Auto Racing Glance

NASCAR CUP SERIES: CUP SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP (312 laps, 312 miles (500 kilometers) around a 1-mile tri-oval), Phoenix Raceway; Avondale, Arizona.

TV: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 3:15 p.m. ET) — NBC (Radio: Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

THIS WEEK: Alex Bowman won at Martinsville last week, but had already been eliminated from the playoffs, so that leaves Kyle Larson as the big man coming into the finale, having won the three races prior to Martinsville. That means his rivals for the title raced in on points, but Chase Elliott (two wins), Martin Truex Jr. (four) and Denny Hamlin (two) have all won races this season, albeit well short of Larson’s nine. … Elliott and Truex have each won a title, while neither Larson nor Hamlin have. … Every Cup winner in the Championship Four era — which dates to 2014 — has won the final race to secure the championship. … But they will roll off Sunday tied at 5,000 points, and the driver who finishes ahead of the other three takes home the Cup. … This is the 51st series race at Phoenix and the 36th event this season. Elliott won this race last season and the title with it. Truex won here in March.

BEST BETS: Larson comes in at 19/10, with Elliott at 7/2, Hamlin at 4/1 and Truex at 9/1. It is unlikely a driver not in contention for the title wins, as it has never happened before in this era, but if you must, Kyle Busch at 16/1 is a worthy bet. If you crave a long shot, Aric Almirola at 70/1 is fine.

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NASCAR XFINITY SERIES: XFINITY SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP (200 laps, 200 miles around a 1-mile tri-oval), Phoenix Raceway; Avondale, Arizona.

TV: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 8:45 p.m. ET) — NBCSN (Radio: Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

THIS WEEK: The Xfinity Series will crown its champion at Phoenix among Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric and AJ Allmendinger, who have won three, five, none and five races, respectively. All the contenders roll off with 4,000 points. … Gragson won last week at Martinsville. … This will be the 40th series race at the track, with Cindric winning this race last year and again here in the spring. He is the only finalist with a win at the track.

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NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES: LUCAS OIL 150 (150 laps, 150 miles around a 1-mile tri-oval), Phoenix Raceway; Avondale, Arizona.

TV: Friday, 8 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 8:15 p.m. ET) — FS1 (Radio: Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

THIS WEEK: The season championship comes down to four drivers for the 22nd and final race of 2020, with Zane Smith racing his way in with a victory at Martinsville. … This will be the 31st series race at Phoenix, with Sheldon Creed winning last year. Creed did not make the final four this season. … The four drivers vying for the title at Phoenix are Smith, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton and John Hunter Nemechek, all tied with 4,000 points. The driver who wins, or at least finishes ahead of the other three, wins the championship.

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THIS WEEK: Spain’s Alex Palou won this season’s championship. … The series returns on Feb. 27, 2022 at St. Petersburg, Fla., to kick off a 17-event season.

FORMULA ONE: MEXICAN GRAND PRIX (71 laps, 195.037 miles around a 2.747-mile 17-turn permanent road course), Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez; Mexico City.

TV: Sunday, 2 p.m. ET (Green flag approx. 2:05 p.m. ET) — ABC (Radio: SiriusXM Radio Channel 132).

THIS WEEK: The series is back in Mexico after skipping the Americas altogether in 2020 due to the pandemic. This will be the 18th of 22 events on the season, with F1 wrapping up its swing through the Americas in Brazil next week. … The 17th and final turn on the track, the “Peraltada” is one of the fastest in F1 and sets cars up for a slingshot dynamic to the start/finish line, though it is not as fast as it once was after a Hermann Tilke’s re-design in 2015. … Lewis Hamilton won here in 2019 and in 2016, with chief rival Max Verstappen winning in 2017 and 2018. … This will be the 13th race held on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, the first iteration from 1986-92 before a return in 2015. … Belgium’s Verstappen extended his series lead for Red Bull (287.5 points) with a win at Texas two weeks ago, with Great Britain’s Hamilton (275.5) in second for Mercedes. Finland’s Valtteri Bottas (185) in a Mercedes is third, followed by Mexico’s Sergio Perez (150) in a Red Bull, with Britain’s Lando Norris (149) in a McLaren rounding out the top five.

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THIS WEEK: The series takes a break after running in Las Vegas last weekend, with the NHRA Nationals to wrap up the season and the four pro class championships from Nov. 11-14 in Pomona, Calif. … Winners in Las Vegas were Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, Cruz Pedregon in Funny Car, Dallas Glenn in Pro Stock and Steve Johnson in Pro Stock Motorcycle. All four classes will run at Pomona. … Torrence leads Top Fuel (2,694 points), followed by Brittany Force (2,589) and Mike Salinas (2,522). … Ron Capps is on top in Funny Car (2,585), followed by Matt Hagan (2,527) and Pedregon (2,502). … Greg Anderson (2,565) leads Pro Stock, followed by Erica Enders (2,533) and Glenn (2,456). … Matt Smith (2,536) leads Pro Stock Motorcycle, followed by Johnson (2,516) and Angelle Sampey (2,506).

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