After a rollercoaster of unknowns, the 2020 NASCAR season comes to a close at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. From Ryan Newman’s scary wreck at the Daytona 500 to Covid-19, this NASCAR season has been like no other. Add on to that a change in the schedule moving the final race from Homestead to Phoenix—the topsy-turvy year closes with one more unknown: who will be the 2020 NASCAR Champion?
Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin took to the track, each sharing the same opportunity to take the 2020 title. Chase Elliott held the number one position, but multiple inspection failures during pre-race sent him to the back of the field.
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski lined up on the front row and brought the field to green shortly after 12:15 pm PST. Using the high line, Logano took the lead, with Keselowski following in second. The competition caution came out on Lap 30. All lead lap cars came down to the pits for service with Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano exiting first and second. The race resumed on Lap 37, with Logano able to hold the lead over Hamlin. Logano kept Hamlin at bay and lead the rest of the way to complete stage one. Logano brought the lead lap cars down to the pits for tires and fuel. All four drivers vying for the championship exited the pits in positions one thru four.
Joey Logano, with Denny Hamlin to his outside, brought the field back to green on Lap 84 to begin Stage Two. Logano forged ahead with the lead as Denny Hamlin battled Chase Elliott for the second position. Chase Elliott completed his back-to-front challenge as he got around Logano and assumed the lead 45 laps into Stage Two.
Green flag pit stops got underway as Brad Keselowski made his stop 55 laps int the stage. Less than ten laps later, the remaining playoff drivers made their way onto pit road for service. Once green flag pitstops cycled through, Chase Elliott returned to the top of the leader board. With 29 laps left in the race, James Davison brought out the caution for making contact with the outside wall. All lead lap cars came down to the pits with Kurt Busch exiting first.
Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott brought the field back to green on Lap 169. Chase Elliott took over the lead with Brad Keselowski moving into the second position. Brad Keselowski maneuvered under Chase Elliott with 17 laps left in the stage, taking over the lead. Making a last-lap pass to the inside, Brad Keselowski beat Chase Elliott to the finish line, taking Stage Two. All lead lap cars down dow pit road for service with Chase Elliott exiting with the lead.
With Joey Logano to his inside, Chase Elliott brought the field back to green on Lap 201, beginning the final stage of the season. Elliott was able to hang onto the lead as the Championship Four made up the top four positions. Green flag pitstops began with 55 laps remaining in the race—Joey Logano, the first of the championship contenders the first to pit. The remaining championship contenders followed Logano not long after. With pit stops cycled through, Logano emerged with the lead, followed by Elliott.
Elliott mounted a charge on Logano and was able to retake the lead with 42 laps remaining. Proving to the rest that he had the best car of the day, Chase Eliott held on and won the race at Phoenix and took home the 2020 NASCAR Championship. Chase Elliott became the third set of father/son champions joining the Petty and Jarrett families.
The race as a whole did not offer much in terms of beating and banging but allowed the four best drivers to do what they do best. The victory and championship will be popular amongst the masses of NASCAR and their fans.
As we say goodbye to some of NASCAR’s favorites: Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, and Matt Kenseth, a new dawn comes with Chase Elliott cementing his status as a NASCAR champion.
What were your thoughts on today’s race and the 2020 NASCAR season as a whole?