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PREVIEW: NASCAR Season Finale at Phoenix (NCS + NXS + NGROTS)

This weekend will the see the completion of the 2020 NASCAR Season. All three of the national touring series will hold their championship finale here. Each race will be a shootout between the remaining Championship 4 drivers which were produced by elimination though the series of playoff races leading up to this finale.

The NASCAR championship finale has always been held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. I have assumed that this choice of venue was because Homestead has always had trouble pulling out a big crowd and that, by having the championship finale here, they could sell more tickets. This did help somewhat but Homestead never had a big attendance. So, now they have moved the finale to Phoenix (another NASCAR-owned track). This is another race track that has not had big crowds in recent years (IndyCar had dropped it from their schedule completely after 2018). Presumably, NASCAR is hoping that the aura of having the three races of the championship finale here will boost ticket sales. We will see ...

The Phoenix Raceway has recently been reconfigured. The most significant change was the moving of the start / finish line to the area between the old turns 1 and 2 and the dogleg, thus flipping the turn numbering. In addition, the raceway's track seating was reduced from 51,000 to 42,000. The race track was recently called the ‘ISM Raceway’ but it lost that title sponsorship this year.

It has become so commonplace that some events run with generic race names with no title sponsor that we don’t much notice it anymore, but calling this weekend’s big finale the ‘Season Finale 500' has to make you wonder why no commercial sponsor stepped up to the plate.

Friday, November 6

1. NASCAR Truck Series (NGROTS) Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway
• TV: Fox Sports at 8:00P-10:00
• The Phoenix Raceway is an 1.0 mi asphalt paved oval with a dogleg in the new front stretch between turns 4 and 1. Turn 1 is 8°, turn 2 is 8-9° (progressive) and turns 3 and 4 are 10-11° (progressive).
• The race distance is 150 laps = 150 mi; Stages: 45/45/60 laps
• Phoenix has announced that they will have fans in a ‘limited capacity’ for each of the three championship races. The 42,000-capacity stadium will allow about 20% capacity, that comes up to 8,400 fans.
• No practice or qualifying sessions
• Last year an NGROTS race was held here on November 8, the penultimate race before the 2019 finale at Homestead. Austin Hill was the race winner with Stewart Friesen second and Sheldon Creed third.
• Last week at Martinsville, Grant Enfinger won the race over Ben Rhodes and Zane Smith.
• Coming into this year’s championship finale race, the Championship 4 drivers who are left to compete for the 2020 Truck Series championship are: Sheldon Creed (4 wins), Grant Enfinger (4 wins), Brett Moffitt (1 win) and Zane Smith (2 wins).
• Click HERE for the entry list for the NASCAR Truck Series Race
• Click HERE for the starting lineup.

Saturday, November 7

2. NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at Phoenix Raceway
• TV: TSN1/3 at 5:00P-7:30
• The Phoenix Raceway is an 1.0 mi asphalt paved oval with a dogleg in the new front stretch between turns 4 and 1. Turn 1 is 8°, turn 2 is 8-9° (progressive) and turns 3 and 4 are 10-11° (progressive).
• The race distance is 200 laps = 200 mi; Stages: 45/45/110 laps
• Phoenix has announced that they will have fans in a ‘limited capacity’ for each of the three championship races. The 42,000-capacity stadium will allow about 20% capacity, that comes up to 8,400 fans.
• No practice or qualifying sessions
• Two Xfinity races were held here last year. The ‘iK9 Service Dog 200' was run on March 9th. It was won by Kyle Busch over Ryan Truex and Tyler Reddick. The ‘Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200' was run on November 9. Justin Allgaier won this race with Cole Custer second and Tyler Reddick third. Busch, Custer and Reddick are competing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series this year.
• Last week at Martinsville, Harrison Burton won the race ahead of Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson.
• Coming into this year’s championship finale race, the Championship 4 drivers who are left to compete for the 2020 Xfinity Series championship are: Chase Briscoe (9 wins), Austin Cindric (5 wins), Justin Haley (3 wins) and Justin Allgaier (3 wins).
• Click HERE for the entry list for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race
• Click HERE for the starting lineup.

 Sunday, November 8

3. NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway
• TV: NBC/TSN3/5 at 3:00P-7:00
• The Phoenix Raceway is an 1.0 mi asphalt paved oval with a dogleg in the new front stretch between turns 4 and 1. Turn 1 is 8°, turn 2 is 8-9° (progressive) and turns 3 and 4 are 10-11° (progressive).
• The race distance is 312 laps = 312 mi; Stages: 75/115/122 laps
• Phoenix has announced that they will have fans in a ‘limited capacity’ for each of the three championship races. The 42,000-capacity stadium will allow about 20% capacity, that comes up to 8,400 fans.
• No practice or qualifying sessions
• Two NASCAR Cup races were held here in 2019. The ‘Ticket Guardian 500' was run here on March 10. Kyle Busch won that race while Martin Truex was second and Ryan Blaney was third. The ‘Bluegreen Vacations 500' was run on November 10. Denny Hamlin won this time with Kyle Busch second and Ryan Blaney third.
• The Cup race at Martinsville last week was won by Chase Elliott with Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano second and third.
• Coming into this year’s championship finale race, the Championship 4 drivers who are left to compete for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship are: Deny Hamlin (7 wins), Chase Elliott (4 wins), Joey Logano (3 wins) and Brad Keselowski (4 wins).
• Click HERE for the entry list for the NASCAR Cup Series Race
• Click HERE for the starting lineup.

 

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