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Season Finale 500 Preview Article

VirginiaCavs

CTG Junior Moderator
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Preview and Best Bet

NASCAR Cup Series: Series Finale 500
Sunday, November 7, 2021 at 3 p.m. ET (NBC) at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona

Playoff Update

With Kyle Larson having won the first two races of the previous Round of 8, there was more uncertainty for playoff drivers.

In the last race, Larson already had his spot in the championship race secure. Alex Bowman won the race, but is not competing for the title.

Not without some drama created by Bowman's show of poor character, Denny Hamlin did enough to advance. Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. will round out the field in Sunday's championship event.

These four drivers -- Larson, Hamlin, Elliott, and Truex Jr. -- are by far the most heavily favored drivers for Sunday's race.

All four are competing to win it all. Since they obviously have the most incentive to perform well, they are four of the drivers most worth considering as candidates to invest in to win the race.

Race Info

For this race, drivers must complete a total of 312 laps.

As has almost without exception been the case this season, there will be three stages for this event.

Stage 1 consists in the first 75 laps. Stage 2 concludes upon completion of the 190th lap. Stage 3 ends with the termination of lap 312.

An entry list gets published at the start of every week for the upcoming race. While only four drivers are eligible to become champions, there are 39 teams/drivers listed as competitors. So, barring unexpected circumstances, we already know which drivers will compete in Sunday's event.

This year, there are eight Cup Series events in which the starting lineup is determined by qualifying. Those events have either been particularly high-profile ones or they've taken place at venues unfamiliar to NASCAR drivers.

Sunday's race is as high-profile as you can get. Therefore, qualifying will take place. It will start the night before the race, on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.Saturday' night's qualifying will determine the order in which Sunday's competing drivers begin the race.

There will also be a practice session. This takes place Friday afternoon.

Track Info

This track is one mile long. So in completing 312 laps, drivers will have accumulated 312 miles.

It is a tri-oval with asphalt surface. There is low banking throughout. The start/finish straightaway is banked at three degrees, the famous dogleg at 10-11 degrees, the straightaway from the dogleg to the first turn at 10 degrees. Turn 1 is banked at 10 degrees, turn 2 progressively at 8-9 degrees, the backstretch at three degrees, and turns 3 and 4 progressively at 10-11 degrees.

Drivers to Avoid

Ryan Blaney has been competitively next to non-existent in most recent races. In his last two races, at Kansas and then at Martinsville, he finished 37th and 11th, respectively.

His history at Phoenix offers little hope for improvement. His average finishing position here is 15.18, which is shockingly close to 10 spots worse than his average starting position. At Phoenix, he tends to fall way behind relative to his starting position.

It would be perfectly fitting for Kyle Larson to win Sunday's race as he's had the fastest car all year and he's been the best driver overall.

But I can't pull the trigger on a guy who has never won at this track. This season, he finished seventh here after starting second. His driver rating is consistently poor here.

I get that it seems hard to go against Larson and I am not recommending that you bet against him in match-up betting. But there are so many betting options being offered by Online Sports Betting Sites. There are better bets out there.

My Guy

I like Kevin Harvick, who every week I find to be underrated dramatically by oddsmakers.

Despite the fact that he is not eligible to win the championship, he has been a competitive force, only last week ending his streak of two top-five finishes.

Phoenix is the perfect place for him to resume his strong form.

Quite unlike Martinsville, Phoenix is one of his best tracks in terms of average finishing position. He has nine wins in 37 career races here. He has 12 top-five finishes in his last 16 tries at Phoenix.

Best Bet: Harvick to finish ahead of Blaney at EVEN with Bovada
 

VirginiaCavs

CTG Junior Moderator
This is it...it's been fun writing up NASCAR. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks especially to HHM and CPA for making this a great thread every week.
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
I love this pick.

Harvick has a 15 race top 10 streak at Phoenix.

Blaney had to be a little she'll shocked. He looked like a lock for the Champ 4 two weeks, but that derailed quickly.

Thanks for posting these every week, VC, and letting us hijack them. Always look forward to reading them every Weds.:cheers3:
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
Playing Hamlin +330 to win the Champ. Larson is the favorite no doubt. He's beat me all year may as well try again one last time.

I think after last week, Hamlin will be extra motivated to win. He seems to be better when he's pissed.

Harvick top 10 -150. No matchups for me, so I'll double down on this. Harvick has been top 10 here 10 straight times. Yes thus isn't his best year but he's cracked the top 10 plenty this year.

Good luck to all.
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
Hamlin -125 vs Truex looks good to me. Truex did win this race back in the spring, but he looked slow during practice and qualifying.
 

s--k

Eat, Sleep, Breathe Football.
What about Harvick as top Ford +400?

Chevy winning manufacturer -130 looks good. Larson is -125 so -130 gives hedge with Elliot too.
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
Oh, I see Chevy is -130 for Race. Larson is not -125 for Race, that is for Championship.
Yeah. There's two different markets today. They still have odds to win outright. But you can also bet the Champ 4 drivers.

I would say it's unlikely one of the Champ 4 doesn't win the race.
 

s--k

Eat, Sleep, Breathe Football.
I follow NASCAR close before football and then once football all I do is watch the race and fill in season long fantasy league drivers.

The Championship drivers have typically run this race 1-2-3-4 or closely like that. When is last time a non Champion driver won?
 

KJ

KJ is my name, naps are my game.
Guess I'd hope Larson wins, seems like he's far and away the most deserving of the title

Is this the first year the final is here? Thought it was always in Miami and we were the week before

Have lost touch with most of my NASCAR people that go out there all the time and live on the other side of the Valley to where I didn't even know it was in town this week til I read this
 

s--k

Eat, Sleep, Breathe Football.
I know the final race was Phoenix last year. 2019 and earlier might've been Homestead/Miami
 
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CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
I follow NASCAR close before football and then once football all I do is watch the race and fill in season long fantasy league drivers.

The Championship drivers have typically run this race 1-2-3-4 or closely like that. When is last time a non Champion driver won?
I think they started doing the Final 4 in 2014 and no non 4 driver has won.
 

KJ

KJ is my name, naps are my game.
I know the final race was Phoenix last year. 2019 and earlier might've been Homestead/Miami
Guess it just doesn't get promoted much up North Valley

I do watch F1 early on Sunday mornings when I can as well as Indy car, just never been much into the stock car thing...grew up going to Knoxville for sprint cars quite a bit, was less than a half hour away. Fun times.
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
Guess I'd hope Larson wins, seems like he's far and away the most deserving of the title

Is this the first year the final is here? Thought it was always in Miami and we were the week before

Have lost touch with most of my NASCAR people that go out there all the time and live on the other side of the Valley to where I didn't even know it was in town this week til I read this
This is the 3rd year in a row at Phx.
 

KJ

KJ is my name, naps are my game.
This is the 3rd year in a row at Phx.
Don't they do a night one in March, maybe after Vegas too?

Too busy with CBB to pay attention too much else in the greatest month of the year!
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
I didn't really follow it much until Covid hit. They came back when nothing was going on and I got hooked.
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
Don't they do a night one in March, maybe after Vegas too?

Too busy with CBB to pay attention too much else in the greatest month of the year!
Yeah Phx and Vegas both have 2 races a year. And the ones in March usually follow each other.
 
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CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
They are going to a new car next year. It's supposed to help level the playing field. We shall see.
 

CPA-hole

Well-Known Member
Truex certainly better today than the last 2 days.

He does have 4 wins in 11 races with the 750hp package.

Still lot of race left. But the 2 Gibbs cars look better than the Hendrick 2.
 

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