The Final Four At Phoenix  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well… we’ve finally arrived to the Championship Race for the 2023 season and there are a lot of questions to be answered as this one progresses. The final four will be racing each other and the rest of the field and that is one thing that makes this race so darn interesting. Not only do they race each other for the Championship but they have to race the rest of the field to see which of them might be declared the winner of the race. Usually, the winner of the race is the winner of the Championship, but not always.

William Byron sits on the pole as of qualifying but Martin Truex Jr starts outside of him on the front row. That could spell trouble for the rest of the field when it comes to the way the race goes. Byron is fast, Truex Jr. is fast but the rows behind them aren’t too shabby either. Kevin Harvick starts third and Kyle Larson starts fourth and both of them could press the two on the front row to have to run harder than they might like.

Pushing those two on the second row to perform or get passed will be Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin starting fifth and sixth. In fact, there are several hard-chargers starting in the top fifteen and two of those are the other two final four drivers vying for the Championship, Christopher Bell starting thirteenth and Ryan Blaney starting fifteenth.

If you ask people how they would like to see the race go they may tell you they would like to see Kevin Harvick at least be the winner of the race even though the Championship isn’t a possibility for him. After all, it is his last race as he moves on to the broadcast booth next season. That also means it is his last chance to exit his Cup career with a win in this 2023 Season.

From my view that seems like a reasonable request, but unfortunately, I honestly don’t see that happening. Now, I’m not saying that it won’t happen but I am saying it is not something I expect to happen. Still, Kevin has run well at Phoenix in the past so, could this be the walk off win for the twenty-plus year NASCAR Cup veteran? I honestly can’t say.

Other than Truex Jr. having a great chance to pull off a race win from the front row, there are two others I think just as much or more able to pull the upset, at least for the race win. Those two would be Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin. Both of their Toyotas have been fast and both have shown enough speed to be there at the end of the day. In reality, I think Denny has a better chance than Bubba but that’s not to say Bubba has no chance. Whether or not either one will be able to pull off the win remains to be seen.

There are several others quite capable of winning the race even though they’re not qualified to win the Championship. I offer up a few of those simply because they have shown they have speed and they are capable of winning. Erik Jones, Ross Chastain, Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick and Ty Gibbs have all shown speed at one time or another at Phoenix. Daniel Suarez is another that could surprise with a win. I really don’t know what will happen because there are so many possibilities.

Now getting back to the real world and the championship…

The thing that makes this such an interesting race is the fact that it is really two races in one and both are happening at the same time. First, there is a race to win. Second there is a Champ to be crowned. Usually, the race winner is one of the Final Four but, as I mentioned earlier, that isn’t always the case. In the end, the 2023 Champion only has to finish ahead of the others in the Final Four to win the Championship but which of the four will it be? This is going to be an intense day at the races and this fan thinks it just might be full of surprises. As the last several races of the playoffs have shown, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and as the drama unfolds so will the emotions. This is definitely going to be one to watch…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 5, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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