Who will win the NASCAR Cup Series championiship?

Who will win the NASCAR Cup Series championiship?

Two of the four NASCAR Cup Series championship finalists have won the last two races at Phoenix Raceway, the site of the championship race this upcoming Sunday.

So it would make sense that Joey Logano, who won there in March, and Denny Hamlin, who won there a year agowhen the track played host to the semifinal round elimination race – are the favorites to win the title.

Egter, Brad Keselowski won the most recent races at New Hampshire and Richmond, and he will bring that car to Phoenix this weekend.

And Chase Elliott, the other finalist, rides the momentum of having won Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, making his way into the championship race.

So each of the four championship drivers has a reason to feel confident. The driver among them who finishes the best at Phoenix will capture the 2020 Cup Series title.

“We’ll believe what we want to believe and we’ll believe in ourselves first,” Logano said. “I’ll tell you again we’re the favorites to win this thing.

“That’s how it is in my mind. I said that a couple weeks ago. Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”

Here’s a look at each of their chances, in order of their seeding, which is based on best finishes from the semifinal round:

Joey Logano

Logano led 60 laps on his way to winning in March at Phoenix, his second win in the first four races. Sedertdien, he has won just one race, but it was a big one – at Kansas to open the semifinal round, giving him two stress-free races as the first Championship 4 qualifier.

It also has given his team two weeks to prepare for Phoenix, and he said that during the rain delays at Texas, he spent a lot of time with crew chief Paul Wolfe discussing the championship race.

“The past two weeks the advantage we earned was to be able to focus on our Phoenix car before everybody,” Logano said. “That’s the advantage we had.

“We get to go to these races not having our tongues hanging out trying to get in. Our batteries are charged up and we’re ready to go.”

The Team Penske driver has two victories and five top-10s at Phoenix, where he has an average finish of 14.3.

Chase Elliott

Elliott hasn’t won at Phoenix, but he had also never won at Martinsville and is coming off a victory there that launched him into the championship.

He led 93 laps at Phoenix in March but settled for a seventh-place finish. He has two top five finishes in nine starts, including a second in November 2017, and an average finish of 13th.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver is the first driver from the team since 2016 to qualify for the championship.

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“The more that you can enjoy that moment – enjoy being backed up against a wall, having to perform – the more you can enjoy that, the better off you’re going to be,” Elliott said.

“That’s something we put a lot of emphasis on, something I personally put emphasis on, to try to get better in those moments.”

Brad Keselowski

Like Elliott, Keselowski led plenty of laps in March, as he paced the field for 82 circuits before finishing 11th. The Team Penske driver also has a best finish of second at the track, where he has six top-fives and 10 top-10s with an average finish of 13.5 in 22 career starts.

Keselowski indicated that if he could get to Phoenix, he thinks taking the New Hampshire/Richmond car shows he would be a threat for the title.

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“All of us are pretty evenly matched going into Phoenix,” Keselowski said. “Denny has had some good runs there, Chase has had some good runs there. Joey won last spring.

“We’ve been so good on that type of track this season. I think it’s about as evenly matched as it’s going to get.”

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin did win at Phoenix a year ago, when he led 143 laps, but that was a different aerodynamic package. He was 20th in March.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has two wins and 13 top-fives in 30 career Phoenix starts, with an average finish of 11.3.

“We obviously had a great Phoenix last year,” Hamlin said. “Things were a lot different. You had a different aerodynamic package.

“Certainly I feel like when I go there, I’m going to roll off and hopefully have a race winner.”

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