NASCAR Cup Series NASCAR Cup Series Championship November 3-5
Phoenix Raceway The Purse: $11,143,232
Sunday, November 5 3 p.m. ET TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 312 miles (312 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 185), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 312)
NASCAR Xfinity Series NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship
Phoenix Raceway The Purse: $1,707,366
Saturday, November 4 7 p.m. ET TV: USA, 6:30 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Championship
Phoenix Raceway The Purse: $794,766
Friday, November 3 10 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 9 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 150 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)
NASCAR Cup Series
Star-studded Championship Weekend awaits the NASCAR Cup Championship 4
Switch on the cameras and crank-up the spotlights, as everyone’s attention will be on Phoenix Raceway this Sunday (Nov. 5) for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). Four of the sports’ most elite competitors have earned their way into the series’ Championship 4 Round, and with only of them a former Cup champion – Kyle Larson (2021), three of the four – Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and William Byron – are looking to earn the first title of their careers.
2023 Champ 4 Starts Wins Top Fives Top 10s Poles Laps Led Laps Completed % Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish Driver Rating
Ryan Blaney 35 3 7 17 0 560 8,748 6.40% 12.6 14.4 88.3
Christopher Bell 35 2 10 19 6 599 8,760 6.84% 9.5 12.3 92.0
Kyle Larson 35 4 14 17 2 1,127 8,628 13.06% 10.5 15 96.4
William Byron 35 6 14 20 3 921 8,752 10.52% 11.2 11.2 98.1
Totals & Averages 15 45 73 11 3,207 34,888 9.20% 11.0 13.2 93.7
Winning Percentage 42.86%
It was announced in March of 2019 that the NASCAR Cup Series would be moving its Playoffs’ Championship Race from Homestead-Miami Speedway, where it had resided since the inception of the Playoffs in 2004, to Phoenix Raceway for the first time in 2020. Prior to the 2020 season, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ season finale for 16 seasons (from 2004-2019). Phoenix Raceway is just the second track to host the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race in the Playoffs.
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, 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 (15 seasons), Phoenix Raceway has hosted the penultimate race (ninth) in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
The 2023 season marks the fourth year the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race will be held at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona (2020-2023). Make sure to catch all the Phoenix Raceway on-track action this weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series practice is this Friday, Nov. 3 at 5:05 p.m. MST (8:05 p.m. ET) on the USA Network.
Playoff Crunch Time: Who steps up at Phoenix?
Phoenix Raceway has occupied some pivotal positions on the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff schedules, and the drivers that have stepped-up and won when it mattered most (Playoff time) in the Valley of the Sun have enjoyed the spoils that come with it. A total of 11 different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races at Phoenix Raceway. Veteran Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in Playoff race wins at Phoenix Raceway with four victories (2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014).
Since hosting the series’ Championship Race, the winner of the race has also won the NASCAR Cup Series title – Chase Elliott won at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 8, 2020, Kyle Larson won at Phoenix on Nov. 7, 2021 and Joey Logano won at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 2022.
Among the Championship 4 drivers this season – Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson and William Byron – Larson is the only driver to win a Playoff race at Phoenix (2021). Though, William Byron is the most recent winner at the one-mile track taking the victory earlier this season, Blaney and Bell have yet to win at Phoenix in the Cup Series.
NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway Playoff Race Winners
Track Playoff Race Winners Date Race No.
Phoenix Dale Earnhardt Jr Sunday, November 7, 2004 34
Phoenix Kyle Busch Sunday, November 13, 2005 35
Phoenix Kevin Harvick Sunday, November 12, 2006 35
Phoenix Jimmie Johnson Sunday, November 11, 2007 35
Phoenix Jimmie Johnson Sunday, November 9, 2008 35
Phoenix Jimmie Johnson Sunday, November 15, 2009 35
Phoenix Carl Edwards Sunday, November 14, 2010 35
Phoenix Kasey Kahne Sunday, November 13, 2011 35
Phoenix Kevin Harvick Sunday, November 11, 2012 35
Phoenix Kevin Harvick Sunday, November 10, 2013 35
Phoenix Kevin Harvick Sunday, November 9, 2014 35
Phoenix Dale Earnhardt Jr Sunday, November 15, 2015 35
Phoenix Joey Logano Sunday, November 13, 2016 35
Phoenix Matt Kenseth Sunday, November 12, 2017 35
Phoenix Kyle Busch Sunday, November 11, 2018 35
Phoenix Denny Hamlin Sunday, November 10, 2019 35
Phoenix Chase Elliott Sunday, November 8, 2020 36
Phoenix Kyle Larson Sunday, November 7, 2021 36
Phoenix Joey Logano Sunday, November 6, 2022 36
Since 2004, four non-Playoff drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway: Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth.
- In 2005, Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, and was ranked 19th in the point standings at the time of the win.
- In 2011, Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, and was ranked 14th in the point standings at the time of the win.
- In 2015, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, and was seventh in the point standings at the time of the win. Earnhardt Jr. had made the Playoffs in 2015 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.
- In 2017, Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, 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.
The worst finish in a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway by a driver that went on to win the title that same season was 38th by Jimmie Johnson in 2016. Phoenix occupied the penultimate event of the season in 2016.
Last season in the Championship Race at Phoenix, the Championship 4 finished first (Joey Logano), third (Ross Chastain), 10th (Christopher Bell) and 28th (Chase Elliott).
A total of 29 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Phoenix Raceway, and 13 of the 29 have won multiple times at one-mile track. This weekend, 10 of the 29 NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway winners are active, and two of the 10 are Championship 4 contenders – Kyle Larson (2021) and William Byron (2023).
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Phoenix Raceway with nine victories.
Active Phoenix Race Winners (10) Wins Seasons
Kevin Harvick 9 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014 sweep, 2013, 2012, 2007 sweep
Joey Logano 3 2022, 2020, 2016
Kyle Busch 3 2019, 2018, 2005
Denny Hamlin 2 2019, 2012
Ryan Newman 2 2017, 2010
William Byron 1 2023
Chase Briscoe 1 2022
Kyle Larson 1 2021
Martin Truex Jr 1 2021
Chase Elliott 1 2020
At Phoenix this weekend, NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Pole Qualifying will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1:35 p.m. MST (4:35 p.m. ET) and can be viewed on the USA Network. Championship Race: A deep dive into the NASCAR Cup Series season finale When it comes time to win or go home, there is no bigger stage in NASCAR than the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Championship Race. Below is a look at the performances in the season finale during the Playoff Era (2004-2022).
Since the inception of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2004, the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series season finale race has won the championship 10 times, including the last nine consecutive: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
- In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the 15th starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 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-Miami Speedway 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-Miami Speedway 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-Miami Speedway 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 championships with seven each.
- In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won from the second starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway 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-Miami Speedway 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-Miami Speedway in the sixth year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he became just the second active driver at the time with multiple titles (20115, 2019) joining seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
- In 2020, Chase Elliott won from the first starting position at Phoenix Raceway in the seventh year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship. Worth noting, Elliott was served a pre-race penalty and as a result of serving the penalty he actually started the race from back of the field and still won.
- In 2021, Kyle Larson won from the pole position at Phoenix Raceway in the eighth year of the eliminationstyle format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship.
- In 2022, Joey Logano won from the pole position at Phoenix Raceway in the ninth year of the eliminationstyle format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. With the win, Logano earned his second NASCAR Cup Series championship (2018, 2022), becoming just the second active driver with multiple titles. The worst finish in a championship race by the eventual series champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway was 15th (three times): Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012.
2014 – Harvick Rides To Two ‘Do Or Die’ Victories To Earn First Series Title
Kevin Harvick started the penultimate race of the 2014 season needing a win to get into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix. He dominated the contest, leading 264 laps to earn the victory and a spot in the Championship 4.
After playing mind games throughout the week leading up to Homestead-Miami with the rest of the field, Harvick held off runner-up Ryan Newman to earn his first career NASCAR Cup Series title and the second for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Harvick’s championship was the first of the ‘elimination-style’ format in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
2015 – Kyle Busch Overcomes Injury For Improbable Comeback Just ninth months after breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot, Kyle Busch edged out defending champion Kevin Harvick for the Homestead race win and his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. Busch missed the first 11 races of the season after sustaining his injuries in a crash in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona. He came back to win five races in the NASCAR Cup Series that year and cement his name in NASCAR history.
2016 – Johnson Ties Series All-Time Record With Seventh Championship
The six-time champion, Jimmie Johnson, proved once again to not count him out in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Johnson won his way into the Round of 8 with a victory at Charlotte, then took the checkered flag at Martinsville to punch his ticket to the Championship 4 Round at Homestead-Miami. He then provided a walk-off win at Homestead-Miami to capture his seventh championship, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the NASCAR Cup Series record of most championships at seven each.
2017 – Martin Truex Jr. Earns First Championship With Underdog Team Driving for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing, Martin Truex Jr. turned a career-best season into a championship for the ages. His victory in the Homestead-Miami finale was a personal best eighth on the year. He led the final 34 laps and held off a hard charging Kyle Busch by .681-seconds to earn the trophy hoist and his first title. It was an emotional victory, team owner Barney Visser was recovering from a recent heart attack back in Denver and Truex’s then girlfriend Sherry Pollex was trackside after a year of major medical obstacles to help him celebrate.
2018 – Joey Logano Wins First Championship
After qualifying for the Championship 4 in the Round of 8 opening race at Martinsville Speedway, the 28-year old Logano headed to Homestead-Miami largely considered the “underdog” to 2018’s “Big 3” – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. The threesome (Busch, 9, Harvick, 8 and Truex, 4) won 21 of the first 35 races in 2018. However, the Team Penske driver grabbed his opportunity and took it to the Big 3, winning the season finale by a sizable 1.7-seconds over Truex, Harvick and Busch and taking his career first NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy – Team Penske’s second.
2019 – Kyle Busch grabs second title, fifth for JGR
After putting up four wins early in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season, Kyle Busch went winless for 21 races. He pointed his way into the Championship 4 but when his back was against the wall he answered and won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway passing Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and then holding off his hard charging Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. by 4.578-seconds to win his second championship of his career (2015, 2019). With the feat, Busch became just the second active multiple champion joining Jimmie Johnson (seven titles) at
the time. The title was also the fifth for Joe Gibbs Racing – Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015 and 2019).
2020 – Chase Elliott comes from the rear to win first title at Phoenix
After putting up just two wins during the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, Chase Elliott stepped up his game in the Playoffs winning at the Charlotte Road Course to advance to the Round of 8 and then winning the penultimate race at Martinsville Speedway to earn his spot in the Championship 4 Round. Elliott and the No. 9 team would head to Phoenix for the season finale only to lose their first starting position to multiple prerace inspection failures. But the setback didn’t hold Elliott down, instead it made him even more hungry for the title.
During the Championship race, he methodically worked his way through the field taking the lead for the first time in the event on Lap 79 of 312. Elliott would go on to hold off a hard charging Brad Keselowski to win the race by 2.740-seconds. With the feat, Elliott became seventh active champion at the time. The title was also a series leading 13th for Hendrick Motorsports.
2021 – Dirt Master Kyle Larson dominates Phoenix to win first Cup championship
Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson was dominant all season long putting up five wins and winning the Regular Season Championship in 2021. The California native entered the Playoffs as the No. 1 seed with 52 Playoffs points. Larson would then proceed to tie Tony Stewart’s Playoff record for the most wins in a single NASCAR Cup Series postseason run with five victories, including the season finale race at Phoenix Raceway. Larson showed up to the Valley of the Sun as the odds favorite and he didn’t disappoint. Larson won the pole and then led a race-high 107 laps en route to the win and his first NASCAR Cup Series title. With the feat, Larson became eighth active champion at the time (prior to Kurt Busch stepping away from fulltime racing). The title was also a series leading 14th for Hendrick Motorsports.
2022 – Joey Logano secures second Cup title with stout Phoenix win
Team Penske’s Joey Logano earned his spot in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Championship 4 Round after winning the Round of 8 opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After two weeks of preparation for the Championship Race at Phoenix, crew chief Paul Wolfe and the No. 22 Ford team brought a rocket ship for Logano to race in the finale. Logano would win the pole for the event and
lead 187 of the 312 en route to his victory and second career Cup Series title (2018, 2022). Logano became just the second active driver with multiple championships in the series joining Kyle Busch (2015, 2019).
Chances a spoiler steals the show this weekend at Phoenix
Since the introduction of the “win and you’re in” elimination-style Playoff format, the eventual champion has won the season finale race (at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix Raceway) each of the nine previous years (Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016; Martin Truex Jr., 2017; Joey Logano, 2018; Kyle Busch, 2019; Chase Elliott, 2020; Kyle Larson, 2021; Joey Logano, 2022). Still, with Phoenix Raceway hosting the championship event, there is a chance a driver outside of championship contention could win the race on Sunday.
The name that rises to the top of the list of possible spoilers this weekend, is NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway wins leader, Kevin Harvick, who has spent a career mastering the one-mile raceway putting up nine series victories, including four Playoff wins. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Harvick, failed to make the Championship 4 this season, so, the Californian would like nothing more than to steal a win this weekend, especially since it will be his final time behind the wheel in full-time competition. Expect Harvick to run well this weekend, as Phoenix Raceway is his best track. Harvick leads the series in wins (nine), top fives (20), top 10s (30) laps completed (12,783), laps led (1,699) and average finish (8.6) at the one-mile facility. Plus, Harvick hasn’t finished outside the top-10 in his last 20 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix. When he finished fifth last November in the season finale, he set a new record for the most consecutive top-10s at a
single racetrack with 19. Previously, Harvick had been tied with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, who earned 18 straight top-10s apiece at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Harvick’s 20th straight top-10 at Phoenix came by way of his fifth-place finish in March.
Another driver to watch this weekend, would be last season’s champion and Team Penske driver Joey Logano.
The Connecticut native has won three times at Phoenix in his career including this race last season (2016, 2020, 2022). In total, Logano has made 29 starts at Phoenix putting up eight top fives and 16 top 10s to accompany his three wins. Saying Goodbye: SHR veterans Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola are hanging it up Two Stewart-Haas Racing drivers making their final fulltime career starts this weekend at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR cup Series Championship Race are Kevin Harvick from Bakersfield, California and Aric Almirola from Tampa, Florida. The two veterans will be hanging up their racing gloves following the checkered flag on Sunday.
Almirola will be making his 460th NASCAR Cup Series career start this weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
Almirola has competed in the Cup Series since 2007 (16 years) and has run fulltime since 2012. Almirola has been a consistent driver throughout his career, posting three wins, 30 top fives, 96 top 10s and six poles. He earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs five times (2014, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) and finished a career best fifth in the 2018 final championship standings.
Harvick will be making his 826th career NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at Phoenix Raceway. Harvick has competed in the series for 23 straight seasons (2001-2023). An assured first-ballot Hall of Famer, Harvick has amassed an impressive resume behind the wheel with 60 Cup wins (7.3% winning percentage), 251 top fives (30.4% top-five finishing percentage), 443 top 10s (53.6% top-10 finishing percentage) and 31 poles. Plus, he is tied with Denny Hamlin for the series-most Playoff appearances all-time with 17 each, and he is also tied with Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch for the series-most Championship 4 Round appearances with five each. His successes don’t end there, he is also earned a NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship in 2020 and the overall Cup Series Championship in 2014 – the first year of the elimination-style Playoff format.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Stage Is Set: Xfinity Series Championship 4 drivers are ready for Phoenix
The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here – Championship Weekend. The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up the Round of 8 last weekend at Martinsville Speedway with a win by JR Motorsports’ Justin
Allgaier and will now head to Phoenix Raceway to crown a new Xfinity Series champion. Four drivers – Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer – will vie for the title on Saturday, November 4 at 7 p.m. ET on the USA Network, the NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Phoenix Raceway has hosted 43 NACAR Xfinity Series races, producing 24 different race winners and 23 different pole winners. Eleven races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Ty Gibbs in last year’s Xfinity Series Championship.
Cup Series regular Kyle Busch has made a name for himself at the track, holding the record for most wins (11), poles (10), top 10s (21), lead lap finishes (24), laps led (2,237), and is tied with Kevin Harvick for most top fives (17) in the Xfinity Series.
The race at Phoenix Raceway will be sure to keep fans on their toes as there are four drivers in the field that have taken the checkered flag at the one-mile track – Justin Allgaier (the only Champ 4 driver with a Phoenix win under his belt – 2017, 2019), Brandon Jones (2020), Daniel Hemric (2021), and Sammy Smith (2023).
This season marks the fourth time that Phoenix Raceway will play host to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race (2020-2023). From 2016 to 2019, the season finale was held at Homestead-Miami
Speedway. Since the inception of the Playoffs in 2016, six of the seven championship races have been won by a Champ 4 driver – Daniel Suárez (2016), Tyler Reddick (2018, 2019), Austin Cindric (2020), Daniel Hemric (2021), and Ty Gibbs (2022).
Track Race Winners Season Race Number Date
Homestead Daniel Suarez 2016 33 Saturday, November 19, 2016
Homestead Cole Custer 2017 33 Saturday, November 18, 2017
Homestead Tyler Reddick 2018 33 Saturday, November 17, 2018
Homestead Tyler Reddick 2019 33 Saturday, November 16, 2019
Phoenix Austin Cindric 2020 33 Saturday, November 7, 2020
Phoenix Daniel Hemric 2021 33 Saturday, November 6, 2021
Phoenix Ty Gibbs 2022 33 Saturday, November 5, 2022
Xfinity drivers will hit the track for their final practice session of the season on Friday, November 3 at 7:05 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App. Their qualifying session will be on race day (Saturday, November 4) at 3:30 p.m. ET on the USA Network and on the NBC Sports App.
Meet the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 contenders
It’s been a wild ride for the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers this season and now it’s time to crown a new champion. The four drivers who will be putting it all on the line this weekend are JR Motorsports teammates Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier, Joe Gibbs Racing’s John Hunter Nemechek and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer. Let’s take a look into these drivers’ careers and what brought them all the way to the Championship 4 Round this season.
Sam Mayer (No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet)
The 20-year-old, Sam Mayer, truly found his footing in the Xfinity Series this year and became a force to be reckoned with. He went into the season winless in the series and now heads to the Championship race with four wins (Road America, Watkins Glen, Charlotte Road Course, Homestead), 12 top fives, 18 top 10s and 177 laps led. In addition, he heads into the weekend with a driver rating of 91.2 (fifth-best in the series). Playoff recap: Mayer didn’t have the strongest start to the 2023 Playoffs, finishing 35th at Bristol and 38th at Texas but he turned it around with a win on the Charlotte Road Course to lock himself into the Round of 8. The win in the final race of the Round of 12 must’ve given him the momentum he needed because he kicked off the Round of 8 at Las Vegas with a fifth-place finish followed by another win at Homestead, which clinched him into the Championship 4. He closed out the round with a 25th-place finish at Martinsville. The 2023 season marks his second Playoff appearance. His first stint in the Playoffs was last season (2022) where he made it to the Round of 8 and ultimately finished seventh. Phoenix Raceway stats: The Franklin, Wisconsin native has made four starts at Phoenix Raceway, posting a best finish of 11th. Crew Chief Corner – Mardy Lindley: The 2023 season marks Lindley’s first full-time season in the Xfinity Series and with Mayer. However, he is no stranger to working with the young driver as they ran three races together in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2019. Lindley also had stints in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2021 and 2022 with multiple drivers. His longest stint was with Corey Heim last season (16 races). In his three years in the Truck Series, he was crew chief for 48 races, posting six wins, 16 top fives and 23 top 10s.
Justin Allgaier (No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet)
The 37-year-old, Justin Allgaier, is the most seasoned driver in the Championship 4 field and will, without a doubt, leave it all out on the track to snag his first Xfinity Series title. He’s had a successful season, posting four wins (Charlotte, Daytona, Bristol, Martinsville), 14 top fives, 19 top 10s and has led 643 laps. He heads into the weekend with a driver rating of 105.2 (second-best in the series). Playoff recap: Allgaier hit the ground running in the Playoffs, immediately clinching his spot in the Round of 8 with a win in the first race at Bristol. He went on to post a fifth-place finish at Texas and closed out the Round of 12 with a 37th-place finish at the Charlotte Road Course (incident). He also had a strong start to the Round of 8 with a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas, a 15th-place finish at Homestead, then finished with a bang with a win at Martinsville. The 2023 season marks the eighth time he has made a Playoff appearance. He is the only driver to compete in all Xfinity Series Playoffs (2016-2023). Additionally, he has appeared in the Championship 4 Round a seriesleading six times (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023). Phoenix Raceway stats: The Spaulding, Illinois native is a veteran on Phoenix’s one-mile track, posing two wins (2017, 2019), nine top fives and 17 top 10s in his 26 starts. Crew Chief Corner – James Pohlman: The 2023 season marks Pohlman’s first full-time season in a NASCAR national series and his first with Allgaier. He had his first stint in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2011 with Juan Pablo Montoya where they managed to post two top 10s in their 17 races together. He also ran oneoff races with Ross Chastain in 2020 and with Austin Dillon and Austin Hill in 2022. He dipped his toe in the Xfinity Series last season with Sheldon Creed (four races – one top 10).
John Hunter Nemechek (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)
The 26-year-old, John Hunter Nemechek has had a stand-out season, posting seven wins (Auto Club, Martinsville, Atlanta, New Hampshire, Michigan, Kansas, Texas), 17 top fives, 24 top 10s and las led 1,017 laps. He heads into the weekend with a driver rating of 111.1 (series-best). Playoff recap: Nemechek has stayed consistent throughout the entire post-season, kicking off the Round of
12 with a third-place finish at Bristol, a win at Texas, and closing out the round with an eighth-place finish at the Charlotte Road Course. He came in strong at Las Vegas with a runner-up finish, followed by a third-place finish at Homestead and an 18th-place finish at Martinsville. The 2023 season marks his second Playoff appearance and his first time in the Championship 4 Round. His
first appearance was in 2019 where he made it to the Round of 8 and ultimately finished seventh. Phoenix Raceway stats: The Mooresville, North Carolina native is quite the pro on Phoenix’s one-mile track. He’s posted a top-10 finish in each of his six starts, with his best-finish of fourth in 2019. Crew Chief Corner – Ben Beshore: The 2023 season marks Beshore’s first-full time season with Nemechek. He ran one other full-time season in the Xfinity Series – in 2020 with Harrison Burton where they were able to rack up four wins, 15 top fives, and 22 top 10s. The year prior (2019), he ran a few races with multiple drivers in the Xfinity Series, seven of which were with Kyle Busch (posted four wins). He also ran full-time seasons with Busch in the Cup Series in 2021 and 2022.
Cole Custer (No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford)
The 25-year-old, Cole Custer, had a memorable year highlighted by the fact that he won the inaugural Chicago Street Race. He racked up two wins (Portland, Chicago), 13 top fives, 20 top 10s, and 490 laps led. He heads into the weekend with a driver rating of 103.7 (third best in the series). Playoff recap: Custer had a strong start in the Round of 12, posting a fourth-place finish in Bristol, a sixthplace finish in Texas and a runner-up finish on the Charlotte Road Course. These top-10 finishes were enough to clinch him into the Round of 8 where he posted a third-place finish in Las Vegas, a 13th-place finish at Homestead and a 19th-place at Martinsville. The 2023 season marks his fourth Playoff appearance. His first was in 2017 where he made it the Round of 8
and ultimately finished the season fifth in the final standings. He is no stranger to competing in the Championship 4, making it to the final round consecutive years (2018, 2019) where he finished runner-up in both. Phoenix Raceway stats: The Ladera Ranch, California native has made seven starts at Phoenix Raceway, posting two top fives and five top 10s. Crew Chief Corner – Jonathan Toney: Toney is new to the NASCAR world. He’s in his first season competing in a NASCAR national series and his first with Custer. A Family Affair: Nemecheks could add name to prestigious list of champions NASCAR fans have seen multiple families come through the ranks over the years – from brothers to father-son duos. But the most notable are the ones that manage to have enough success to take home championships. This weekend, if John Hunter Nemechek wins the NASCAR Xfinity Series title, the Nemecheks (Joe, Father and John Hunter, Son) would become the first Father-Son duo to win championships in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the sixth Father-Son pair to accomplish the feat in the three NASCAR national series; joining the Pettys, Jarretts, Elliotts, Earnhardts and Pearsons.
Drivers (Father-Son) Championship Seasons Series
Lee Petty 1959, ‘58, ‘54 Cup
Richard Petty 1979, ‘75, ‘74, ‘72, ‘71, ‘67, ‘64 Cup
Ned Jarrett 1965, ‘61 Cup
Dale Jarrett 1999 Cup
Bill Elliott 1988 Cup
Chase Elliott 2020 Cup
Dale Earnhardt 1994, ’93, ‘91, ‘90, ‘87, ‘86, ‘80 Cup
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1999, ‘98 Xfinity
David Pearson 1969, ‘68, ‘66 Cup
Larry Pearson 1987, ‘86 Xfinity
Joe Nemechek won the Xfinity Series title in 1992 and now his son John Hunter will be competing for the 2023 championship. If John Hunter Nemechek wins the Xfinity Series title this weekend, it would be his first NASCAR national series championship.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year class wraps up their season – Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders are finally at the finish line of their inaugural season in the Xfinity Series. Let’s take a look at how their seasons panned out:
Sammy Smith found success in his first season in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and currently holds the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings lead by 39 points over second place. Smith has posted one win (Phoenix), six top fives and 14 top 10s on the year. Smith also earned a spot in the Playoffs this season, but was eliminated in the Round of 8. Chandler Smith also had strong season in his No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet this year and is currently second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. Smith posted one win (Richmond), eight top fives, 12 top 10s and also made it to the Round of 8 in the Playoffs.
Parker Retzlaff posted some solid finishes in his No. 31 Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet this season. He had a strong start in the Daytona season opener, finishing fourth, and went on to post seven top-10 finishes. Blaine Perkins made 29 starts this season with a best-finish of 13th at Martinsville-1. Chevrolet clinches Xfinity Series manufacturer championship – With a win by Chevrolet driver Sam Mayer two weeks ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Chevrolet has clinched the manufacturer championship in the Xfinity Series for 2023.
Chevrolet solidified the championship by posting another win – last weekend at Martinsville by Justin Allgaier.
Chevrolet has won 17 of the 32 Xfinity Series races this season thus far. It is the 25th time that Chevrolet has won the OEM championship in the series, and the seventh in a row.
“It is a tremendous honor earning, the Bill France Performance Cup in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the seventh consecutive year,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. Vice president of Performance and Motorsports.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Phoenix Raceway: Time to crown another CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Champion
After a week off to get their trucks ready and their minds right, the competitors are gearing up for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway Friday, November 3 at 10 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio), where it will be decided who of the Championship 4 contenders – Corey Heim, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger, and Ben Rhodes – will finish the highest and take the 2023 title. The one-mile low banked tri-oval in Avondale, Phoenix has hosted 32 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races producing 22 different race winners. Eight of the 32 series races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by reigning NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion Zane Smith (2022).
Since its opening in 1964, Phoenix Raceway has had four different names:
Phoenix International Raceway
Jeff Gordon Raceway (November 15, 2015)
The track was originally two circuits in one, a 2.7-mile road course and a one-mile tri-oval before later being redeveloped confiding the track to oval-only. It was reconfigured by mid-August 2011. From 1995-1998, Phoenix Raceway held two CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races a year. Since 1999, the track has only hosted one race in the series a year.
The inaugural Phoenix race was won by Mike Skinner piloting the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet on Sunday, February 5. Skinner bested legendary drivers Terry Labonte, Ron Hornaday Jr., and Johnny Benson Jr. Sheldon Creed was the first driver to win the championship race at Phoenix in 2022.
NCTS Championship Race Winners (2016-2022)
Date Track Race Winner Season Race No.
Friday, November 18, 2016 Homestead William Byron 2016 23
Friday, November 17, 2017 Homestead Chase Briscoe 2017 23
Friday, November 16, 2018 Homestead Brett Moffitt 2018 23
Friday, November 15, 2019 Homestead Austin Hill 2019 23
Friday, November 6, 2020 Phoenix Sheldon Creed 2020 23
Friday, November 5, 2021 Phoenix Chandler Smith 2021 22
Friday, November 4, 2022 Phoenix Zane Smith 2022 23
The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will kick off the Championship Weekend with practice on Thursday, November 2 at 8 p.m. EST. They will make their qualifying runs on Friday, November 3 at 6:05 p.m. EST.
CRAFTSMAN Truck Championship 4 are ready to fight for a title
The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series concluded the Round of 8 at Homestead-Miami Speedway last weekend, locking in the four drivers who will be competing to be crowned the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck
Series champion. Carson Hocevar won the Baptist Health Cancer Care 200 – his fourth victory of the 2023 season – and locked in his place in the Championship 4 after making a late-race pass on Ben Rhodes.
As for the other three drivers, Corey Heim clinched his spot after winning at Bristol Motor Speedway, Grant Enfinger pointed his way in (five points above the cutoff) after a fifth-place finish at Homestead, and 2021 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes earned the final spot on a tiebreaker of best finish in the round. Rhodes finished runner-up after Zane Smith and the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports’ team were disqualified after a post-race technical inspection found an unapproved windshield support.
The competitors have a week off to strategize and get their trucks ready for the CRAFTSMAN 150 at Phoenix Raceway Friday, November 3 at 10 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM Radio).
Let’s look at how the four championship drivers have done in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series careers to get them to this point.
Corey Heim (No. 11 TRICON Garage Toyota) heads to Phoenix Raceway next week to make his first career appearance in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Championship 4 Round. The 21-year-old’s first year with his new team has gone without a significant hitch. 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats:
Three wins (Martinsville, Mid-Ohio, Bristol)
12 top-five finishes, 15 top-10 finishes, three poles
564 laps led
Average start – 7.2
Average finish – 6.2
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Career (2021 – Present):
40 starts, five wins, 18 top-five finishes, 29 top-10 finishes, five poles
635 laps led
Average start – 8.2
Average finish – 10.2
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Stats (2023):
One Playoff win (Bristol)
Six starts, five top-five finishes, six top-10 finishes
156 laps led
Crew Chief Scott Zipadelli:
Scott Zipadelli has crew chief experience dating back to 2000 and has made his mark in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. He spent 10 years in the Xfinity Series compiling three wins, 35 top-five finishes, and 91 top- 10 finishes in 272 races. Some notable names he has worked with in the series are Kenny Wallace (2011, 2012), Justin Allgaier (2013), and Kyle Larson (2014). In 2015, he made his move to the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series becoming crew chief for Ben Kennedy. Since then, he has accumulated 18 wins, 68 top-five finishes, 117 top- 10 finishes, and nine poles in 204 races. Other notable names he has teamed up with are Ryan Truex (2017), Brett Moffitt (2018), Austin Hill (2019-2021), and Tyler Ankrum (2023). Plus, Zipadelli led driver Brett Moffit to the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championship in 2018.
Carson Hocevar (No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet) also heads to Phoenix Raceway to make his first career appearance in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Championship 4 Round. The third-year driver has made the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs since his rookie season in 2020 but has never made it out of the Round of 10. Hocevar is hoping to deliver Niece Motorsports its first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series title.
2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats:
Four wins (Texas, Nashville, Richmond, Homestead)
10 top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes
260 laps led
Average start – 9.3
Average finish – 11.2
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Career (2019 – Present):
76 starts, four wins, 21 top-five finishes, 33 top- 10 finishes, one pole
600 laps led
Average start – 10.8
Average finish – 13.1
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Stats (2021 – Present):
One Playoff win (Homestead, 2023)
20 starts, five top-five finishes, six top-10 finishes
180 laps led
Crew Chief Phil Gould:
Phil Gould has experience in all three NASCAR national series. His NASCAR journey first began in 2013 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Brian Scott. He spent six years in the series compiling one win, 18 top-five finishes, 77 top-10 finishes, and four poles in 198 races. He also worked with Eliott Sadler (2015) and Ryan Reed (2016-2018) before moving to the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2019, spending almost the entirety of the season with Ross Chastain who earned Most Popular Driver that year. Since then, he’s been with the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series for five years, accumulating seven wins, 31 top-five finishes, 57 top-10 finishes, and two poles. Other notable names he’s worked with in the series are Trevor Bayne (2020), Ty Majeski (2020), and Brett Moffitt (2021).
Grant Enfinger (No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet) heads to Phoenix Raceway to compete in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Championship 4 Round for the second time in his career. With steady
performances week in and week out, the 38-year-old hopes to earn GMS Racing a championship in their final start.
2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats:
Three wins (Kansas, Gateway, Milwaukee)
8 top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes, one pole
232 laps led
Average start – 9.9
Average finish – 9.3
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Career (2010 – Present):
172 starts, 10 wins, 58 top-five finishes, 101 top-10 finishes, six poles
1,131 laps led
Average start – 10.3
Average finish – 10.4
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Stats (2018 – Present):
Four Playoff wins (Las Vegas, 2018; Martinsville, 2020; Indianapolis, 2022; Milwaukee, 2023)
34 starts, 15 top-five finishes, 20 top-10 finishes, three poles
346 laps led
Crew Chief Jeff Hensley:
Jeff Hensley’s crew chief experience dates back to 1987 and has made his mark in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. He spent 15 years in the Xfinity Series compiling 11 wins, 46 top-five finishes, 106 top-10 finishes, and 13 poles in 427 races. Two notable names he has worked with in the series are Larry Pollard (1987) and Chuck Brown (1989-1993). In 2004, he made his move to the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series becoming crew chief for Bill Lester. Since then, he has accumulated 22 wins, 124 top-five finishes, 245 top-10 finishes, and 38 poles in 462 races. Notable names he has teamed up with in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series are Mike Skinner (2005-2007), Timothy Peters (2010), Ron Hornaday Jr. (2011, 2012), and Johnny Sauter (2014). In 2022, Hensley started the year with Matt Crafton before moving over to Enfinger.
Ben Rhodes (No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford) returns to Phoenix Raceway after finishing runner-up in the
Championship Round of 4 last year. The 2021 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion is in his sixth Playoff appearance and will make his third start in the Championship 4 Round.
2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Season Stats:
One win (Charlotte)
Five top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes
90 laps led
Average start – 11.8
Average finish – 11.4
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Career (2014 – Present):
186 starts, seven wins, 55 top-five finishes, 102 top-10 finishes, five poles
1,218 laps led
Average start – 9.3
Average finish – 11.4
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoff Stats (2017 – Present):
One Playoff wins (Las Vegas, 2017)
41 starts, 14 top-five finishes, 22 top-10 finishes, two poles
193 laps led
Crew Chief Rich Lushes:
Rich Lushes has six years of knowledgeable experience in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. He’s accumulated three wins, 21 top-five finishes, and 41 top- 10 finishes in 93 races. Lushes had been paired up with Hailie Deegan earlier in the season before he was brought over to the No. 99 team in mid-September. The dynamic duo of Rhodes and Lushes won the 2021 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championship together.
NCTS Playoffs Contender’s Career Performances at Phoenix Raceway
Rank Driver Races Poles Wins
Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish
1 Corey Heim 1 0 0 0 1 0 7.0
2 Carson Hocevar 4 0 0 0 2 1 18.5
3 Ben Rhodes 8 0 0 4 5 1 8.4
4 Grant Enfinger 6 1 0 2 3 1 10.8
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Manufacturers Championship – With Carson Hocevar’s win at HomesteadMiami Speedway, Chevrolet has clinched the 2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Manufacturers Championship.
The manufacturer currently has 13 wins this season. Four different manufacturers have won the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Manufacturers Championship, led by Toyota with 13 titles.
OEM No. of Championships Most Recent Year
Toyota 13 2022
Chevrolet 11 2023
RAM 3 2004
Ford 2 2000
Sanchez dominates Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings – As the 2023 CRAFTSMAN Sunoco rookies head to Phoenix for the final race of the season, Rev Racing’s Nick Sanchez has completely dominated the
Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. Mathematically, Sanchez has clinched the 2023 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors but will not be awarded until he finishes the season in good standing, per the program guidelines and eligibility.
The 2022 ARCA Menards Series champion has been the leader of the rookie standings for most of the season. In 22 starts he has put up five poles, two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. He has also led 304 laps this season. The 22-year-old made a deep run in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Playoffs before being eliminated in the
Round of 8.
NCTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
Rookies Points Awards
Nick Sanchez 2,225 8
Jake Garcia 497 5
Taylor Gray 469 3
Rajah Caruth 457 2
Daniel Dye 384 1
Bret Holmes 303 1
Bayley Currey set to drive full-time for Niece Motorsports in 2024 – Niece Motorsports announced last week that Bayley Currey will return to Niece Motorsports in 2024 to race full-time in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.
While running a partial schedule in the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet in 2023, Currey made 10 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series starts earning three top-five and four top-10 finishes. His best finish of the season was a fourth-place result at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Although next season will begin Currey’s first full-time effort in the series, he is not short on experience. The 26-year-old has made 43 CRAFTSMAN Truck Series starts, 111 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, and 12 NASCAR Cup Series starts.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to race for Niece Motorsports full-time next season,” said Currey. “Al [Niece] and everyone at Niece Motorsports have always been good to me, so it means a lot to get to race for them next year. I’ve been working in the shop for the majority of this season, so I’ve seen firsthand the preparation that goes into bringing quality Chevrolets to the track every week. I’m looking forward to running up front and contending for wins.”
Photos & Graphics Courtesy of NASCAR