In anticipation of Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway, special edition NASCAR National Series News & Notes will be distributed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Here’s a look at what to expect:
Wednesday: NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series notes
Thursday: An in-depth look at the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4
Friday: NASCAR Cup Series championship race notes at Phoenix Raceway
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 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 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 Cup Series
Spotlight turns to Phoenix Raceway for Championship Weekend
|Phoenix Cup Playoff Winners|
|2015||Phoenix||Dale Earnhardt Jr|
|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|
|2017||Homestead||Martin Truex Jr|
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|
|John H. Nemechek||523|
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.