The NASCAR Cup Series 2020 season is unlike any before it.
Things started to be normal, but there was a startling turn when action resumed after a 9-week hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Dual headlines have been added, and a number of events are held on Wednesday nights to squeeze into the traditional 36-point pay races, most of which take place without training or qualifying for extra throws a wrench on the files.
As the series headed to Phoenix Raceway on November 8 for the playoffs finale – marking the first time it wasn’t at Homestead-Miami – some suggested that the 2020 championship should have an asterisk on it. But what about the final four drivers competing for it?
“It doesn’t matter, it’s the Cup championship,” 2018 champion Joey Logano said during a virtual media day event ahead of the finale.
“The rules are the same for everyone. It is a level playing field. There is a trophy at the end of the day. We all have to participate in the same number of races. We all have a chance to score the same number of points.
Logano’s team-mate at Team Penske, Brad Keselowski, said: “I think every champion has their own asterisk.”
Keselowski, who won the 2012 championship with five wins and finished 15th at the final race when the title is decided in a different way than it is today, said the season format, External scenes like COVID-19 and rule packets both play an important role.
“Each championship is won in its own unique way. It’s hard to say which one means more and which one less, he said, adding, “I think there are years when champions deserve more than the others.”
WHO WILL WIN THE 2020 NASCAR CUP SERIES?
This year, many thought Kevin Harvick took a shot to become one after winning a regular season championship and scoring nine wins, but his poor performance in the eighth round put him off must be in fifth place and not compete for the grand prize.
First-time finalist Chase Elliott said he respected Harvick’s out-of-the-box performance this year, but “that’s just to show you that nothing is guaranteed in this deal”.
Denny Hamlin, who has been Harvick’s biggest threat in years, says his opponents “deserve to race for the championship, but not win it for the system.”
“I wouldn’t watch, if we win, anything different whether he joins or leaves.”
“A championship doesn’t have to be a guide to your year. If you get to the last four points, that is a measure of how well you’ve had a successful year.
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