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TC Daily Pit Stop: Is Blaney The Championship Favorite? Truex, Hamlin Get Eliminated After Martinsville; Phoenix Entry Lists
TC Daily Pit Stop: Tuesday, October 31st, 2023
Ryan Blaney has been firing on all cylinders as of late, with strong performances in the ‘Round of 8’ at Las Vegas, Homestead, and Martinsville - where he scored his third victory of the season.
Our own Toby Christie thinks that is reason enough for Blaney to capture his first NASCAR Cup Series championship next weekend at Phoenix Raceway, as he qualifies for the Championship 4 for the first time in his career.
With the driver’s past successes at the one-mile oval in Avondale, Arizona, Blaney could very well find himself in the thick of the battle to win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
For Martin Truex, Jr. and the entire No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team, Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Martinsville Speedway will be another exhibit in the perplexing case study that has been the 2023 NASCAR Playoffs.
Capturing the regular-season championship on the strength of three victories, plus nine top-five and 15 top-10 finishes, the Mayetta, New Jersey-native was expected to be a major stakeholder in the decision of who would host the championship trophy in Phoenix.
Instead, it looked as though the team went into hibernation, relying solely on the Playoff Points they accumulated throughout the regular-season, to get the No. 19 Toyota Camry into the ‘Round of 8’.
”I think it just shows how tough this sport is,” Truex said post-race. “Anybody that races here and guys that have raced here that do the broadcasts, they’ll tell you. It’s this close, man. You find this little bit, and suddenly you look like a hero. Some other guys find stuff, suddenly you’re not.”
Denny Hamlin, a fixture in the NASCAR Cup Series over the last two decades, is still chasing after his first championship at NASCAR’s top level, which has eluded him throughout his entire career.
That long-winded pursuit of the ultimate prize in NASCAR will have to wait another season, though, after the Chesterfield, Virginia-native was bounced from the NASCAR Playoffs following Sunday’s race at Martinsville.
Entering the season-finale at Phoenix Raceway, Hamlin has put together a three-win season, triumphing at Kansas, Pocono, and Bristol. That, coupled with a series-leading 14 top-five finishes, made the Joe Gibbs Racing driver one of the favorites for the title.
There are 36 cars on the preliminary entry list for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway. Notable entries for this event include No. 15 JJ Yeley, 42 Carson Hocevar, 51 Ryan Newman, 78 BJ McLeod.
There are 41 cars on the preliminary entry list for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway.
Notable entries for this event include No. 4 Stefan Parsons, 07 Dawson Cram, 08 JJ Yeley, 11 Derek Kraus, 17 Rajah Caruth, 19 Myatt Snider, 35 Joey Gase, 44 Daniel Dye, 45 Jeffrey Earnhardt, 53 Chris Hacker, 91 Kyle Weatherman.
There are 38 trucks [for 36 spots] on the preliminary entry list for the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway.
Notable entries for this event include No. 1 Jesse Love, 02 Kaden Honeycutt, 04 Spencer Davis, 7 Marco Andretti, 20 Nick Leitz, 22 Christian Rose, 25 Stefan Parsons, 30 Chris Hacker, 41 Bayley Currey, 51 Jack Wood, 56 Tyler Hill, 61 Jake Drew, 66 Conner Jones, 75 Sean Hingorani, and 77 Derek Kraus.
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