NASCAR Season Finale 500 preview and value picks

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

November 6th, 2020

On the heels of a wild race at Martinsville that determined the 2020 Championship 4, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Phoenix Raceway for the Season Finale 500 (3:00 p.m., NBC). Martinsville winner Chase Elliott, Kansas winner Joey Logano, and "at large" contenders Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski will be the drivers vying for this year’s Bill France Cup.

Naturally, the odds on the Championship 4 drivers are somewhat deflated, due to the possibility that some of their teammates and other non-championship contenders will give this quartet more room on the racetrack than usual. However, a non-championship driver in Kevin Harvick is the betting favorite for this race at +400.

Nascar Cup Series: Season Finale 500 2020 - Winner

Sun, November 8 2020, 8:00 PM

Chase Elliott


Brad Keselowski


Denny Hamlin


Kevin Harvick


Joey Logano


Kyle Busch


Martin Truex Jr.


Ryan Blaney


Aric Almirola


William Byron


Harvick’s nine career wins at Phoenix are far and away the most by any active driver, but he’s visited victory lane in just one of his last eight races here. We’ll go looking for upset picks in the Season Finale 500, and make our prediction for the NASCAR Championship!

Chase Elliott (+450)

Chase Elliott got a much-needed first career victory at Martinsville last Sunday to secure his spot in the Championship 4. That was his fifth Top 5 finish in the last 10 Cup Series races.

Elliott has never won at Phoenix in nine career starts, but boasts an average finishing position of 13th, fifth among active drivers (minimum nine starts). He was seventh in the spring race here, leading 93 laps in the process.

The No. 9 Chevrolet was awarded the pole position for Sunday’s Season Finale 500.

Denny Hamlin (+500)

Denny Hamlin does not enter this race with a great deal of momentum, as his average finish over his last three races is 11.67. However, the second-winningest driver of 2020 (seven victories) has just as good a chance as anyone to take the checkered flag on Sunday.

Hamlin notched his second career victory at Phoenix last fall, winning Stage 1 and leading 143 laps in the process. The No. 11 Toyota has led 821 career laps here, fourth among active drivers. His 13 career Top 5 finishes at Phoenix rank third among active drivers.

Hamlin begins his day in fourth place.

Joey Logano (+550)

Joey Logano could have coasted in his last two races after securing his Championship 4 berth at Kansas, but he compiled a solid 10th place finish at Texas and a third-place result at Martinsville. So the No. 22 Ford driver heads to Phoenix with some momentum, which should strike some fear into his opponents.

Logano won the spring race here, the second time he’s found victory lane in the desert (60 laps led). He was ninth in the most recent autumn race at the Avondale, AZ oval but won Stage 2 and led 93 laps.

The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion will start in second place.

NASCAR Championship pick: Chase Elliott (+240)