Story By: BRANDON LEE / ROUSH FENWAY RACING – AVONDALE, AZ – Phoenix hosts NASCAR’s season finale this weekend for the first time in its history, as the NASCAR Cup Series will battle for 312 laps Sunday afternoon.
Jack Roush has 17 wins all-time at the 1-mile track, including seven in the NCS.
Season Finale in Phoenix This Weekend
The 2020 NASCAR season comes to a close this weekend out west, where Phoenix Raceway hosts the finale for the first time in its history.
The return to Arizona is also unique in that the spring race at Phoenix marked the last pre-COVID event for the series, as the pandemic ultimately postponed the schedule for two months following. Despite the hiatus, the #NASCARPlayoffs schedule remained intact, with Phoenix capping the 36-race campaign.
Four weeks of NASCAR action were completed prior to the COVID-19 hiatus with races at Atlanta, Homestead, Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega, Dover and Martinsville postponed before the schedule later picked back up in mid-May.
Sunday’s starting lineup will be set by three competition-based metrics, rewarding both season-long and single-race performance, and will be announced later in the week.
Martinsville Recap, Phoenix Preview
Buescher finished 38th in Martinsville after being collected in an on-track incident.
Newman had speed early in the going at Martinsville, earning stage points midway through before going on to finish 18th.
Fastenal will return to Buescher’s Ford for the final race of 2020, and feature a new scheme. Roush Fenway and Fastenal will unveil the 2021 scheme on Thursday, and it will run on track in Phoenix this weekend.
Guaranteed Rate is back on board Newman’s No. 6 for the final race of the 2020 campaign.
Hooked on Phoenix
Roush Fenway has 291 combined starts at Phoenix, totaling 17 wins, 75 top-five and 134 top-10 finishes. RFR Fords have nine poles and have led 4,031 laps at the 1-mile track.
Winning in the Desert
Roush Fenway has won at Phoenix in all three of NASCAR’s major divisions, with the organization’s first win coming in the fall of 1993 with NASCAR Hall of Famer and former driver Mark Martin in the NCS. Roush Fenway won the second-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix in 2000 and former driver Greg Biffle claimed the organization’s 100th overall NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Phoenix in 2009.
Former driver Carl Edwards also won there that fall to give Roush Fenway the season sweep. All in all, six drivers have won NASCAR races for Roush Fenway at Phoenix (Martin, Biffle, Edwards, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Joe Ruttman). In addition, Edwards swept Phoenix in the fall of 2010, winning both the NXS and NCS events.
Recent Ryan in Phoenix
Three years ago in the Phoenix spring race, Ryan Newman went to victory lane in the No. 31, marking his most recent win in the NCS. He started 22nd in that race before going on to lead the final six laps en route to his 18th career Cup series win.
Phoenix was one of the strongest tracks for Roush Fenway’s Xfinity program. In 93 starts, the organization won eight times, earned 27 top-fives, 53 top-10s and has led 1,406 laps. Roush Fenway most recently went to victory lane with Edwards in Nov. 2010. Its eight wins rank most of any track on the circuit behind only Charlotte (12), Darlington (15), Richmond (9) and Rockingham (10).
Tale of the Tape
Roush Fenway has started 162 NCS races at Phoenix, recording a total of seven victories, 35 top-five finishes, 60 top-10 finishes, four poles and has led 2,291 laps. Edwards earned Roush Fenway’s most recent victory at Phoenix in the March 2013 event.