The Championship 4 is set! After 35 weeks of intense racing, it’s finally time to see who will be the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion!
The semi-final race came and went this past weekend in Arizona at ISM Connect Raceway (aka and formally known as Phoenix International Raceway).
The Championship 4 is set, and it is as follows:
Martin Truex Jr.
First, I’d like to say, WOW! What a stacked group of drivers.
Second, three of the four drivers (Truex, Hamlin, Busch) come from the same team, Joe Gibbs Racing. So if you’re placing bets in Vegas as to which team will win, Joe Gibbs or Stewart-Haas (Harvick’s team), I’d say Gibbs might have the bet.
However, Kevin Harvick usually steps up the plate and performs when he is the odd ball out and/or has the odds stacked against him.
Harvick won the championship in 2014, so he knows how to get around Homestead-Miami Speedway. So certainly don’t count him out!
When we look at the other three, there are two championships among the three drivers.
Kyle Busch won in 2015, and Martin Truex Jr. won in 2017. Denny Hamlin is the only driver without a championship heading into the weekend.
For those who don’t know how this championship round of the playoffs work, it’s actually simple.
One race. Four drivers. Highest finisher wins.
It just so happened that ever since this playoff system has been put into place, in order to win the championship, you had to win the race as well.
So for a driver like Kyle Busch, who hasn’t won a race in 21 races, that previous stat, scares him a little bit. Whereas Denny Hamlin is all excited because he has momentum from this past weekend’s win on his side.
Another thing to think about is this…does Joey Logano, a non-championship contender now, get revenge on Denny Hamlin for the Martinsville incident by taking him out this weekend? Or does he let it go and let Hamlin race for a championship? It wouldn’t be the first time Logano took out a Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the championship race.
Okay so prediction time! Now this is just my opinion…
At the end of the race this weekend, I don’t know who will be the champion.
Kyle Busch hasn’t shown me the consistency needed to come into a BIG weekend and perform, but he has surprised me as well. His results from the past four years worth of Homestead finishes are 4, 2, 6, 1, which shows that he can perform if he decides to show up and be competitive.
Kevin Harvick has had his good weekends, but he also has his bad weekends. His Homestead results are 3, 4, 3, 2 the last 4 years.
Denny Hamlin can do it, but his results at Homestead that scare me. His last win there was in 2013, but the past four years has seen 12, 9, 9, 10. Those finishing positions won’t win a championship. Needs to win or be in the top 5 at least.
Martin Truex Jr. has good consistency at Homestead with a 2, 1, 36, 12. At least in the last two years, ignore the 36th place finish in 2016.
So looking at the stats, it’s honestly a toss up! If you gave any advantage to anyone, I’d say Harvick and Hamlin just because Hamlin has momentum from this past weekend’s win and Harvick’s last win (Texas) came on a mile and a half, which is what Homestead is. But I don’t know. We’ll just have to watch and see how it turns out!
Tune into NBC at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, to watch the championship race! I’ll be watching!