This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
The finale of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season has arrived. After 35 events of spectacular crashes, dominating performances and surprise comebacks, we have finally reached the championship-crowning moment of the sport. The drama has been building all season, and even more so the last several weeks of the Chase. For several years NASCAR has crowned its champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but last season the sanctioning body moved this championship race to Phoenix Raceway. The Phoenix track in Avondale, Ariz., is an irregular "D-shaped" oval with flat banking in the corners of nine to 11 degrees. The straights are completely flat, and very fast as they carry off into the sweeping corners. It is truly a unique facility among those on the NASCAR Cup circuit, and very fitting that it now determines the series champion.
Since Phoenix Raceway is so unique, we have a driver set for this race that is unique as well. Certain drivers thrive on the flat oval in the Arizona desert, while some others would rather be just about anywhere else this weekend but Phoenix. However, one theme will be quite clear. Four drivers come to the Arizona desert in a dead-heat for the championship. The format of the Chase has narrowed the field to Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. It all comes down to one race for all the marbles and all four drivers start even at 5,000 points. The stakes and the pressure have never been higher. If anything the last