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NASCAR Spotlight Turns on Phoenix Raceway for Championship Weekend

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).

Seven tmes 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 – Logano (two wins) and Hamlin (two wins). But don’t count out Elliott (2017) and 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 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.

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