By: Becca Cottingham
Headline Photo Credit: Charlotte Observer
We go racing for the final time this season and what will be a championship for one of the top four drivers. They will battle things out in the desert of Phoenix Motor Speedway. The battle begins lap one between teammates Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. We get a quick caution due to Corey LaJoie and Ricky Stenhouse Jr going three wide and Corey getting into Bubba Wallace. This ultimately causes him to go into the wall. We get back to racing with drivers going three and four wide. We are not back to racing and get another caution due to Corey Lajoie and Ricky Stenhouse Jr spinning out again, this time causing major damage to Corey’s car. All the while Kevin Harvick has made his way up through the pack. This made a five-run for the first place position. Martin Truex Jr will make the move to put himself out front. Be maintains the lead and will win stage one.
We go back to racing for stage two and once again the championship four drivers will battle. We do not see too many crazy issues in stage two as one would think. We hear talk about possible issues with brakes on Martin Truex Jr’s car. He turns the fans off for a couple of laps but this can only be a temporary solution for the problem and hopefully fixes the issues. Otherwise, it can cause tire issues for Martin Truex Jr as they are in Phoenix. Quin Houff has a tire issue and brings out a caution. Martin Truex Jr said leaving his fans off for a couple of laps seems to have fixed his issue, which is good news for that group. Ricky Stenhouse Jr has an issue and brings out a caution and will start his off-season and wedding planning early. Chase Briscoe has a tire issue. Which leads Kyle Larson back to the front of the group. Kyle Larson will hold on to the lead and win stage two.
The battle has come down to stage three and restarts are going to be key. Drivers are going to use every inch of the track to try to gain. For the most part, Kyle Larson was showing the way around the track. That was until Chase Elliott found a little additional speed and got around Kyle Larson. Martin Truex Jr hits pit road for a green-flag pit stop as they have to make a stop for at least fuel. While Martin Truex Jr was getting service done Anthony Alfredo had a front tire go down and he made a hard impact with the wall. So the caution flag comes out and Martin Truex Jr was able to stay on the lead lap. This is a huge advantage for Martin Truex Jr as he will get to stay out while the other playoff drivers will need to come down pit road for tires and fuel. This can truly mix up how the playoffs can end. Everything will depend on how the last laps all play out. However, once again we get a caution with debris on the track. This shakes the playoffs once again and it will be a battle to the very end & what a battle it was. Kyle Larson was able to hold off Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin to win the 2021 NASCAR championship