All You Need to Know About the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway

Published 11/06/2020, 11:19 AM EST
Fort Worth, Texas, USA; NASCAR Cup Series drivers Joey Logano (22) and Kevin Harvick (4) lead the field at the start of the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports


It all comes down to Phoenix Raceway. This Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 champion will be crowned as Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski battle for the ultimate prize. After all the drama at Martinsville last weekend, only more can be expected at Phoenix.

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Whoever among the ‘championship 4’ finishes highest at Phoenix, takes the trophy. However, never before since the playoff system began, has a non-championship contender won the season finale.

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Here are some key details you should know ahead of the Season Finale 500:

When and where to watch the NASCAR Cup Series championship race?

The race begins at 3 pm ET. Fans can catch the live action on NBC and the NBC Sports App. It will also be live on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Nov 1, 2020; Martinsville, VA, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) lead the start of the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

About the track

The Phoenix Raceway is a desert oval that stretches over a mile. The track hosted a race for the 33rd consecutive year earlier this season. The track has a banking of 8-9 degrees on the first two turns, while Turns 3 and 4 feature 10-11 degrees of banking.

It underwent renovation in 2011, which saw changes to the pit stall area and widening of the frontstretch area.

The first stage on Sunday will end after 75 laps, while the second stage will end on Lap 190. The champion will be crowned after the final stage which ends on Lap 312.

AVONDALE, AZ – NOVEMBER 07: A general view of the speedway as trucks race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

Will rain affect the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 finale?

Relatively cooler temperatures could welcome the drivers this Sunday. However, rain is not expected to trouble the race at any point in time.

Are fans allowed for the race?

Up to 8,400 fans can attend the race on Sunday as fans slowly start making a comeback to stadiums.

The starting line-up for the NASCAR Cup Series championship race

Elliott sits at the top after his win at Martinsville and Logano shares the front row with him. Keselowski and Hamlin take up the second row.

Jimmie Johnson starts in 26th place in his final NASCAR race, while Clint Bowyer, who also runs his final race, starts in ninth place.

Oct 18, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; A general view of pit road during the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Which tires will be used for the race?

Goodyear Eagle Intermediate Radials will be used for Sunday’s race. The lower downforce will lead to more tire wear and a lot of the strategy-making for Sunday’s race will come down to tire management.

Who won the race earlier this season at Phoenix Raceway?

Championship contender Joey Logano reigned supreme at Phoenix in March, shortly before the season stopped. The only other ‘final 4’ driver in the top-10 in that race was Chase Elliott, in seventh place.

Who won the 2019 playoff race at Phoenix Raceway?

This is the first time Phoenix hosts the championship race. Last year, the track hosted a Round of 8 race, which this year’s championship contender Denny Hamlin won to go through to the final 4.

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Nov 1, 2020; Martinsville, VA, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) leads the field during the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Past winners of the championship race

  • 2014 – Kevin Harvick
  • 2015 – Kyle Busch
  • 2016 – Jimmie Johnson
  • 2017 – Martin Truex Jr.
  • 2018 – Joey Logano
  • 2019 – Kyle Busch

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The stage is set for an action-packed race. Elliott and Hamlin aim for their first NASCAR Cup Series titles. Meanwhile, teammates Logano and Keselowski both look to earn their 2nd titles respectively.

DIVE DEEPER

How Chase Elliott Navigated Through the 2020 Season to Reach His First NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race

about 1 year ago

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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