You know the equipment you’re in is the best of the best and the people you’re working with are the best of the best,” he added.

Certainly as exuberant as Cindric understandably was, the other three members of the Championship 4 felt disappointment and dismay. Veteran Justin Allgaier, who led a race high 77 laps – five more laps out front than Cindric – was in position to try and secure his first NASCAR title.

The 34-year old driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet kept the field honest consistently throughout the evening but ultimately on that last restart Allgaier was unable to hold off Cindric who had fresher tires and was able to muscle around Allgaier and Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammate Gragson.

Allgaier finished fifth and the other Championship 4 drivers: Justin Haley and Chase Briscoe finished eighth and ninth, respectively.

Gragson (second), Brandon Jones (third) and Michael Annett (fifth) were the non-Playoff drivers to finish in the top-five. Harrison Burton, Ross Chastain, Haley, Briscoe and Jeremy Clements round out the top-10.

“So close but so far away,” Allgaier said. “First of all, hats off to Austin and the entire Team Penske group, they’ve been strong competitors all year. To have the race they did tonight, they were obviously the best car and they deserved to win. I’m proud of my guys, proud of everybody at JR Motorsports.

“We had a shot at it at the end and when it’s all said and done, that’s all you can really ask for.”

For most of the race the title contending quartet ran up front. In addition to Cindric and Allgaier, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver Chase Briscoe showed the speed that had made him the winningest driver in the series this year. He won a career-high and season-best nine races and led 41 laps on this championship night, but a struggle to get his car comfortable, a late race spin and the loss of track position was a setback he ultimately couldn’t overcome.

“Just a frustrating day, this is by far not my best race track,” said Briscoe, who will move into the SHR team’s No. 14 NASCAR Cup Series ride next year.

“At the start of the race for me, just to lead laps here, I was like ‘wow this is different.’ I was just so loose at the beginning of the race and as the night came I was freer and freer and I don’t know how many times I about wrecked into one. I ended up hitting the wall. I’ve got to do a whole lot better job. There’s just something about this place that I really struggle at. We have a lot of homework to do.

“Definitely frustrating to finish fourth in the championship after the year we had, but overall to win nine races, it’s been a phenomenal year.”

Haley, a three-race winner in 2020, didn’t lead any laps in his No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, but he rallied from a slow start and kept his car competitively among the top 10.

“It’s been awesome,” Haley said of his Playoff berth. “Just the growth of this Kaulig Racing team from when I stepped into it last year and were out in the first round of the Playoffs.

“Just the courage and the faith and everyone at Kaulig Racing, we bet on each other. I love it. I love everyone there. Super excited and super blessed to have another year. Doesn’t sting as much because I know next year I get another chance at it.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 22nd Annual Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Saturday, November 7, 2020

  1. (3)  Austin Cindric (P), Ford, 206.
  2. (6)  Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 206.
  3. (8)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, 206.
  4. (10)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 206.
  5. (1)  Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 206.
  6. (5)  Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 206.
  7. (7)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 206.
  8. (4)  Justin Haley (P), Chevrolet, 206.
  9. (2)  Chase Briscoe (P), Ford, 206.
  10. (13)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 206.
  11. (9)  Riley Herbst #, Toyota, 206.
  12. (14)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 205.
  13. (16)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 205.
  14. (27)  BJ McLeod, Toyota, 205.
  15. (33)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, 205.
  16. (29)  David Starr, Chevrolet, 205.
  17. (31)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 205.
  18. (15)  Myatt Snider #, Chevrolet, 204.
  19. (12)  Brett Moffitt(i), Chevrolet, 204.
  20. (25)  Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 204.
  21. (21)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 203.
  22. (30)  Kody Vanderwal #, Chevrolet, 203.
  23. (19)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 203.
  24. (24)  Mason Diaz, Toyota, 202.
  25. (18)  Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 201.
  26. (34)  JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 200.
  27. (23)  Joe Graf Jr #, Chevrolet, 199.
  28. (37)  Stan Mullis, Toyota, 198.
  29. (20)  Jesse Little #, Chevrolet, 198.
  30. (36)  Jesse Iwuji(i), Chevrolet, 197.
  31. (11)  Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 196.
  32. (22)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 185.
  33. (28)  Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 124.
  34. (17)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Engine, 73.
  35. (32)  Matt Mills, Toyota, Accident, 36.
  36. (26)  Donald Theetge, Chevrolet, Accident, 27.
  37. (35)  CJ McLaughlin, Chevrolet, Accident, 27.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  92.342 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 13 Mins, 51 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.162 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  8 for 47 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   J. Allgaier (P) 1-6;C. Briscoe (P) 7-33;J. Allgaier (P) 34;C. Briscoe (P) 35-48;J. Allgaier (P) 49;T. Martins 50-52;J. Allgaier (P) 53-82;A. Cindric (P) 83-93;J. Allgaier (P) 94;B. Jones 95-97;J. Allgaier (P) 98-129;A. Cindric (P) 130-162;R. Chastain 163-172;A. Cindric (P) 173-199;J. Allgaier (P) 200-204;N. Gragson 205;A. Cindric (P) 206.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Justin Allgaier (P) 7 times for 76 laps; Austin Cindric (P) 4 times for 72 laps; Chase Briscoe (P) 2 times for 41 laps; Ross Chastain 1 time for 10 laps; Brandon Jones 1 time for 3 laps; Tommy Joe Martins 1 time for 3 laps; Noah Gragson 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 98,22,7,9,10,1,11,20,18,19

Stage #2 Top Ten: 22,7,98,19,9,1,11,20,51,21

 

 

Martinsville Victor Harrison Burton Snatches Another Xfinity Playoff win

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Image

By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

Harrison Burton may have fallen out of championship contention weeks ago, but the 20-year old is driving every bit like one right now earning his second consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series victory Saturday afternoon in the Draft Top 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota held off veteran and NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff contender Justin Allgaier by a mere .355-seconds and led the final 53 laps of the race to become the youngest winner (20 years, 22 days) in series history at the famed half-mile track – bettering his own father Jeff Burton’s mark (23 years, two months, 24 days).

Burton’s 81 laps out front on the day was best in the field and his win was the rookie’s fourth on the season. It came in the series first race at Martinsville Speedway since 2006.

“Great race car and best team in the garage,” Burton excitedly told his father, a broadcaster on the NBC race telecast as he made his way to the finish line for a victory burnout.

And while it was an important personal triumph for the second-generation driver, Burton’s victory had an important impact on the ultimate championship battle – three of the final four championship-eligible positions were decided by points. Allgaier’s runner-up effort was good enough to allow him to transfer to the title round next week at Phoenix, joining Saturday’s 10th-place finisher Austin Cindric, 12th-place finisher Justin Haley and seventh-place Chase Briscoe, who had already advanced with a win two weeks ago.

Crossing the line just behind Burton and Allgaier to round out the top five Saturday were Noah Gragson, the winner’s cousin, Jeb Burton and Ross Chastain – with  Gragson and Chastain falling just short of advancing into the Championship 4 round. Brandon Jones (ninth place) and Ryan Sieg (11th place) also failed to earn a position in the Championship 4.

Those motivated to earn a title shot certainly put in the effort, however. Gragson won the Stage 1 and led 23 laps on the day. Chastain won Stage 2 and led 31 laps on the afternoon.

Pit strategy ultimately played a big role, however. Non-championship contenders such as Burton and veteran A.J. Allmendinger, who led 68 laps, were able to gamble on pit stop timing and track position. Allmendinger had the lead after the Stage 2 restart and he and Burton were the only two drivers to trade the top position from there out while the early leaders navigated back up through the field in traffic – dicing through cars pursuing their own agendas.

Of the four drivers who have advanced to decide the championship next week at Phoenix, Allgaier is the only one with previous experience in the Championship 4. This will be the 34-year old driver of the JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet’s fourth chance to earn the title. His previous best championship finish in this Playoff format was third – both in 2016 and 2017. He is a three-race winner this season.

Briscoe, 25, who has a series best nine victories in the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, has a best championship finish of fifth – last year. Cindric, the regular season champion and a five-race winner in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, is also making his Championship 4 debut. His previous best showing was sixth place in last year’s championship. Haley, 21, the driver of the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet and three-race winner in 2020, will also be making his Championship 4 debut.

“A lot of boxes checked for us today, I feel like we’ve had to points race the entire Playoffs,” Cindric said. “And it’s been really annoying. We’ve brought some really fast race cars to the tracks in the last few weeks and our guys did an incredible job coming to the race track with no notebook and really basing it off the Ford simulator of notes from the Cup guys. Really proud of that effort. It’s a year’s worth of work and going to try to go take advantage of it next week.”

“I think we have to go there prepared to win the race,” Cindric added.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action to decide the 2021 championship, Saturday, Nov. 7 in the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway (at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Draft Top 250

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Saturday, October 31, 2020

  1. (10)  Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 250.
  2. (6)  Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 250.
  3. (2)  Noah Gragson (P), Chevrolet, 250.
  4. (8)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 250.
  5. (4)  Ross Chastain (P), Chevrolet, 250.
  6. (24)  Riley Herbst #, Toyota, 250.
  7. (5)  Chase Briscoe (P), Ford, 250.
  8. (11)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 250.
  9. (7)  Brandon Jones (P), Toyota, 250.
  10. (1)  Austin Cindric (P), Ford, 250.
  11. (9)  Ryan Sieg (P), Chevrolet, 250.
  12. (3)  Justin Haley (P), Chevrolet, 250.
  13. (14)  Brett Moffitt(i), Chevrolet, 250.
  14. (39)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 250.
  15. (23)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 250.
  16. (15)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 250.
  17. (34)  Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 250.
  18. (12)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 250.
  19. (13)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 250.
  20. (38)  Mason Diaz, Toyota, 250.
  21. (25)  Joe Graf Jr #, Chevrolet, 250.
  22. (19)  Jesse Little #, Chevrolet, 249.
  23. (22)  Myatt Snider #, Chevrolet, 249.
  24. (35)  Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 249.
  25. (27)  Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 248.
  26. (36)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 248.
  27. (16)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 247.
  28. (20)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 246.
  29. (26)  Kody Vanderwal #, Chevrolet, 246.
  30. (33)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 246.
  31. (28)  Donald Theetge, Chevrolet, 245.
  32. (37)  Carl Long, Toyota, 244.
  33. (29)  BJ McLeod, Toyota, 239.
  34. (17)  Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 233.
  35. (30)  Gray Gaulding(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 230.
  36. (21)  Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 178.
  37. (32)  Chad Finchum, Toyota, Engine, 120.
  38. (18)  Matt Mills, Toyota, Oil Line, 103.
  39. (31)  Josh Reaume(i), Chevrolet, Suspension, 62.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  61.673 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 7 Mins, 56 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.355 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  10 for 63 laps.

Lead Changes:  11 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Cindric (P) 0;A. Cindric (P) 1-42;N. Gragson (P) 43-63;H. Burton # 64;J. Yeley(i) 65-69;H. Burton # 70-80;N. Gragson (P) 81-82;H. Burton # 83-92;R. Chastain (P) 93-123;A. Allmendinger 124-184;H. Burton # 185-190;A. Allmendinger 191-197;H. Burton # 198-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Harrison Burton # 5 times for 81 laps; AJ Allmendinger 2 times for 68 laps; Austin Cindric (P) 1 time for 42 laps; Ross Chastain (P) 1 time for 31 laps; Noah Gragson (P) 2 times for 23 laps; JJ Yeley(i) 1 time for 5 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 9,20,22,10,11,16,19,7,1,98

Stage #2 Top Ten: 10,9,11,7,22,19,02,16,20,13

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200

The Place: Phoenix Raceway

The Date: Saturday, November 7

The Time: 5 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 4:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio                   

Distance: 200 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 (In Alphabetical Order)

Below is an in-depth look at the four drivers who have qualified for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 and will race for the title at Phoenix Raceway in the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 on Saturday, Nov. 7 (at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Justin Allgaier (No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro)

Following a three-win season and a second-place finish last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, JR Motorsports’ driver Justin Allgaier punched his ticket to the Championship 4 finale at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday. Allgaier’s season started out as a struggle and it wasn’t until his first win of the season at the first race of the Dover International Speedway doubleheader that things started to turn around. Up until that point, Allgaier had five DNF’s and was involved in various on-track incidents that put him out of races early. However, aside from those issues, his other finishes were consistent, and he was always running up front, having led 932 laps so far this season. Now for the fourth time in five years the veteran driver has a shot at the Xfinity championship in Phoenix – he finished third is his first two Championship 4 appearances (2016, 2017) and fourth in last season’s appearance.

 

Allgaier has made 32 series starts in 2020 gathering three wins (Dover-1 and both Richmond races), 10 top fives, and 18 top 10s. He has also led 932 laps this season and has managed an average start of 9.5 and an average finish of 13.6. In addition, Allgaier has posted solid season-to-date loop data stats, including a driver rating of 104.0 (fifth-best), an average running position of 8.490 (fifth-best), a total of 449 fastest laps run (third-most), and completed 89.4% of his laps (4,909) in the top 15 (second-best).  

 

Playoff Recap: Allgaier has had an up-and-down Playoff run this season. The first round started off with a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The following week at Talladega, Allgaier finished 29th and the Round of 12 ended at the Charlotte ROVAL, where he finished 23rd. In the next round, he kicked off with a 10th-place finish at Kansas Speedway but went on to Texas Motor Speedway and finished 26th. Martinsville Speedway last weekend was a nail-biter, as he needed every point he could get to solidify his Championship 4 spot but with a second-place finish and a win in Stage 2, Allgaier pulled it off.

 

Phoenix Outlook: Expect Allgaier to run well this weekend for the title, as he has the most NASCAR Xfinity Series starts (20) at Phoenix Raceway among the Championship 4. Allgaier has two wins (2017, 2019) and seven top fives and 12 top 10s. He has an average start of 10.2 and an average finish of 8.8 and has led 385 laps. With this being the first time the season finale is at Phoenix Raceway, and with Allgaier having won the second race at the track last season, expect the momentum from the No. 7 team to be strong on Saturday.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Jason Burdett, crew chief for the JR Motorsport’s No. 7 Chevrolet team, began his racing career with several local teams around the Watkins Glen area. In 1998, he transitioned to North Carolina and joined Robert Yates Racing. A year later, he helped Jarrett’s team to the title as a tire specialist. He then moved to Hendrick Motorsports, and in 2001 Burdett earned a second championship with driver Jeff Gordon. In 2007, Burdett joined Michael Waltrip Racing, reuniting with Jarrett, and serving as crew chief of the No. 44 team in the latter half of the season. It was there he honed his skills at the top level of NASCAR competition and leveraged the experience into a return to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. In the five years since, Burdett excelled as car chief on the No. 24 team from 2008-10 before moving over to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 team from 2011-14. In 2015, he joined JR Motorsports as crew chief of the No. 7 car with driver Regan Smith; the pair finished fourth in series standings that season. Allgaier replaced Smith in the No. 7 car in 2016 and duo has worked together ever since producing 11 wins and four Championship 4 appearances.

 

Team Talk: JR Motorsports has won three NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championships, all with Sunoco rookies – Chase Elliott in 2014, William Byron (2017) and Tyler Reddick (2018). JR Motorsports began its NASCAR Xfinity Series program in 2005 with driver Mark McFarland and since has won 51 series races; including five this season. JR Motorsports has 1,317 starts in the Xfinity Series with 357 top fives and 744 top 10s.

 

Chase Briscoe (No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang)

Following a career-best season, Chase Briscoe punched his ticket to Phoenix in the first race of the Round of 8 at Kansas Speedway. Briscoe was unstoppable this season, racking up nine wins in 32 races. In only his second full-time season in the Xfinity Series, the Mitchell, Indiana driver heads to Phoenix Raceway as one of the favorites to win the championship. It was also announced a few weeks ago that Briscoe will make the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series next season, taking over the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford for Clint Bowyer. In 82 Xfinity Series career starts, he has 11 wins.

 

Briscoe, the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year, has made 32 series starts in 2020 gathering nine wins (Las Vegas-1, Darlington-1, Homestead-Miami-2, Pocono, Indianapolis Road Course, Dover-2, Bristol-2, Las Vegas-2, Kansas-2), 16 top fives, and 21 top 10s. He has also led 991 laps this season and has managed an average start of 6.4 and an average finish of 8.4. In addition, Briscoe’s season-to-date loop data statistics have been some for the books, too, including a driver rating of 110.2 (second-best), an average running position of 7.722 (third-best), a total of 557 fastest laps run (second-most), and completed 86.6% of his laps (4,561) in the top 15 (sixth-best).  

 

Playoff Recap: With the uncertainty that some of the tracks in the Playoffs brought, Briscoe’s wins in both opening races of the Round of 12 and Round of 8, made his run to the Championship 4 a little bit less stressful. Winning at Las Vegas-2 punched his ticket to the Round of 8 so his 19th-place finish and 18th-place finish at Talladega and the Charlotte ROVAL didn’t completely count him out. He then went on to win at Kansas-2, the opening race of the Round of 8 and has less pressure heading to Texas Motor Speedway, where he finished 24th, and Martinsville Speedway last weekend, where he finished seventh.  

 

Phoenix Outlook: Briscoe has three starts at Phoenix Raceway. He made his debut at the track last season and finished sixth. In the second race at the track in 2019, he finished eighth and earlier this season, he finished sixth. Like every other weekend, expect Briscoe to start at the front and be a race-winning contender during the duration of the race. With more time to prepare for Phoenix than other teams, Briscoe will head into Saturday’s race with momentum on his side.

 

Crew Chief Corner: As a former child, Richard Boswell can appreciate and understand the needs of his driver and team. Boswell’s motorsports career started by helping his father, Dickie Boswell, working on his late model stock car. His father competed in 57 Xfinity Series races spread over six seasons in the 1980’s. Boswell followed in his father’s footsteps and went on to win multiple World Karting Association national titles in 1998. He graduated to late model racing in 2001 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. noticed Boswell’s talent and brought him over to JR Motorsports in 2006. He piloted the team’s entry in the Hooters Pro Cup Series and made 19 starts with three top fives while also working on the Xfinity Series program for the team. It was then then that Boswell decided to focus on becoming a top crew chief in NASCAR. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, all while racing on his own. In 2014, Boswell worked on Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson and returned to JR Motorsports in 2015. Two years later, Boswell transitioned to Stewart-Haas Racing to lead the team’s part-time effort. Boswell worked with veterans Kevin Harvick and Arica Almirola. After back-to-back part-time schedules with various drivers at SHR, Boswell joined Chase Briscoe full-time in 2019. Together, they have 10 wins, 29 top fives and 47 top 10s.

 

Team Talk: Stewart-Haas Racing hasn’t won a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship yet. The team began its NASCAR Xfinity Series program in 2017 and has since won 18 races, nine of them in this season. Stewart-Haas Racing finished runner-up last season with Cole Custer in the Championship 4. Briscoe made the Playoffs but was eliminated in the Round of 8 in 2019. By virtue of Custer’s second-place finish in the 2018 finale, the team won their first Xfinity Series owners’ championship by one point over Chip Ganassi Racing.

 

Austin Cindric (No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang)

It was a career season for Austin Cindric, who grabbed five wins with three of them coming back-to-back. Cindric swept the Kentucky Speedway doubleheader weekend and then went on to win at the first Texas Motor Speedway. Cindric, who announced that he would return to the Team Penske No. 22 in 2021, also announced that he would be promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, taking over the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. Cindric’s first win at Kentucky automatically put him in the Playoffs.

 

Cindric has made 32 series starts in 2020 gathering five wins (Kentucky-1 & 2, Texas-1, Road America and Daytona Road Course), 18 top fives, and 25 top 10s. He has also led 875 laps this season and has managed an average start of 6.6 and an average finish of 8.9. In addition, Cindric has posted great numbers in season-to-date loop data stats, including a driver rating of 111.0 (series-best), an average running position of 7.530 (second-best), a total of 571 fastest laps run (series-best), and completed 86.2% of his laps (4,544) in the top 15 (seventh-best).  

 

Playoff Recap: In the Round of 12, Cindric finished in sixth place in the Playoffs opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The following week at Talladega Superspeedway, Cindric finished 34th and looked to the following week at the Charlotte ROVAL to clinch his spot in the next round. At the ROVAL, he finished with another sixth-place finish. In the Round of 8, Cindric struggled after being involved in a couple on-track incidents and opened the round at Kansas Speedway with a 28th-place result. But a fourth-place finish at Texas-2 and a 10th-place finish last weekend at Martinsville were good enough to punch his ticket to the Championship 4.

 

Phoenix Outlook: Cindric has had pretty good results at Phoenix Raceway in the past and you can expect him to be running up front on Saturday. This weekend will mark his sixth start at the track. He has two top fives and four top 10s in those starts. He’s led 25 laps and has an average start of 6.6 and an average finish of 7.8. Cindric was eliminated from the Playoffs last season and in 2018 in the Round of 8. This will be Cindric’s first Championship 4 appearance.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Brian Wilson, crew chief or the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, joined Team Penske in 2004. He first served as a shock specialist with the team. Since then, he has served as a race engineer on the No. 22 NASCAR Xfinity Series team as well as the No. 2 NASCAR Cup Series team. Wilson played a role in the first two championships. He was the race engineer on the No. 22 team that won the Xfinity Series title in 2010 and was also the race engineer in 2012 on the No. 2 Cup Series team. In 2016, Team Penske announced that Wilson would be the crew chief for the No. 22 Xfinity Series Ford. Since he was named crew chief in 2016, he has 129 starts, 17 wins, 66 top fives and 99 top 10s.

 

Team Talk: Team Penske won three consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series owner championships from 2013-15, tying Roger Penske with William Baumgardner and Joe Gibbs for the longest consecutive streak in series history. Team Penske added a fourth owner championship in 2017.  This year marks Team Penske’s 18th year competing in the Xfinity Series. The team has 630 starts, 75 victories, 295 top fives and 436 top 10s.

 

Justin Haley (No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro)

Justin Haley is also having a career-best season in 2020. In only his second full-time season in the Xfinity Series, Haley captured his first career victory at Talladega Superspeedway. He then went on to win at Daytona International Speedway and the second race at Talladega Superspeedway. Haley’s third win of his career and third of the season at Talladega marked his third straight victory in a superspeedway event, a streak matched only by Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 

Haley has made 32 series starts in 2020 gathering three wins (Talladega-1 & 2, Daytona-2), 10 top fives, and 20 top 10s. He has led 113 laps this season and has managed an average start of 7.3 and an average finish of 10.4. In addition, Haley has posted solid season-to-date loop data stats, including a driver rating of 96.6 (seventh-best), an average running position of 9.225 (seventh-best), a total of 185 fastest laps run (eighth-most), and completed 87.9% of his laps (4,629) in the top 15 (fifth-best).  

 

Playoff Recap: Haley has been extremely consistent during the duration of the Playoffs. At the opener in Las Vegas, Haley finished 10th and then he went on to win at Talladega, securing his spot in the Round of 8. At the Charlotte ROVAL, he finished 35th but didn’t have to worry since he won the week prior. In the Round of 8 opener at Kansas Speedway, Haley finished fourth and the following week at Texas, he finished seventh. Last weekend, Haley’s 12th-place finish was just enough to get him into the Championship 4.  

 

Phoenix Outlook: Saturday will be Haley’s fourth start at Phoenix Raceway in his Xfinity Series career. He has one top five and two top 10s, his best finish coming most recently earlier this season in fifth. He completed all laps attempted at the track and has an average start of 12.7 and average finish of 8.0.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Alex Yontz, crew chief for the No. 11 Chevrolet of Justin Haley, has been crew chief since July 2019. Yontz is in his 18th year in racing after getting his start in go-karts at a young age. He went on to race in various series including Legends cars, Late Models, ASA National Series, ARCA and the Gander Trucks. Yontz has 55 starts as a crew chief for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series. He has for wins, 14 top fives and 30 top 10s. This is his first Championship 4 appearance.

 

Team Talk: This weekend will mark Kaulig Racing’s first Championship 4 appearance. In 2019, Haley made it to the Playoffs but was eliminated in the Round of 12. In 2018, Ryan Truex made the Xfinity Series Playoffs but was also eliminated in the Round of 12. In 2017, Blake Koch made the Playoffs for the second season in a row but only made it to the first round. Kaulig Racing’s first start in the Xfinity Series was in 2016. In the team’s five years, the have 224 starts, seven wins, 41 top fives and 105 top 10s.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year finale – It will be hard for Harrison Burton to not win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series. Burton has 2,211 points and leads Riley Herbst in second by 32 points. Burton has won 21 awards and Herbst has won nine.

 

Xfinity Owner championship update – The four cars and drivers that made it to the driver Playoff standings Championship 4 are the same in the owner Playoff standings this season; guaranteeing a unified driver and owner championship this year. 

 

Manufacturers championship – Chevrolet is currently leading the OEM championship standings with 10 wins and 1,155 points. Ford is in second with 14 wins and 1,126 points. Toyota is sitting in third with eight wins and 1,069 points.

 

 

  gander outdoors truck series 

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Sheldon Creed Makes Daring Move to Win 2020 Gander Trucks Championship

Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

Championship finalist Sheldon Creed had already apologized to his race team as his No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado began to fall back in the closing laps of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship race at Phoenix Raceway.

And then a yellow flag came out – with three laps remaining. Creed gambled on a pit stop for fresh tires even as the race leaders – fellow championship contenders Brett Moffitt and Grant Enfinger stayed on track. Creed restarted eighth but made an amazing four-wide move on the bottom of the track to pull back into the lead with a lap to go and held off rookie teammate Zane Smith by a mere .617-seconds to earn his first NASCAR national series championship trophy in a dramatic season finale at the one-mile track.

“I can’t believe it, thank you so much,” the 23-year old Californian, Creed screamed into his team radio as he crossed the finish line.

“The caution came out and we were like, ‘we’ve got nothing to lose’,” Creed said of the decision to pit for tires. “I pride myself on my restarts week-in and week-out and just nailed the restart right there.

“I was just driving as hard as I can, I wanted this thing so bad.”

It was particularly heart-wrenching for Creed’s teammate Brett Moffitt, who led a race best 78 of the 155 laps and had held the front position for 59 laps when that final caution came out for Dawson Cram’s spinning No. 41 Chevrolet. The 2018 series champion, Moffitt, was essentially left helpless on the restart as all the trucks with fresh tires – plus a pair of title contenders – came at him in a five-wide title-on-the-line run for the checkered.

“It’s frustrating losing like that,” Moffitt said. “It would have been an honor to win with this paint scheme in honor of [NASCAR Cup Series champion] Jimmie Johnson,” said Moffitt, adding, “I guess if broken legs isn’t enough of a handicap, race strategy is.”

Moffitt , driver of the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet, was referring to an accident he had prior to the COVID-19 NASCAR pause in competition, that broke both his legs. He recovered and valiantly made a run for the title despite the physical setback.

Smith, the third GMS Racing team driver, was similarly frustrated on pit road after the race. He earned two wins on the season and the series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Honors, but the disappointment in Friday night’s outcome was obvious post-race.

“Honestly, I’m happy for Sheldon, he had an amazing year along with us,” said the 21-year old Californian. “Man, nothing hurts more than to be the first loser.”

Non-championship contenders Chandler Smith finished third, Christian Eckes and Raphael Lessard rounded out the top five. Last year’s Phoenix winner Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes, Tyler Ankrum, Todd Gilliland and Moffitt rounded out the top-10.

The fourth member of the Championship 4, Grant Enfinger certainly turned in an impressive rally on the night. After earning his championship chance last week in a wild finish at Martinsville, Va. Enfinger was chasing Moffitt down in the closing laps before the yellow flag.

Like Moffitt, he stayed out during the caution and was also passed on the frantic ensuing restart by trucks with fresher tires. He finished 13th in the No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford.

“We just couldn’t go on a short run,” Enfinger said. “We had good speed on a long run, but just couldn’t pass after that. So we got off sequence. That worked. [Crew chief Jeff] Hensley was leaning towards tires at the end. I was leaning against it just to do something different, and we ended up staying out. That cost us.

“It just is what it is. We didn’t have quite the short run speed to legitimately contend tonight, but, man, a great season by these guys. I’m gonna try not to be too sad leaving here because it’s been a great year. It’s just unfortunate the way it turned out tonight.”

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race – 26th Annual Lucas Oil 150

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Friday, November 6, 2020

  1. (3)  Sheldon Creed (P), Chevrolet, 156.
  2. (2)  Zane Smith # (P), Chevrolet, 156.
  3. (21)  Chandler Smith, Toyota, 156.
  4. (7)  Christian Eckes #, Toyota, 156.
  5. (13)  Raphael Lessard #, Toyota, 156.
  6. (9)  Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 156.
  7. (6)  Ben Rhodes, Ford, 156.
  8. (10)  Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, 156.
  9. (22)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 156.
  10. (4)  Brett Moffitt (P), Chevrolet, 156.
  11. (16)  Johnny Sauter, Ford, 156.
  12. (17)  Austin Hill, Toyota, 156.
  13. (1)  Grant Enfinger (P), Ford, 156.
  14. (5)  Matt Crafton, Ford, 156.
  15. (23)  Tanner Gray #, Ford, 156.
  16. (32)  Dylan Lupton, Ford, 156.
  17. (15)  Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 156.
  18. (12)  Trevor Bayne, Chevrolet, 156.
  19. (28)  Tate Fogleman #, Chevrolet, 156.
  20. (14)  Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 156.
  21. (25)  Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 155.
  22. (20)  Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 154.
  23. (27)  Spencer Davis #, Toyota, 154.
  24. (8)  Derek Kraus #, Toyota, 153.
  25. (26)  Tyler Hill, Chevrolet, 153.
  26. (11)  Danny Bohn, Toyota, 153.
  27. (18)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 152.
  28. (24)  Dawson Cram, Chevrolet, 152.
  29. (33)  Robby Lyons(i), Chevrolet, 152.
  30. (29)  Akinori Ogata, Toyota, 150.
  31. (30)  Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 147.
  32. (19)  Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, Accident, 103.
  33. (31)  Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, Brakes, 44.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  99.557 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 34 Mins, 1 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.617 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 28 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Z. Smith # (P) 1-48;G. Enfinger (P) 49;S. Creed (P) 50-74;B. Moffitt (P) 75-93;B. Rhodes 94;B. Moffitt (P) 95-153;G. Enfinger (P) 154;S. Creed (P) 155-156.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Brett Moffitt (P) 2 times for 78 laps; Zane Smith # (P) 1 time for 48 laps; Sheldon Creed (P) 2 times for 27 laps; Grant Enfinger (P) 2 times for 2 laps; Ben Rhodes 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 21,2,23,98,88,99,26,18,52,19

Stage #2 Top Ten: 23,21,2,99,98,52,26,4,18,24

Enfinger Advances with Truck Playoff Win at Martinsville

http://nascarassets.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/1/photos/575x381/ngrots_ms_celebrate_103020.jpg

Brian Lawdermilk | Getty Images

By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

There was no mistaking the raised intensity level in Friday night’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 – the final race to set the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4. And ultimately, veteran Grant Enfinger rallied when he needed to holding off his ThorSport Racing teammate Ben Rhodes for the victory necessary to punch his ticket into next week’s championship finale.

Enfinger, 35, of Fairhope, Ala., earned this win managing two restarts in a frantic final 10 laps of racing on the half-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway notorious for its rough-and-tumble high-action brand of competition. He held off Rhodes by a mere .802-second to earn his career-best fourth win of the year and join Brett Moffitt, Sheldon Creed and rookie Zane Smith as the four drivers who earned a shot to challenge for the 2020 season title next week in Phoenix.

“Thank you guys, thank you guys, this is unbelievable,” Enfinger told his team as his No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford took the checkered flag.

“It was tough, we knew we were going to have to take our gloves off and fight for this one,” Enfinger said after celebrating with his team. “It’s been an up and down season for us, but we tended to peak when we needed to. And now I feel really good about our chances at Phoenix.”

Smith finished third followed by Christian Eckes and reigning series champion Matt Crafton.

Both the runner-up Rhodes and Crafton failed to advance to the Championship 4 round. While Rhodes’ hopes were lost in a blink of an eye behind Enfinger, Crafton finished fifth, and came within three painstaking points of Smith for that fourth and last championship-eligible position.

“We had a shot, but first off, congrats to Grant they worked their butts off all year,” Rhodes said of his teammate. “They have three wins, this is their fourth, they deserve it.

“We were racing as hard as we can. Didn’t have the speed we needed but we hung around and my team had good strategy all day long. It’s just unfortunate.”

With nine laps remaining three of the front-running trucks spun in a big chain reaction crash that involved Rhodes, Raphael Lessard and sidelined Moffitt. Rhodes was able to continue and rejoined the field in second place right behind his teammate Enfinger .

With the field set for the final two-lap sprint to the finish, Rhodes had to line up directly in front of Christian Eckes with his championship hopes on the line – one week after the two had an incident in the Texas race followed by post-race confrontation in the garage. Rhodes and Eckes had contact but Rhodes was just not able to catch and pass Enfinger, who led 49 laps on the night.

Perhaps the most unexpected competitive moment of the race came when regular season champion Austin Hill brought his hobbled truck onto pit road and called it a night only 117 laps into the 200-lap race.

A two-race winner, who has led the championship points standings since the second week of the season, it was an unexpected and gut-wrenching turn of events. He came into the race the highest ranked driver without a victory in this Playoff round – holding a healthy 27-point advantage on the cut-off line.

Unfortunately, Hill started sensing a problem in his No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota by the start of the second stage of racing. The team tried to diagnose and correct the problem on multiple pit stops, but the truck had to retire and a disappointed Hill could only hope something major would happen in the final laps that may put him back in position to race for the title. It did not.

“We’re not a 100 percent sure what happened but it was definitely blowing up on us,” Hill said adding, “It’s just frustrating to potentially end your season on an engine failure like that. …we should definitely be in this Final Four.

“I can’t even put into words what I’m feeling right now,” he said.

Creed won the first stage and led a race best 66 laps. He finished eighth.

The Lucas Oil 150 championship finale at the one-mile Phoenix Raceway is set for next Friday at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race – 22nd Annual NASCAR Hall of Fame 200

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Friday, October 30, 2020

  1. (8)  Grant Enfinger (P), Ford, 200.
  2. (7)  Ben Rhodes (P), Ford, 200.
  3. (2)  Zane Smith # (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  4. (14)  Christian Eckes #, Toyota, 200.
  5. (5)  Matt Crafton (P), Ford, 200.
  6. (18)  Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 200.
  7. (19)  Danny Bohn, Toyota, 200.
  8. (1)  Sheldon Creed (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  9. (13)  Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 200.
  10. (11)  Derek Kraus #, Toyota, 200.
  11. (21)  Trevor Bayne, Chevrolet, 200.
  12. (6)  Tyler Ankrum (P), Chevrolet, 200.
  13. (33)  Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, 200.
  14. (23)  Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, 200.
  15. (17)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 200.
  16. (24)  Dawson Cram, Chevrolet, 200.
  17. (9)  Brandon Jones(i), Toyota, 200.
  18. (22)  Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, Accident, 199.
  19. (16)  Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 199.
  20. (10)  Raphael Lessard #, Toyota, 199.
  21. (32)  Clay Greenfield, Toyota, 198.
  22. (28)  BJ McLeod(i), Toyota, 198.
  23. (15)  Johnny Sauter, Ford, 197.
  24. (37)  Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 196.
  25. (30)  Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, 196.
  26. (34)  Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 196.
  27. (26)  Natalie Decker, Chevrolet, 195.
  28. (4)  Brett Moffitt (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 192.
  29. (29)  Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 174.
  30. (25)  Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 169.
  31. (12)  Tanner Gray #, Ford, DVP, 154.
  32. (20)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, Overheating, 149.
  33. (36)  Spencer Davis, Toyota, Brakes, 135.
  34. (35)  Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, Overheating, 123.
  35. (3)  Austin Hill (P), Toyota, Engine, 117.
  36. (27)  Tate Fogleman #, Chevrolet, Accident, 115.
  37. (31)  Josh Reaume, Chevrolet, Transmission, 0.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  52.403 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 0 Mins, 27 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.803 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  11 for 82 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Z. Smith # (P) 1-11;S. Creed (P) 12-75;Z. Smith # (P) 76-84;J. Sauter 85-92;M. Crafton (P) 93-98;S. Friesen 99-103;G. Enfinger (P) 104-125;J. Sauter 126-156;C. Hocevar 157-161;G. Enfinger (P) 162-173;S. Creed (P) 174;G. Enfinger (P) 175-181;R. Lessard # 182-191;G. Enfinger (P) 192-197;B. Rhodes (P) 198;G. Enfinger (P) 199-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Sheldon Creed (P) 2 times for 65 laps; Grant Enfinger (P) 5 times for 49 laps; Johnny Sauter 2 times for 39 laps; Zane Smith # (P) 2 times for 20 laps; Raphael Lessard # 1 time for 10 laps; Matt Crafton (P) 1 time for 6 laps; Carson Hocevar 1 time for 5 laps; Stewart Friesen 1 time for 5 laps; Ben Rhodes (P) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 2,88,13,21,99,23,18,98,4,52

Stage #2 Top Ten: 52,88,98,4,23,26,18,13,42,99

 

2021 Schedule Set for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 19, 2020) – NASCAR today announced the 2021 schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™. The schedule is highlighted by trips to traditional and new tracks alike, including a new battle in the dirt at an iconic NASCAR track, and a second dirt contest at another storied – yet brand-new – venue.

 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first dirt affair will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 27), joining the NASCAR Cup Series for an action-packed weekend on the short track’s return to dirt.

 

Then, on July 9, trucks will roll into Knoxville Raceway for what will be a highly anticipated contest on one of the most storied tracks in the country.  Located in Knoxville, Iowa, Knoxville Raceway hosted its first race in 1901, but is best known for a long, rich history of Sprint Car racing. When the Camping World Truck Series hits the dirt surface in the Hawkeye State, it will mark the first time a NASCAR national series has competed at Knoxville.

 

“The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series provides some of the most intense and entertaining competition in all of racing,” said Ben Kennedy, NASCAR vice president of racing development. “The 2021 iteration of the schedule will build upon that intensity through a wide variety of long-tenured race tracks and new venues like Knoxville Raceway. The variety of disciplines will increase the demand on drivers and culminate with a truly battle-tested champion at Phoenix.”

 

The Camping World Truck Series will kick off 16 national series tripleheader weekends in 2021, including at Circuit of the Americas (May 22) and Nashville Superspeedway (June 18). In addition, the Camping World Truck Series will return to fan-favorite Watkins Glen International for the first time since 2000 on Aug. 7.

 

The series will also share the stage with the NASCAR Cup Series on Saturday, June 26 in Pocono as all three national series take part in the NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader weekend at the Tricky Triangle.

 

As was originally scheduled in 2020 prior to the pandemic, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway will return to host the start of the Playoffs (August 20). Two historic short tracks will determine which drivers continue their Playoffs run, as Bristol Motor Speedway (Sept. 16) trims the field to eight and Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 30) decides which four drivers will race for a championship at Phoenix Raceway (Nov. 5).

 

Broadcast times and networks for all three national series will be announced at a later date.

 

Below is the full 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule (Playoff races in bold font):

 

2021 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE

 

Date

Race / Track

Friday, February 12

Daytona

Friday, February 19

Homestead-Miami

Friday, March 5

Las Vegas

Saturday, March 20

Atlanta

Saturday, March 27

Bristol Dirt

Saturday, April 17

Richmond

Saturday, May 1

Kansas

Friday, May 7

Darlington

Saturday, May 22

COTA

Friday, May 28

Charlotte

Saturday, June 12

Texas

Friday, June 18

Nashville Superspeedway

Saturday, June 26

Pocono

Friday, July 9

Knoxville

Saturday, August 7

Watkins Glen

Friday, August 20

Gateway

Sunday, September 5

Canadian Tire

Thursday, September 16

Bristol

Friday, September 24

Las Vegas

Saturday, October 2

Talladega

Saturday, October 30

Martinsville

Friday, November 5

Phoenix

 

 

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: Lucas Oil 150

The Place: Phoenix Raceway

The Date: Friday, November 6

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio                   

Distance: 150 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 (In Alphabetical Order)

Below is an in-depth look at the four drivers who have qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Championship 4 and will race for the title at Phoenix Raceway in the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday night, Nov. 6 (at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Sheldon Creed (No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado)

Known for his diversity to drive anything with four wheels, Sheldon Creed, has been successful in just about every racing series he has competed in. Not only is the California native, Creed, an X-Games Gold-Medalist and two-time Stadium Super Trucks Series champion, but he also captured the 2018 ARCA Menards Series championship. Now the 23-year old has chance to add a NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series title to his resume this weekend at Phoenix Raceway in just his second full season.

 

Despite all the abnormalities to this 2020 season brought on by the pandemic, Sheldon Creed is having a career-year in the Gander Trucks. He kicked off the season posting five top 10s in the first seven races including his first series career victory at Kentucky Speedway to lock himself into the Playoffs for the first time in his career.

 

Then at the series debut of the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, he flexed his muscles and again reminded his competitors how talented he is grabbing his second victory of the season. He then followed that up with another win at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway and in the process earned enough Playoff points to qualify for the No. 1 seed heading into the postseason. In total Creed ended the Trucks regular season with three wins, six top fives and eight top 10s.

 

Playoffs Recap: Creed danced his way into the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs with momentum as the No. 1 seed but stumbled out of the gate finishing 13th in the Playoff opener at Richmond Raceway. Creed began to rebound in the next race at Bristol finishing 11th and turned it up at Las Vegas finishing runner-up behind fellow Playoff contender Austin Hill. He then survived the wild card that is Talladega with a 12th-place finish and continued his ascension towards the Championship 4 with a runner-up finish at Kansas the following week. But it wasn’t until two weeks ago when he lassoed his fourth victory of the season at Texas Motor Speedway to secure his chance at a title in the Championship 4 round at Phoenix. Creed concluded the Round of 8 with an eighth-place finish last weekend at Martinsville.  

 

Phoenix Raceway Outlook: The GMS Racing driver Sheldon Creed has made two NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts at Phoenix Raceway posting a 10th-place finish in 2018 and in last season’s Playoff race he started third and led 16 laps but finished 12th.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Veteran crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz took the reins of the No. 2 GMS Racing team fulltime in 2019 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with five races to go. Since then Creed and No. 2 team have won four times and put up 15 top 10s in 27 series starts and have qualified for not only the Playoffs but the Championship 4. Stankiewicz began his Gander Trucks crew chief career in 2011 with Brad Keselowski Racing and driver Parker Kligerman; the duo finished the year 11th in points. Since then Stankiewicz has worked with 17 different drivers in the Gander Trucks and joined GMS Racing in 2014 leading driver Joey Coulter to a top-10 (seventh) finish in the championship standings that year. The 2020 season marks the first time Stankiewicz has made the Playoffs and has advanced to the Championship 4. Stankiewicz has sat atop the pit box for seven series starts at Phoenix with seven different drivers. Of the seven, Spencer Gallagher in 2015 posted the best finish at Phoenix with a sixth. Stankiewicz also led Creed to his 12th-place finish in last season’s Phoenix event. 

 

Team Talk: GMS Racing won the 2016 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series title with Johnny Sauter behind the wheel of the No. 21 Chevrolet. It was the organization’s first, and to date only, NASCAR national series title. GMS Racing has 36 Gander Trucks wins to their credit since joining the series in 2013. They are the only team to have fielded a Gander Trucks Championship 4 driver (Johnny Sauter, 2016-2018; Justin Haley in 2018, Brett Moffitt in 2019 and Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith in 2020) in all five years of the current elimination-style Playoff format.

 

Grant Enfinger (No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150)

When ThorSport Racing driver Grant Enfinger looks back on the 2020 season there is no doubt he will smile. The 35-year old, Enfinger, is having best season of his career this year and it all started with kicking off the season opener with a massive win at Daytona International Speedway. Now the talented driver from Fairhope, Alabama is looking to etch his name in the record books with a championship in the Gander Trucks.

 

Enfinger made a name for himself as an early driver in go karts before moving up to Legends cars and winning over 50 events in the Legends Series all across the Southeast including two Alabama state championships. He then moved up to Super Late Models before trying his hand at the ARCA Menard Series in 2008. In 93 ARCA starts he won the 2015 championship and put up 15 wins, 46 top five and 65 top 10s. Enfinger then made the jump to the Trucks, making just eight series starts for GMS Racing in 2016 but he won at Talladega Superspeedway in just his seventh start that season. The win helped propel Enfinger’s career, in 2017, Enfinger signed a fulltime deal with ThorSport Racing and has been challenging for wins with the team ever since.

 

This season, Enfinger has carried the ThorSport Racing banner winning a career-best three races in the regular season (Daytona, Atlanta and Richmond) and one more during the Playoffs (Martinsville) to lock himself in the Championship 4 for the first time in his career.

 

In total, Enfinger finished the regular season with three wins, six top five and 11 top 10s and was ranked as the fourth seed entering the Playoffs.

 

Playoffs Recap: Enfinger’s postseason started off strong with consecutive top 10s in the first two events at Bristol and Las Vegas. He then managed a 13th-place finish in a wild Talladega race and rebounded at Kansas with a fourth-place finish. But Enfinger’s Championship 4 hopes took a turn for the worst at Texas when he suffered engine issues relegating him to a 32nd-place finish. As a result, Enfinger dropped to sixth in the Playoff standings 35 points behind the Championship 4 cutoff heading into a must-win situation at Martinsville. And win he did, Enfinger put on a masterful display of short track skill and strategy to grab the checker flag at the 0.526-mile short track and guarantee his spot in the Championship 4 for the first time in his career. His previous best finish in the final championship standings was fifth in 2018.  

 

Phoenix Raceway Outlook: Enfinger has made three NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts at Phoenix Raceway posting two top-five finishes (fourth in 2018 and fifth in 2019). He also led 10 laps at Phoenix in 2018.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Veteran crew chief Jeff Hensley began his crew chief career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for his family-owned team Hensley Racing. From 1987 to 2001, Jeff Hensley worked as crew chief for the team and in 1990, Hensley led driver Chuck Bown to the series title. In 2004, Hensley joined with Bill Davis Racing in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series back and driver Bill Lester. Since then Hensley has worked with 17 different drivers through the years in the series but has been full time with Grant Enfinger since 2017. Prior to working with Enfinger, Hensley’s best season was with Mike Skinner in 2007, the pair finished the season runner-up in the points to NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. after posting five wins and 17 top fives. This season Hensley has an opportunity to become the third different crew chief to win a Xfinity and Gander Trucks titles joining Danny Stockman Jr. (Xfinity 2013, Truck 2011) and Randy Goss (Xfinity 2002, Truck 2000). 

 

Team Talk:  ThorSport Racing is the longest tenured team in the Gander Trucks and does it all from their Sandusky, Ohio, headquarters. The organization has a pair of Gander Truck titles to their credit – with driver Matt Crafton in 2013 and 2014. With over 1,000 entries in the series dating back to 1995, ThorSport Racing has won 36 times in the Gander Trucks.  If ThorSport Racing were to win the title this season they would break the tie with Hendrick Motorsports for the most NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver titles with three each. ThorSport would become the first organization in the Gander Trucks with four driver championships.

 

Brett Moffitt (No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado)

Brett Moffitt is looking to become just the fifth driver in series history to win multiple NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championships; joining NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. (four titles: 1996, 1998, 2007, 2009), Matt Crafton (three titles: 2014, 2013, 2019), Jack Sprague (three title: 1997, 1999, 2001) and Todd Bodine (2006, 2010).

 

Moffitt won the 2018 Gander Trucks championship with the “little team that could,” Hattori Racing Enterprises, in a Toyota with Scott Zipadelli as his crew chief. This year he’s in a Chevrolet with the multi-truck GMS Racing outfit and has Chad Norris atop his pit box.

 

Moffitt’s road to the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs in 2020 was not an easy one. He didn’t win a race in the regular season and had to point his way into the Playoffs posting seven top fives in the first 16 races of the year. He finished the regular season second in the standings and his five stage wins garnered enough Playoff points to seed him fifth entering the postseason.

 

In addition to his Gander Trucks accomplishments, the 28-year old was the 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

Playoffs Recap: Much like his regular season effort, Brett Moffitt had to point his way through the first round of the Playoffs posting a runner-up finish at Bristol, a 15th at Las Vegas and a seventh at Talladega. It wasn’t until the 20th race in the season and fourth race in the Playoffs that Moffitt finally found Victory Lane and did so at Kansas Speedway. The win catapulted Moffitt into the Championship 4 round for the third time in career (2018-2020).

 

Phoenix Raceway Outlook: Moffitt has made two series starts at Phoenix Raceway posting a win in series debut at the Track in 2018 en route to his first career title and he also finished 10th in last season’s Phoenix Playoff race. He led just 19 laps in his 2018 victory at one-mile track.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Chad Norris began his crew chief career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Roush Fenway Racing with driver Matt Kenseth on a part-time schedule in 2005. From 2005 to 2012 Norris would crew chief on a part-time basis but in 2013 he named crew chief for Travis Pastrana at RFR and then worked with Trevor Bayne in 2014, Ryan Reed and Bubba Wallace in 2015. Then he made the move to Chip Ganassi Racing and worked with driver Brennan Poole for the 2016, 2017 seasons. Last season he moved to lone GMS Racing Xfinity entry with driver John Hunter Nemechek. The 2020 season marks his first full season of competition in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. Working with Moffitt this season the duo have produced one win, 10 top fives and 15 top 10s.  

 

Team Talk: GMS Racing won the 2016 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series title with Johnny Sauter behind the wheel of the No. 21 Chevrolet. It was the organization’s first, and to date only, NASCAR national series title. GMS Racing has 36 Gander Trucks wins to their credit since joining the series in 2013. They are the only team to have fielded a Gander Trucks Championship 4 drivers in all five years of the current elimination-style Playoff format (Johnny Sauter, 2016-2018; Justin Haley in 2018, Brett Moffitt in 2019 and Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith in 2020).

 

Zane Smith (No. 21 GMS Racing Silverado)

The rising star from Huntington Beach, California, Zane Smith, has the chance to become just the second rookie in series history to win the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series title; joining Erik Jones (2015).

 

Smith is just the third different Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs Championship 4 round; joining Christopher Bell (2016), and Austin Cindric (2017). Both Cindric and Bell are tied for the best championship finish by a Gander Trucks rookie in the Playoff Era (2016-Present) – they both finished third in points.

 

Smith’s 2020 season has been a self-proclaimed dream fulfiller. The 21-year old GMS Racing driver has been lights out this season putting up two wins (Michigan, Dover) six top fives and 12 top 10s. He ultimately ended the regular season fourth in the standings, but his five stage wins were enough to seed him second in the points heading into the postseason.

 

Also, with his advancement into the Championship 4, Smith has clinched the 2020 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. 

 

Playoffs Recap: Smith’s path in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs to the Championship 4 has been a rocky one. His first round of the Playoffs saw a 16th-place finish at Bristol, a seventh at Las Vegas and a 33rd at Talladega barely making it through to the next round. In the Round of 8 everything turned around for Smith, he finished 11th at Kansas and then followed it up with consecutive third-place finishes at Texas and Martinsville to point his way into the Championship 4. 

 

Phoenix Raceway Outlook: Smith will be making his series track debut this weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

 

Crew Chief Corner: Veteran crew chief Kevin Manion made his crew chief debut on a part-time basis in the NASCAR Cup Series with John Andretti and in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Manion biggest success as crew chief came in the NASCAR Xfinity Series when he led Martin Truex Jr. to back-to-back titles 2004 and 2005. He then made the jump with Truex fulltime to the NASCAR Cup Series at Dale Earnhardt Inc. where the pair worked together from 2006-2010. He then worked with Jamie McMurray at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing from 2010-2013. In 2016 he joined Kyle Busch Motorsports and started crew chief for multiple drivers. Manion has begun to build a reputation for cultivating young talent. Last season, he led rookie Tyler Ankrum to his first win and first Playoff berth, and this season he has done the same with Zane Smith. Manion best finish in the final championship standings in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series is eighth, with Ankrum last season. Manion has worked with three different drivers at Phoenix in the Truck Series and led Daniel Suarez to a victory at the track in 2016.

 

Team Talk: GMS Racing won the 2016 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series title with Johnny Sauter behind the wheel of the No. 21 Chevrolet. It was the organization’s first, and to date only, NASCAR national series title. GMS Racing has 36 Gander Truck wins to their credit since joining the series in 2013. They are the only team to have fielded a Gander Trucks Championship 4 driver in all five years of the current elimination-style Playoff format (Johnny Sauter, 2016-2018; Justin Haley in 2018, Brett Moffitt in 2019 and Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith in 2020). This is the first time since the inception of the elimination-style format in the Playoffs in 2016 that an organization has fielded three out of the four Championship 4 contenders in one season (Moffitt, Smith, Creed).

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year finale – With his advancement to the Championship 4, GMS Racing’s Zane Smith has clinched the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. Smith enters this weekend’s event at Phoenix having put up two wins, six top fives and 12 top 10s. Smith has a chance this weekend to become just the second rookie in series history to win the title joining Erik Jones, who accomplished the feat in 2015.

 

Gander Trucks Owner championship update – The four trucks and drivers that made it to the driver Playoff standings Championship 4 are the same in the owner Playoff standings this season; guaranteeing a unified driver and owner championship this year. 

 

Manufacturers championship – The Gander Trucks manufacturers championship is very close and will be decided this weekend in Phoenix. Chevrolet is currently leading the OEM championship standings with nine wins and 787 points. Toyota is in second with seven wins and 780 points. Ford is sitting in third with six wins and 770 points.

 

nascar

www.nascar.com

By The Numbers: NASCAR Completes Full Season Amidst Global Pandemic

Despite Most Challenging Year in Sport’s History,

NASCAR Experiences Success Across Virtually Every Aspect Of Its Business   

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2020) – As NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Chase Elliott sailed his No. 9 Chevrolet across the Phoenix Raceway finish line to capture his first NASCAR Cup Series championship, several more numbers came into focus, none more important than this one: 36.

 

Together, the NASCAR industry accomplished the improbable, completing a full 36-race NASCAR Cup Series schedule, making it the only major sport to complete a full season in 2020. Not only did NASCAR run every race despite several challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR saw numerous positive trends both on and off the track.

 

On the track, the sport enjoyed some of the most competitive racing in years, evidenced by an increased number of passes, both for the lead and throughout the field.

 

The intense racing led to viewership on television remaining stable during the most competitive television landscape in history, while NASCAR’s social and digital metrics enjoyed several increases across its platforms.

 

Finally, positive buzz around NASCAR’s brand is trending 25% higher than last year, a testament to the incredible strides the sport made to get back to racing under incredibly challenging circumstances.

 

Below is a full “by the numbers” look at milestones from NASCAR’s 2020 season.

Statistical Superlatives

 

23.3 – Average age of NASCAR’s national series champions: Cup Series, Chase Elliott (24.11); Xfinity Series, Austin Cindric (22.1); Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Sheldon Creed (23).

1,190 – Green flag passes for the lead in the NASCAR Cup Series, second-most in the past 14 seasons.

20.0 – The average number of lead changes per NASCAR Cup Series race, the most since 2014 (21.17).

20 – Number of races with a margin of victory of less than a second, most since 2014.

1988 – The last year that NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver won the championship (Bill Elliott).

4 – NASCAR transitioned from a series entitlement model to a premier partner model that welcomed four global leading brands as premier partners – Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, Geico and Xfinity.

3 – Three new teams have announced they will enter the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021, including 23XI Racing owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

 

 

COVID-19 Protocols

 

90,391 – Health questionnaires returned from essential personnel who enter the race track.

 

102,347 – Documented temperatures taken from essential personnel.

 

45,100 & 39,000 – Number of cloth and disposable masks purchased to help essential personnel combat the virus while in-venue.

 

205 – Number of thermometers purchased for at-track health screenings.

 

2 – Pulse oximeters purchased to be used at secondary screening locations.

 

64 – Gallons of high-grade disinfectant solution purchased to disinfect the garage area.

 

In-Venue

 

94 – National Series races conducted in 2020, completing the entire schedule.

 

5,000 – First responders and military personnel invited to attend the first sporting event with fans at Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 14.

1969 – The last year NASCAR introduced three new venues to a NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule will introduce three new racetracks and two new layouts at iconic venues.

Fan Engagement (Television & Digital)

3.058M – Average viewers on television of the NASCAR Cup Series, off just -2% year-over-year during one of the most competitive television landscapes in history.

+1% – NASCAR viewership was up across races 2 thru 36 (excluding a rain impacted DAYTONA 500) – consistently bringing a stable audience each weekend.

+11 – On FS1, weekday editions of "NASCAR Race Hub" were up 11% this season compared to 2019 (show started back on Jan. 27).

190+ – NASCAR content was distributed in over 190 countries and territories.

+7% Total visits to NASCAR’s digital platform rose +7% from 2019.

 

+10% Increase in the amount of time fans are spending on NASCAR’s digital platforms on race days.

 

+56% ­­ NASCAR social media engagements have increased significantly.

 

18% Increase in NASCAR Mobile App downloads year-over-year.

 

30% - @NASCARonFOX recorded a +30% increase over 2019 with more than 431 million views across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

8.6M - Video of drivers pushing Bubba Wallace’s car to the front of the grid at Talladega is FOX Sports’ most-watched Twitter video of all time on any account with 8.6 million views.

 

140+ – Live races aired in debut season of OTT platform TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 

eNASCAR

 

6 – eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series events on FOX and FS1 that rank as the highest-rated esports TV programs of all time.

2M – New unique viewers (people who had not previously watched NASCAR in 2020) that tuned into the seven eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series events on FOX and FS1.

Sports Betting

3 – Deals brokered with sports-betting operators (Penn National Gaming, BetMGM, WynnBET).

1st – NASCAR became the first league to join responsible betting campaigns with the American Gaming Association and National Center for Responsible Betting.

Licensing

10 – Chase Elliot’s first Cup Series title resulted in the most first-day merchandise sales of any NASCAR champion in the last 10 years.

+78% – Overall NASCAR Shop Sales are significantly up year-over-year / since NASCAR’s return to racing in May, NASCAR Shop Sales are +147% year-over-year.

Television Metrics Source: The Nielsen Company

Digital Metrics Source: Adobe Analytics

Social Metrics Sources: Conviva and Meltwater

2020 NASCAR Awards Show to be Broadcast on NBCSN

NASCAR to celebrate 2020 Series Champions and more

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2020) – During Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, NBC Sports announced that the 2020 NASCAR Awards Show will be broadcast on Wednesday, Nov. 18th at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

 

The 90-minute broadcast special will celebrate and feature appearances from NASCAR’s 2020 champions in the NASCAR Cup Series – Chase Elliott, NASCAR Xfinity Series – Austin Cindric and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series – Sheldon Creed. NBC Sports’ Kelli Stavast and Marty Snider will co-host the presentation.

 

The show will also feature an opening performance by award-winning musician Chris Stapleton with the television debut of his song, Arkansas, from his highly anticipated new album Starting Over, and a tribute to seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson, who completed his final full-time season.

 

In addition, the show will reveal  the Bill France Award of Excellence recipient, crown the 2020 Most Popular Drivers, highlight this year’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists, honor the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in each series and recognize additional award winners.

 

The move to the broadcast special came after the cancelation of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Awards due to the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus.

 

Daytona Beach NASCAR fan Charlene Greer Wins 10th Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, $100,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia / Flagler Counties

Three Finalists Receive $25,000 each for Children’s Charities

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2020) – Today, The NASCAR Foundation announced that Charlene Greer, a lifelong NASCAR fan and 9-year volunteer with Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia / Flagler Counties, is the winner of The NASCAR Foundation’s 10th annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. Greer received the award – along with a $100,000 donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia / Flagler Counties – during a celebration livestreamed on NASCAR.com from the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at Daytona International Speedway.

 

Greer, from Daytona Beach, Fla., is one of four finalists who are all longtime NASCAR fans. Greer grew up spending weekends at the track with her father, a motorsports mechanic. Some of her fondest memories are witnessing Bill Elliott go from being known as “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” to “Million Dollar Bill” with his win at Darlington in 1985 over Labor Day weekend and her first time attending the DAYTONA 500, now her home track.

 

This year, The NASCAR Foundation chose to celebrate each finalist with a small celebration in their race markets. Finalists include Daryl Farler representing Amputee Blade Runners celebrating at the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation with Nashville Superspeedway; Larry Jordan representing Angel Flight Soars, Inc. at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta; and, Rich Langley with the Roc Solid Foundation celebrating with the team at Richard Childress Racing Museum. Each of the three finalists receives a $25,000 donation to their charity and with it being the 10th year of the Award, an additional $5,000 gift to honor the occasion.

 

“This year’s finalists are all stand outs. Their NASCAR spirit is behind the incredible work they do to improve the lives of children in our communities each and every day,” said Mike Helton, chairman of The NASCAR Foundation. “What a year this has been and our fans rallied around this award like never before. We are very proud of all the finalists and particularly proud to present the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award to Charlene Greer, a very deserving recipient, to honor the work she’s doing in NASCAR’s hometown of Daytona Beach.”

 

The award honors the philanthropic ideals and vision of The NASCAR Foundation’s late founder and chairperson, Betty Jane France, and is annually presented to a NASCAR fan who is an accomplished volunteer championing children’s causes. This year marks the 10th annual presentation of the award impacting 354,647 children to date while recognizing 40 finalists with a total of $1,770,000 in contributions to the causes they represent.

 

Greer’s win will help change the lives of children living with disadvantaged circumstances. The resulting $100,000 donation will cover the costs to transport all of the organization’s more than 1,400 children safely to the eight Boys & Girls clubs after school utilizing bus transportation. With 87 percent of its members on free or reduced lunch and the club’s motto to never turn any child away for their inability to pay, this would help the children to realize their full potential.

 

"Being a finalist for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award has been overwhelmingly humbling,” stated Greer. “I cannot thank The NASCAR Foundation enough for giving us the platform to talk about the life-changing works that our staff and volunteers at The Boys and Girls Clubs of Volusia/Flagler Counties facilitates every day. Being able to represent the incredible team of people that stand beside me serving the mission and the passion for our kids has been an honor. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!”

 

Greer lends nearly 120 hours each month in her support of the Boys & Girls Clubs including operational funding, and her vision and execution of special activities that directly benefit the students. She mentors children which is her favorite role, participates in board meetings and advocates for the cause while meeting with local elected officials and community leaders. Her fundraising efforts are likely the most widely recognized as her support wholly funds the Clubs’ annual Honor Roll Banquet and Christmas party.

 

To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation’s programs, including the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award and Speediatrics Children’s Fund, please visit NASCARfoundation.org.

 

 

 

cup series afinity series
Date

Race

Track

2/9

Busch Clash at Daytona

Daytona International Speedway

2/13

Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona

Daytona International Speedway

2/16

Daytona 500

Daytona International Speedway

2/23

Pennzoil 400

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

3/1

Auto Club 400

Auto Club Speedway

3/8

FanShield 500

Phoenix Raceway

3/15

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

Atlanta Motor Speedway

3/22

Dixie Vodka 400

Homestead-Miami Speedway

3/29

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Texas Motor Speedway

4/5

Food City 500

Bristol Motor Speedway

4/19

Toyota Owners 400

Richmond Raceway

4/26

GEICO 500

Talladega Superspeedway

5/3

Dover 400

Dover International Speedway

5/9

Martinsville 500

Martinsville Speedway

5/16

NASCAR All-Star Race

Charlotte Motor Speedway

5/24

Coca-Cola 600

Charlotte Motor Speedway

5/31

Kansas 400

Kansas Speedway

6/7

FireKeepers Casino 400

Michigan International Speedway

6/14

Toyota/Save Mart 350

Sonoma Raceway

6/21

Chicagoland 400

Chicagoland Speedway

6/27

Pocono Race #1

Pocono Raceway

6/28

Pocono Race #2

Pocono Raceway

7/5

Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

7/11

Quaker State 400

Kentucky Speedway

7/19

Foxwoods Casino 301

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

8/9

Consumers Energy 400

Michigan International Speedway

8/16

Go Bowling at The Glen

Watkins Glen International

8/23

Drydene 400

Dover International Speedway

8/29

Coke Zero Sugar 400

Daytona International Speedway

9/6

Southern 500

Darlington Raceway

9/12

Federated Auto Parts 400

Richmond Raceway

9/19

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

Bristol Motor Speedway

9/27

South Point 400

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

10/4

Alabama 500

Talladega Superspeedway

10/11

Bank of America ROVAL 400

Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval

10/18

Hollywood Casino 400

Kansas Speedway

10/25

Texas 500

Texas Motor Speedway

11/1

Martinsville 500

Martinsville Speedway

11/8

Phoenix 500

Phoenix Raceway

 
2/15 NASCAR Racing Experience 300 Daytona International Speedway
2/22 Boyd Gaming 300 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2/29 Production Alliance Group 300 Auto Club Speedway
3/7 LS Tractor 200 Phoenix Raceway
3/14 Atlanta 250 Atlanta Motor Speedway
3/21 Homestead-Miami 300 Homestead-Miami Speedway
3/28 My Bariatric Solutions 300 Texas Motor Speedway
4/4 Alsco 300 Bristol Motor Speedway
4/25 MoneyLion 300 Talladega Superspeedway
5/2 Dover 200 Dover International Speedway
5/23 Alsco 300 Charlotte Motor Speedway
5/30 Mid-Ohio 170 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
6/6 Lti Printing 250 Michigan International Speedway
6/13 Iowa 250 Iowa Speedway
6/20 Chicagoland 300 Chicagoland Speedway
6/28 Pocono Green 250 Pocono Raceway
7/4 Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
7/10 Alsco 300 Kentucky Speedway
7/18 New Hampshire 200 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
8/1 U.S. Cellular 250 Iowa Speedway
8/8 Henry 180 Road America
8/15 Watkins Glen 200 Watkins Glen International
8/22 Dover 200 Dover International Speedway
8/28 Coca-Cola 250 Daytona International Speedway
9/5 Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 Darlington Raceway
9/11 GoBowling 250 Richmond Raceway
9/18 Food City 300 Bristol Motor Speedway
9/26 Las Vegas 300 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
10/10 Drive for the Cure 250 Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course
10/17 Kansas Lottery 300 Kansas Speedway
10/24 O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Texas Motor Speedway
10/31 Xfinity Series Race at Martinsville Martinsville Speedway
11/7 Phoenix 200 Phoenix Raceway
 

gander mountain truck series  
2/14 NextEra Energy Resources 250 Daytona International Speedway
2/21 Strat 200 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
3/14 Georgia 200 Atlanta Motor Speedway
3/22 Homestead-Miami 200 Homestead-Miami Speedway
3/27 Vankor 350 Texas Motor Speedway
4/18 ToyotaCare 250 Richmond Raceway
5/1 Dover 200 Dover International Speedway
5/15 NC Education Lottery 200 Charlotte Motor Speedway
5/30 Kansas 250 Kansas Speedway
6/5 SpeedyCash.com 400 Texas Motor Speedway
6/12 Iowa 200 Iowa Speedway
6/19 Chicagoland 225 Chicagoland Speedway
6/27 Pocono 150 Pocono Raceway
7/9 Buckle Up In Your Truck 250 Kentucky Speedway
7/30 Eldora Dirt Derby Eldora Speedway
8/8 Michigan 200 Michigan International Speedway
8/21 Gateway 200 World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
9/6 Chevy Silveradao 250 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
9/17 UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics Bristol Motor Speedway
9/25 World of Westgate 200 Las Vegas Motor Speedway
10/3 Sugarlands Shine 250 Talladega Superspeedway
10/30 NGROTS Race at Martinsville Martinsville Speedway
11/6 Lucas Oil 150 Phoenix Raceway
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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