NASCAR Championship Preview
Sunday November 18, 2018 3:00 PM EST
There are many things we can be thankful during this Thanksgiving week, family, friends, and nice deep-fried turkey. Not only have we already won the lottery by living in the US of A (Creed), we get to sit back and watch the best four drivers the 2018 NASCAR season has had to offer! Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, and Joey Logano will all be racing for the trophy today, the winner of the race is a guaranteed champion. So…who will it be?
Kyle Busch, the most hated driver in NASCAR has been an absolute tyrant on the track. He has tied his career best number of wins with 8 this year (matching 2008), he has also notched personal bests in top 5’s (21) and top 10’s (27). These are impressive stats and I expect nothing less for the championship race. The M&M’s sponsored driver has been granted the number one pit stall, which will benefit him greatly during crucial pit stops. He received this blessing as Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing teammate) allowed Kyle to take his spot (Denny Hamlin is the Pole-Sitter, therefore he gets to choose his pit stall, he gave the stall to Busch). Personally…I think that kind of stinks, but sneaky Coach Gibbs had to help his team out somehow.
Kevin Harvick, the freaky-fast driver from Bakersfield, California has been kickin’ ranch good this year!! (Too many Jimmy John’s references there…I apologize) Not only did he attain 8 wins like Busch, he bested #18 in total top 5’s (22) and (28) top 10’s. The one-time champion is the odds-on favorite to win today and you would be wise to bet on him. His average finish of 7th place at the track is better than any driver on the circuit. He has had a rough week of practice though and his Crew Chief Rodney Childers is suspended for the race. This may hinder him some, but expect Happy Harvick to be in the thick of it.
Martin Truex Jr is the reigning 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion. Honestly, his stats are that of a third-place driver as his 4 wins 19 top 5’s and 20 top 10’s are less than that of Harvick and Busch. Truex won the race there last year, but he was a different driver then, he has 8 wins and, his team wasn’t shutting down for good like they are this year. If Furniture Row can win it today, that would be a feel-good story for the #78 crew in Barney Visser’s (Team Owner) last hoorah.
Joey Logano is the driver who nobody expected to be here. His controversial victory at Martinsville locked him into the Final Four and gave him a shot to be the 2018 NASCAR champion. The #22 team has been a consistent contender week in and week out, with 25 top 10’s. His 2 victories look small compared to the first three mentioned, but the talent is no joke. Mark Martin once called him “Sliced Bread”, and that’s pretty high praise from a NASCAR legend. He rolls off 5th today, and will pit in stall number three.
My prediction for today’s race is that Joey Logano wins at Homestead and is your 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion. He has been top of the charts in two of the three practices and by quite a bit, nearly a second as far as 10 lap averages go. I don’t care that Truex said he was going to make sure Logano doesn’t win or Almirola and his sore losing comment about being raced hard. Momentum is important in NASCAR, and I think Logano has that momentum rolling full steam. I expect Busch and Logano to be racing hard for the title as they have the best pit stalls. Kyle Busch can’t win at Homestead…just ask Cale Gale.
References: Racing Reference, Jayski, The Office, Jimmy John’s, Mars Inc.