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NASCAR Championship at Phoenix: How to watch, schedule, odds

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Four drivers will compete to hoist the Bill France Cup on Sunday.
USA Today

The 2021 NASCAR season has officially reached its conclusion as Phoenix Raceway hosts the championship this weekend.

This is the second straight year that Phoenix will hold the finale after Chase Elliott’s victory last year to clinch his first championship. Elliott, along with Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., are the four drivers eligible to win the title on Sunday. Still, 35 other hungry drivers will be on the track trying to win a trophy of their own.

Phoenix is a one-mile, low-banked tri-oval, making it a one-of-a-kind track on the circuit. No track directly compares to the shape and style of Phoenix, so it can be difficult for teams to prepare for the championship race.

Here’s everything you need to know for Phoenix:

What is the NASCAR Championship schedule?

The race weekend at Phoenix will feature practice and qualifying sessions. Only eight of the 36 races had practice and qualifying this season as the sport attempted to cut costs for teams in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cup Series practice is set for 4:05 p.m. to 4:55 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 5. Single-car qualifying will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 6. The Season Finale 500 at Phoenix will go green just after 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 7.

 

What channel is NASCAR on this weekend?

The NASCAR Championship race at Phoenix is on NBC and Peacock starting at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 7.

Pre-race coverage starts with NASCAR Countdown to Green at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC. NASCAR Cup Series Post Race moves to NBCSN starting at 7 p.m. ET. All coverage before, during and after the race can be streamed online here or in the NBC Sports App.

What is the Phoenix starting lineup?

The starting lineup for the NASCAR Championship at Phoenix was set during qualifying on Saturday night. Each driver had two laps around the track and the lineup was set by the fastest time. Larson was the quickest, with fellow championship contenders Elliott (second), Hamlin (sixth) and Truex (12th) just behind. Here’s the full lineup for Sunday:

  1. Kyle Larson
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. William Byron
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Kurt Busch
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Cole Custer
  8. Christopher Bell
  9. Kevin Harvick
  10. Joey Logano
  11. Brad Keselowski
  12. Martin Truex Jr.
  13. Kyle Busch
  14. Alex Bowman
  15. Matt DiBenedetto
  16. Ross Chastain
  17. Daniel Suarez
  18. Aric Almirola
  19. Ryan Newman
  20. Tyler Reddick
  21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  22. Chase Briscoe
  23. Austin Dillon
  24. Corey LaJoie
  25. Bubba Wallace
  26. Chris Buescher
  27. Erik Jones
  28. Michael McDowell
  29. Justin Haley
  30. Anthony Alfredo
  31. Ryan Preece
  32. BJ McLeod
  33. Cody Ware
  34. Joey Gase
  35. Quin Houff
  36. David Starr
  37. Josh Bilicki
  38. Garrett Smithley
  39. Timmy Hill

NASCAR Championship Race format

After nine playoff races, the 16-driver playoff field has been cut to just four. At the championship race, points don’t matter -- the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion will be whichever playoff driver (Larson, Elliott, Hamlin or Truex) crosses the finish line first.

One of the four technically doesn't have to win the race to win the championship. But since NASCAR adopted this playoff format in 2014, the eventual champion has won the final race every year. The safest way to be crowned champion, obviously, is to win the race. Second place will only cut it if a non-playoff driver wins the race.

Which active drivers have won at Phoenix?

Just eight of the 39 drivers racing this weekend have won at Phoenix: Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Hamlin, Elliott and Truex. Harvick leads all active drivers with nine Phoenix wins, but he hasn’t won there since 2018. Kyle Busch (three), Newman (two), Logano (two) and Hamlin (two) also have multiple Phoenix wins, while Kurt Busch, Elliott and Truex have one apiece.

Who is favored to win NASCAR this weekend?

Even though Harvick is a nine-time winner at Phoenix, he isn’t among the favorites to win this weekend for a few reasons. After winning (coincidentally) nine races in 2020, he is winless this season. He’s also not a member of the Championship 4, meaning he’d have to break a seven-year string of title contenders winning the final race.

 

Based on recent history, it’s nearly impossible to bet against the championship-eligible drivers. Larson has a series-high nine wins in 2021, including three in the last four races. Truex won at Phoenix in its March race, and three of his four wins this season have come on tracks one-mile or less in length. Elliott is the defending champion after dominating Phoenix last November (led 153 of 312 laps). Hamlin is in the Championship 4 for the third straight year as he searches for his elusive first title, but he finished fourth in both 2019 and 2020.

With a championship on the line, it’s difficult to see Larson, Truex, Elliott or Hamlin not winning on Sunday. That’s reflected in the odds, too.

Here are some of the odds to win at Phoenix, courtesy of our partner, PointsBet:

  • Kyle Larson, +165
  • Chase Elliott, +320
  • Denny Hamlin, +575
  • Martin Truex Jr., +700
  • William Byron, +1600
  • Ryan Blaney, +2000
  • Kyle Busch, +2500
  • Kevin Harvick, +2800
  • Brad Keselowski, +2800
  • Joey Logano, +3000
  • Alex Bowman, +3500
  • Christopher Bell, +4000
  • Kurt Busch, +6000
  • Tyler Reddick, +12500
  • Aric Almirola, +15000
  • Bubba Wallace, +25000
  • Ryan Newman, +50000

What is the weather for Phoenix Raceway?

The Weather Channel is expecting a perfect weekend in Avondale, Ariz. From Friday through Sunday, there is a zero percent chance of rain and sunny skies. A high of 86 degrees is forecasted for Sunday afternoon after temperatures reached 90 and 89 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.