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Today’s Cup race at Phoenix: Start time, lineup and more

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 27: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota, walks to the stage during pre-race ceremonies for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2019 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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This is it: it’s all on the line for six of the eight remaining drivers in the NASCAR Cup playoffs.

Once the checkered flag falls on today’s Bluegreen Vacations 500, two of those six drivers will join Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. (both already locked in via their respective wins at Texas and Martinsville) as the four finalists who will compete for the 2019 NASCAR Cup championship next Sunday in Miami.

The other four drivers who come up short of finishing above the playoff cutline will see their championship hopes come to an end.

The six drivers still in contention are: Kyle Busch (22 points above the cutline), Joey Logano (+20), Denny Hamlin (-20 points below the cutline), Ryan Blaney (-23), Kyle Larson (-23) and Chase Elliott (-78).

Because he cannot point his way in, Elliott is the only driver in a must-win situation if he hopes to advance to Miami. Logano, meanwhile, is hoping to hold off the four drivers below him coming into today’s race so he can have a chance at earning a second consecutive Cup championship next Sunday.

Here is the information for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 2:32 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:40 p.m.

PRERACE: The Cup garage opens at 10:30 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 1:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:23 p.m. by Captai Adam Roe, Chaplain, Luke Air Force Base. The National Anthem will be performed at 2:26 p.m. by SSgt Brittany Timpson, Luke Air Force Base.

DISTANCE: The race is 312 laps (312 miles/500 kilometers) around the 1-mile oval.

STAGES: Stage 1 will end on Lap 75. Stage 2 will end on Lap 150.

TV/RADIO: NBC will televise the race. Coverage will begin with NASCAR America at 1:30 p.m. on NBC. Countdown to Green follows at 2 p.m. on NBC, leading into race coverage. The postrace show will be on NBCSN, followed by Victory Lap at 6:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast will begin at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

STREAMING ONLINE: Click here for NBC’s live stream of the race.

FORECAST: The forecast for Sunday’s Cup race calls for a temperature of 80 degrees and a 0% chance of rain when the green flag drops.

LAST TIME: Kyle Busch led 117 laps en route to the win in last fall’s playoff race. Busch came back to dominate this year’s spring race, leading 177 laps.


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