NASCAR Celebrates Champions at the End of an Extraordinary Season
- Chase Elliott set off the Dawsonville siren after victory in Cup championship race.
- Austin Cindric denies Chase Briscoe the capstone to a remarkable Xfinity season.
- Sheldon Creed completes breakout season with NASCAR Truck Series title.
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Last weekend at Phoenix Raceway, at the end of a season interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, NASCAR crowned champions in each of its top three national series. Chase Elliott won the Cup Series Championship 4 race in convincing fashion, while Austin Cindric claimed the Xfinity title after a late restart.
Sheldon Creed grabbed the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series crown with a victory in last Friday night’s title race. NASCAR will celebrate all three of its national series champions in a 90-minute special at 8 p.m., Nov. 18 on NBCSN.
Chase Elliott Claims His First NASCAR Cup Series Title with Convincing Win
Chase Elliott started last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 race with a handicap and ended the day with a trophy. Because his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet failed pre-race inspection twice before his team got the car within specs, Elliott had to start the event from the rear of the field.
The 24-year-old scion of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott promptly served notice that he would be a contender for the championship as he diced through the field and charged forward to the third position by the end of the race’s first stage. Ultimately, Elliott led a race-high 153 laps and won the race and the Cup championship by 2.740 seconds over runner-up Brad Keselowski.
The win made the Cup Series’ most popular driver its most popular champion driver, and that set the siren at the pool hall in Dawsonville screaming, as it had traditionally done after each of his father’s 44 victories.
Chase Briscoe Looks to Finish Off Dominating Season with Title Race Win
In last Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 race, it was Austin Cindric, not Chase Briscoe who asserted his superiority. Briscoe had dominated the Xfinity season with nine victories, but his No. 98 Ford was not in top form at Phoenix Raceway. Briscoe scraped the outside wall several times and finished ninth in the race and fourth among the four title contenders.
Cindric, on the other hand, led 72 laps and wrested the top spot from non-playoff driver Noah Gragson after the race went to a two-lap overtime shootout. Cindric sped across the finish line .162 seconds ahead of Gragson, and the series championship was his.
The victory was the sixth of the season for Cindric, who will return to the No. 22 Team Penske Ford next season. In 2022, he’ll graduate to the Cup Series in the No. 21 Ford field by Wood Brothers Racing, a Team Penske affiliate. Briscoe is moving up to the Cup Series next year in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford vacated by retiring Clint Bowyer.
Bold Move on New Tires Nets Sheldon Creed the NASCAR Truck Series Title
Sheldon Creed capped a breakout season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series with a victory in the Championship 4 event at Phoenix Raceway. Creed’s fifth win of the season was good for the series title, but getting to the finish line first was anything but easy.
Facing a two-lap overtime dash after a late caution, Creed pitted for fresh tires and restarted eighth, but with a bold charge around the bottom of the race track, Creed shot into the lead and won the race and the championship by .617 seconds over GMS Racing teammate Zane Smith.
Creed’s victory also came at the expense of another GM’s teammate, Brett Moffitt, who held a comfortable lead with three laps left, only to have his hopes for a second championship spoiled by the caution that sent the race to overtime.
Both Creed and Smith will return to GMS next year. Our Motorsports in Mooresville, N.C., announced on Thursday the hiring of Moffitt for a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series ride next season.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association.
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