NASCAR’s Championship 4 drivers in favor of moving final race of the year around




November 14, 2019 02:30 PM

NASCAR’s Championship 4 drivers in favor of moving final race of the year around

After this season, the NASCAR finale moves from Homestead to Phoenix for 2020.

Greg Engle



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Greg Engle

The Championship 4 drivers in NASCAR’s Cup Series met with the media in Miami Beach Thursday.

Sunday will mark the end of an era in NASCAR as Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the championship race for the final time. And the drivers who will compete for that championship have mixed feelings about that—even though they mostly acknowledge moving the race around could be good for the sport.
“I think it’s unanimous we love the racetrack,” Denny Hamlin said. “I think the racetrack is phenomenal. I believe as a driver you can really make a difference here. Even if your car is lacking a little bit, you can move around and change the characteristics of your car, the handling of your car through different lines and whatnot.”
The speedway south of Miami has hosted the season ending race since 2001, but next year the final race of the NASCAR season will at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
“I also think like ISM Phoenix has really earned the right to host the championship race,” Hamlin said. “The weather thing works out. There’s only a handful of tracks that kind of the weather will cooperate with this time of year. They’ve also invested a ton of money into that place.”

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Whether ISM Raceway will continue to host the season ending championship beyond 2020 is a question that remains unanswered for now. The 2021 schedule won’t be released until some time in 2020.
“In all honesty, it shouldn’t be in Phoenix the year after,” Kevin Harvick said. “I think having that championship race is important to new markets, new fans, exposing people to our sport. It’s important.”
According to Harvick, moving the season-ending race around to different tracks could serve a purpose for the sport.
“I think when you look at going to Phoenix, the things that it will bring to that facility, the new fans it will bring to that facility, they’re thriving on that exposure now even before the championship race is there,” Harvick said. “They will thrive on that notoriety, the things that happen for that championship race next year.”

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“To me what happens in the race is irrelevant,” he added. “It’s great that we’re going to crown a champion. We all love Homestead. The event and the market and the notoriety, the new things that come to a new market that help carry that racetrack for a number of years to come are important. We have to use our championship event to rebuild enthusiasm in markets. I think that will be the first step to doing that.”
Count championship contender Kyle Busch in on the “moving the race” crowd.
“Yeah, if you move it around every year, I’m in favor of that,” Busch said. “Obviously with Homestead though, if you look at it, it’s been six different winners the last six years, right? So that’s a pretty remarkable feat. Might even be longer than that, I just know six. But as far as Homestead, it’s a really, really racy place, we enjoy it as drivers, and it gives itself an opportunity to put on a good show.  
“Phoenix, we all kind of saw the struggle last week a little bit, and even before that you had Harvick who dominated, won six, seven in a row, whatever it was,” he added. “And now the JGR cars have won four in a row.”

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And that may be the issue with moving the final race of the season around.
“There’s pluses and minuses to everything, right?” Truex said. “I think the plus about here at Homestead, we only come here once a year. Completely different racetrack than anywhere we go. No other track like it. No other mile‑and‑a‑half true oval. Long straightaways. A lot of things are different about Homestead. We don’t race here in the spring. I like that fact.”
“I don’t know that we should race for a championship somewhere where we raced already in the season, you know?” he added. “You’re going to have an idea who is going to be good. This weekend is a total crapshoot because we haven’t been here in a year, it’s a new car, new tire, everything is different. You have no idea what to expect. That’s a good thing for the championship.
“The other thing is, every year a different guy wins it. Not like there’s a favorite every year. That’s a good thing. I don’t know how you make every racetrack that way,” Truex said. “At the same time, I definitely think we should move it around. Pluses and minuses I guess for both.”

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