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On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Cup Series will crown their 2020 champions at the end of a remarkable season divided by the coronavirus pandemic. Implementing an extraordinarily effective plan, which included major schedule adjustments, NASCAR will complete all 36 points-paying races this year.
The real shocker in the NASCAR Cup Series came last Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, where regular-season champion and nine-time race winner Kevin Harvick was eliminated from the Playoff. In a desperate attempt to secure the one point he needed to advance to the Championship 4, Harvick drove into the door of Kyle Busch’s Toyota off the final corner, but Busch slid backward across the finish line as Harvick’s wrecked came to a stop before the stripe.
Similarly, but with much less drama, regular-season champion Austin Hill was eliminated from the NASCAR Truck Series Playoff after his engine failed.
Joey Logano thinks he’ll be the top dog when the NASCAR Cup Series runs its Season Finale 500 on Sunday. After all, Logano won the March race at the one-mile flat track before the pandemic halted the action for 10 weeks. And the No. 22 team has had three weeks to prepare for the title race after Logano secured his Championship 4 berth with a victory at Kansas.
“I think the experience is there, the speed is there,” Logano said on Thursday during a Zoom question-and-answer session with reporters. “I think the mentality of the way we race is there. I truly believe that we’re the favorites to win this thing.”
On the other hand, Chase Elliott barged into the final four with clutch victory at Martinsville last Sunday, winning for the fourth time since the resumption of racing in May. Though he’ll be racing for the Cup crown for the first time, the scion of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott is quietly confident.
Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin like their chances, too. Under a format where the highest finisher of the four drivers claims the title, DraftKings Sportsbook has Elliott, Keselowski, and Hamlin as co-favorites to win the championship at +250 and Logano as the underdog at +270. Clearly, Logano wouldn’t agree.
|Season Finale 500 Information|
|What||Season Finale 500 NASCAR Cup Series race|
|When||Sunday, Nov. 8, 3 p.m. EDT|
|How to Watch||NBC|
Chase Briscoe’s 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season already can be considered an unqualified success. Not only has he won nine races, but he has already claimed a prize even more significant than the title he’ll be chasing on Saturday—promotion to the NASCAR Cup Series in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Nevertheless, a series championship would be the perfect capstone to a banner season before graduation to NASCAR’s top division. To accomplish that, Briscoe will have to beat fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric and Chevrolet drivers Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley. And he’ll have to improve on his winless record at Phoenix Raceway, where he owns a respectable average finish of 6.7 in three starts.
Statistically, it’s not my best racetrack, but we still won nine races this year. The confidence is high. I feel like we’ve been the best team all year long, and there’s no reason why we can’t go to Phoenix and be the same way. I feel like we’re going in there with nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve just got to go there and do our normal deal no different than all the other 32 races. If we just go there and focus on the 98 car and nobody else, I feel like we’re going to be in the hunt at least at the end. And as long as you’re in the hunt, you’ve got a chance for it, so that’s what we’ll try to go do.
|Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 Information|
|What||Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race|
|When||Saturday, Nov. 7, 5 p.m. EDT|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
With Brett Moffitt winning at Kansas, Sheldon Creed taking the checkered flag at Texas, and Zane Smith qualifying on points at Martinsville, GMS put three of its four drivers in Friday night’s Championship 4 contest at Phoenix Raceway.
The lone Ford driver in the field is ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger, who qualified for the final four in emphatic fashion by winning at Martinsville. But Enfinger is getting no respect when it comes to winning the season finale. He’s fifth on the board at +900. Creed is the favorite at +350, followed by Moffit (+400) and Smith (+500).
I don’t feel like we’re entering Phoenix as an underdog. Obviously, only one of our ThorSport trucks made it. We’re going against three GMS trucks. I understand all that, and I feel like Phoenix is a good-style track for us this year. I feel like we’ve excelled at the short tracks, so I don’t actually feel like we’re going into this as an underdog at all.
|Lucas Oil 150 Information|
|What||Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Truck Series race|
|When||Friday, Nov. 6, 8 p.m. EDT|
|How to Watch||FS1|
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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. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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