Who has the edge? Here’s what the title contenders say

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. — There are no Cinderellas in today’s Cup championship race. The four drivers racing for the title were the best throughout the season.

Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch combined to win 21 of the 35 races this season (60%), including some of the sport’s biggest races: Hamlin won the Daytona 500, Harvick won the Brickyard 400 and Truex won the Coca-Cola 600.

As they enter today’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, each driver was asked by NBC Sports what gives them the edge over the other three title contenders.

This is what they said:

Denny Hamlin: “I think I possess the want. I can assure you there will be no other driver that wants it as bad as I do.”

Kevin Harivck: “I think we have the full attention of our whole organization in one car, and we’ve been there and we’ve done that. Even when you look at the other three teams, our group has been together a long time; we’ve been on the same team for a long time; we have the stability and the experience as a group within the same organization for six years now. So that stability and experience pays off, in my opinion.”

Martin Truex Jr.: “It’s hard to know. I mean I feel like this of all the years, I feel like this is the most up in the air because Homestead is such a different racetrack than anything we’ve been on this season and one of the great parts about this race and this format is Homestead, we haven’t been here since last year. The tires are different, the cars are different, you don’t know. There’s a lot of unknowns, so I think my advantage is my team and our ability to no matter what happens throughout the weekend, our ability to hit it for the race and know what we have to do and not afraid to make changes. Not afraid to swing for the fences. I think that’s our advantage, that’s how we win races. Usually when we win, we don’t have a great practice. We get together and we have serious conversation and the boys go to work and sometimes they hit it out of the park, hopefully this is another one of those days.”

Kyle Busch: Martin’s been really, really good these last few years with Cole Pearn, I’ve been good with Adam Stevens, Kevin Harvick’s been really, really good with Rodney Childers, and of course Denny’s got the new guy on the block with Chris Gabehart, so you know it’s interesting with the crew chief and driver dynamic the way that it’s kind of been but overall it just comes down to how you always work together and it’s anyone’s race really, so I don’t know that anybody has a leg up.”

NBC’s coverage begins with NASCAR America at 1:30 p.m. ET today. Countdown to Green airs at 2 p.m. ET. Race coverage starts at 3 p.m. ET. NBCSN also will have NASCAR Hot Pass that will provide in-depth coverage of the championship contenders at 3 p.m. ET.

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter