On Sunday, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin rev their engines at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona in hopes of winning this year’s NASCAR Cup. Since instituting a playoff format, only the top four drivers on the NASCAR Standings can win the Cup in the season’s final race. Will one of Joe Gibbs’ top racers, Truex Jr. and Hamlin, take the trophy? Is chalk Kyle Larson ready to hoist the Cup? Or will NASCAR fans end up calling Chase Elliott champion?
2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Info
- When: Sunday, Nov. 7 at 3:00 pm ET
- Where: Phoenix Raceway, Avondale, Arizona
- TV: NBC Sports Network
- Radio: MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
- Live Stream: NBCSports.com
READ MORE: How the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Works
Odds to Win the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship
- Kyle Larson +180
- Chase Elliot +250
- Denny Hamlin +275
- Martin Truex Jr. +350
Is Kyle Larson an overlay or underlay to win the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship?
Whenever assessing odds, it makes sense to think about the track. Is it long or short? Phoenix Raceway is considered a short track. So the next question is how has Larson driven over short tracks? Kyle won at Bristol during the playoffs and he finished second at Dover. Those are Larson’s top two finishes at short tracks this year.
In the earlier race at Phoenix, Kyle finished seventh and led a single lap. The seventh at Phoenix is worrisome. At the odds, even though he’s raced great during NASCAR’s postseason, Kyle Larson is a play against.
Assess Chase Elliott’s chances. Is the Hendrick driver the play based on odds?
Elliott is driving well. He finished second at Kansas on Oct. 2. Before that, he finished seventh at Texas. But in his last Elliott bombed, finishing sixteenth even though he started second and led 289 laps. Way back in March, though, Elliott started sixth at Phoenix and finished fifth. Hendrick knows the goal.
They understand that just getting to the final four is the first goal. So the finish in Martinsville doesn’t mean much as long as Elliott performs well on Sunday. Given the odds, Chase is definitely worth considering.
Which driver has the best shot among Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin?
Truex Jr. has come on strong in the last couple of races. He finished seventh at Kansas and fourth at Martinsville. Not only that, but Truex Jr. also won at Phoenix Raceway earlier in the year. Denny Hamlin also raced well at Phoenix. Hamlin started third and finished third. Like Truex Jr., Hamlin didn’t race well in his last.
But Denny won in Las Vegas on Sep. 26 and had a decent playoffs up until the final race. Both Hamlin and Truex Jr. Have a big shot to win this race. No doubt, heading into Phoenix, Joe Gibbs has the best hand.
Prediction time. Who wins the 2021 NASCAR Cup Championship?
If we toss Kyle Larson, and we sort of have to because of the odds, we’re down to Elliott, Truex Jr., and Hamlin. All three have a big shot of not only winning the NASCAR Cup Championship, but of also crossing the finish line first. Of the three, Truex Jr. looks best. There’s nothing wrong with Elliott or Hamlin. But Martin has a victory over the track, and heads to Phoenix after a fourth at Martinsville. His car and crew are ready to show their best. Martin Truex Jr. won the Cup in 2017. He’s our pick to win his second NASCAR Cup Championship on Sunday.
2021 NASCAR Cup Championship Pick: Martin Truex Jr.