Nascar to Crown a New Champion
The Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 provided plenty of drama, though the result was far from in question as Kevin Harvick dominated the field at the Phoenix International Raceway to guarantee an opportunity to win the Sprint Cup Championship this week. Harvick needed a win to provide himself a shot at his first ever Championship when he races this Sunday at the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford EcoBoost 400.
There are four racers left in contention for the Championship this Sunday: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, and Kevin Harvick. Whoever finishes the highest of the four drivers will take home the championship title. This is the first time that zero finalists for the last race of the season have won a championship before, so NASCAR will boast a first-time champion once the checkered flag is out this weekend.
Currently, Ford EcoBoost 400 tickets have an average price of $120 on the secondary market with the cheapest tickets starting at $51. This is far from the most expensive race of the year, as it is $155 less expensive on average than Daytona 500 tickets back in late February.
Here is a breakdown of the four finalists and how they fared this past week:
Denny Hamlin: Hamlin struggled during the early portion of the race, falling back to as far as 36th, but clawed his way back for a fifth place finish. He has three top-ten finishes recently, with an eighth-place finish at Martinsville and a 10th place finish at the AAA Texas 500 so he has been racing well of late.
Joey Logano: Finishing just behind Hamlin at sixth place, Joey Logano continued his impressive season. He has won five times this season, more than any of the other three finalists and a sixth win would give him his first Championship title ever.
Ryan Newman: Unlike Logano, Ryan Newman has yet to win a race this year, placing him as arguably the biggest underdog at the Ford EcoBoost 400. Newman finished 11th this past weekend, though he did finish 3rd at Martinsville is the race leading up to his 15th place finish at Texas.
Kevin Harvick: Harvick once again showed his brilliance at Phoenix, winning his sixth race there. Despite the 33rd place finish at Martinsville, Harvick was able to bring home the trophy on Sunday and give himself a chance at the Sprint Cup Championship.
In doing so, Harvick eliminated several heavyweights, including Jeff Gordon.
Gordon was seeking his fifth Cup Championship and thought his second place finish was enough to get in, but will have to wait for next year after Newman closed out the 11th spot and bounced Gordon from contention.Also eliminated was Brad Keselowski who has won six series races this year, more than any other driver. Keselowski, Gordon, and Harvick have been the most dominant drivers all season long, but a few poor finishes from the former two have resulted in Harvick being the last man standing.
If anything, fans can expect an exciting finish to the 2014 Sprint Cup Series and a potentially very dramatic Sunday afternoon as the four finalists seek to take home the Championship for the first time ever.