Saturday, 25 January 2020

Analysis: Who will win the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series championship? – USA TODAY

Analysis: Who will win the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series championship? – USA TODAY
12 Dec

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ 36-race season comes to an end Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick will race against the field for a win on the 1.5-mile track and against each other for a championship. 

Undoubtedly four of the best drivers on the track, they don’t actually have to win the race to claim the title. They just have to have a better finish than the other three, although the last five champions have taken the checkered flag. 

Past champions Busch, Truex and Harvick are all competing for their second titles, and Hamlin is looking for his first. The No. 11 Toyota driver was the championship runner-up in 2010 and has enough accolades for a Hall of Fame career, but he never has won it all. 

So ahead of the Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC), here are arguments for why each championship contender will or won’t win the title.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch drives the No. 18 Toyota.

Born: May 2, 1985, in Las Vegas

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Car: No. 18 Toyota.

Championship: 2015 

Career Cup wins: 55 (tied for ninth all time)

2019 stats: 4 wins, 16 top-fives, 26 top-10s

Homestead stats: 1 win, 4 top-fives, 7 top-10s

Why he will win: Despite Busch not having a 2019 playoff win, his No. 18 Toyota clearly has been fast enough to get to the championship race. He is in an unusual position as an underdog among the final four while also being arguably the most skilled driver on the track. This is his fifth consecutive championship race appearance. After his runner-up performance at Phoenix last weekend, he and crew chief Adam Stevens can take the checkered flag and a second championship. 

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