This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
The NASCAR Cup Series championship format has meant that to win the championship, a driver must win the final race. That not only happened Sunday in the first championship finale to be held at Phoenix Raceway, but the Championship 4 actually did the fans one better and swept the top four places in a thrilling season conclusion that saw Chase Elliott seize control of the race and lift the championship trophy for the first time in his career. It was the first time the year's most popular driver honoree also won the series title since his dad Bill Elliott did it in 1988.
The race started with Joey Logano jumping out to an early lead, battling fellow championship contender Denny Hamlin in the early segments. Brad Keselowski kept himself in the mix and had superb long-run speed, which served him well in a race with very few cautions. Elliott's day was more complex, however. Failing prerace inspection meant he relinquished his pole position and had to start at the back of the field. After the competition caution he was right back in the fight, though, with one of the fastest cars on track. He put that speed to use as he overtook Logano one last time to drive away to the race win and the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Chase Elliott – Elliott was the first to make a mistake during the championship weekend, but it wasn't enough to hold him back from winning the race and his