With the longest season in all of sports, NASCAR has hit its final race of the 2023 season as the calendar turns to November. Four drivers head into this weekend with a chance to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Last week, Ryan Blaney locked himself into the championship 4 with a victory at the Martinsville Speedway. It was Blaney's first career win at the track in his 16th start. It was the second win in the playoffs for the #12 Team Penske Ford, locking himself in for a battle this weekend against Kyle Larson, William Byron and Christopher Bell.
Byron has had the best season overall out of any driver in the final four. 2023 has been a breakdown for the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team, going to victory lane an impressive six times, and finishing in the top 10 20 times this year. Byron won early this season at Phoenix but has had a mixed bag of results over his career. Byron has four other top 10's at Phoenix but also has three finishes outside the Top 15. Byrons average start at Phoenix is 11th.
Byrons Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson is the favorite to win the title. The 2021 NASCAR champion has 11 Top 10's in 18 starts and a win at Phoenix coming in walk off fashion two years ago to win the championship. Larson is the only driver in the final four with experience running with a championship on the line and has finished in the Top 10 4 of his last 5 races in the desert.
Christopher Bell is a bit of a surprise to make it into the championship 4. He's the lone Toyota driver and beat out his Joe Gibbs teammates in Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin to punch his ticket for this weekend. Bell has been the most consistent driver in the playoffs, scoring Top 8 finishes in 8 of the 10 races and securing the victory two weeks ago at Homestead to lock himself in. Four of his last five races at Phoenix have resulted in a Top 10 run.
The winner of the championship for the last eight years has won the race in walkoff fashion. All four drivers will likely qualify in the top 10 and NASCAR will keep the drama going up to the final checkered flag. All four drivers would be deserving champions, but my pick this weekend is Kyle Larson. Larson has the experience and is currently one of the best drivers in the world. Larson is fast at Phoenix and should qualify in the top 4 positions. The 5 crew has been one of the best teams on pit road all season.
The green flag on Sunday flies at 3pm EST. Don't forget to get your picks locked in on our app before the green flag flies and let us know who your pick is to win the NASCAR Cup championship!