HOMESTEAD, Fla. — The Monster Power NASCAR Cup Sequence will crown its 2018 champion on Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are every in search of their 2d titles. Joey Logano, the opposite Championship four motive force, will probably be in quest of his first.
There are not any flukes on this crew. Those drivers rank because the season’s height 4 in moderate end, laps led and top-five finishes. And they have got all been within the ultimate 4 earlier than.
A.J. Perez and Michelle R. Martinelli delve into the potentialities for every contender forward of Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Home-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC):
Martin Truex Jr.
Beginning place: third
Wins in 2018: four
Profession Cup wins: 19
Best possible end in standings: First (2017)
Highest end at Home: First (2017)
Why Truex will win name: A victory gained’t alternate the truth that Sunday marks the overall race for Furnishings Row Racing because the workforce will shutter operations. The No. 78 Toyota workforce confirmed it may well deal with their feelings simply high quality as final 12 months’s ultimate race and sequence championship got here as workforce proprietor Barney Visser recovered from a center assault.
“If we will do just what we did final 12 months, that may be high quality,” Truex mentioned.
Why he gained’t: Truex entered final 12 months’s finale with seven victories and he clinched his spot within the Championship four a race previous than he did this 12 months. Truex’s final win got here at Kentucky Speedway in July, the 19th race of the season, so he’s now not getting into on a task as a lot this time round.
Beginning place: 2d
Wins in 2018: eight
Profession Cup wins: 51
Best possible end in standings: First (2015)
Highest end at Home: First (2015)
Why Busch will win name: Busch certified 2d, proper at the back of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, so the No. 18 Toyota workforce has a minimum of discovered qualifying. He additionally enters with probably the most wins within the playoffs (two) some of the Championship four and used to be the sequence’ regular-season champ. In all probability simply as vital, his pit workforce has been some of the fastest in NASCAR for the previous few years, which has allowed him to pick out up monitor positions time and time once more.
“Firstly, it’s a must to have a quick race automobile,” mentioned Busch, who used to be edged out final 12 months via Truex at Home. “Ultimate 12 months, we have been the quickest automobile. Quickest vehicles don’t all the time win the race. You’ve were given to produce other issues move your approach. It’s a lot more straightforward and your task is much more calculated you probably have that rapid automobile.”
Why he gained’t: Busch has the worst moderate end at Home some of the ultimate 4 drivers (18.Five in 13 begins).
Beginning place: 12th
Wins in 2018: eight
Profession Cup wins: 45
Highest end within the standings: First (2014)
Highest end at Home: First (2014)
Why Harvick will win name: The No. four Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has been the quickest automobile all season: He’s tied for probably the most wins, is the best passer some of the ultimate 4 and led just about 20 % of the season’s general laps. He’s again and again proven he can paintings his approach to the entrance after beginning behind the sector, so having the bottom beginning place some of the contenders doesn’t suggest a lot. Harvick’s skill is apparent as a perennial championship contender, and his workforce’s chemistry complicated him to this spot and can assist him win his 2d Cup Sequence championship.
“(Our workforce has) been in combination for 5 years now, and all of us paintings for an excellent group that provides us all of the sources and issues that we wish to compete,” Harvick mentioned. “After all, you’ll be able to’t power a gradual automobile rapid and it takes nice other folks to construct a quick automobile.”
Why he gained’t: Whilst the workforce’s chemistry is vital, it’ll must win with out workforce leader Rodney Childers, who NASCAR suspended for 2 races following a significant penalty two weeks in the past at Texas Motor Speedway. The workforce’s luck this season is as a result of his technique up to Harvick’s using, and having backup workforce leader Tony Gibson places this workforce at an actual downside when everybody else is at complete power.
Beginning place: fifth
Wins in 2018: 2
Profession Cup wins: 20
Highest end within the standings: 2nd (2016)
Highest end at Home: Fourth (2015, 2016)
Why Logano will win name: From the velocity of the No. 22 Workforce Penske Ford to Logano’s racing, this workforce after all discovered its rhythm. 5 of Logano’s 12 top-five finishes this season have been within the earlier 9 playoff races, and he loves the speculation of being the outsider going through the Large 3. Plus, since the workforce certified for the championship race 3 weeks in the past at Martinsville Speedway, it’s had that a lot more time to highest a title-winning automobile.
“Our vehicles had been just right, our pit crews had been impressive, motive force’s been doing his section, and I believe we’re in a great place to make this occur,” Logano mentioned. “We’ve had a couple of weeks to take into consideration this race, and simplest this race, and that’s an excellent merit to have.”
Why he gained’t: Logano’s luck has been sporadic this season with waves of sturdy finishes sprinkled with mediocre ones, and the Large 3 were given that nickname as a result of they’re those to overcome every week with their very own extraordinary pace. All through the steady season, Logano mentioned everybody else needs to be highest to overcome the 3 dominant drivers, whilst they are able to make tiny errors and nonetheless win. Home will probably be no other.
A.J. Perez: Busch.
Busch’s place of birth of Las Vegas has him even with Harvick as the favourite. Not like Harvick, Busch could have his workforce leader (Adam Stevens). Toss within the qualifying effort and awesome pit workforce, Busch gets that 2d name.
Michelle R. Martinelli: Harvick.
It used to be transparent again in March that Harvick used to be the auto to overcome this season, and that’s very true with a name at the line. After his career-high 8 wins this season and 22 top-Five finishes, it might be a disappointing finish to have anyone rather than Harvick hoist that trophy. However he gained’t let that occur.