HOMESTEAD, Fla – The mood was light on Thursday in South Florida. That’s surprising in that it’s Championship Weekend for all three levels of NASCAR. Despite that, all four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers that are vying for the championship on Sunday were loose.
“Last year (Joey) Logano was fast off the truck, kicked our ass all weekend long,” joked Kyle Busch during Championship Four Media Day. “It’s a matter of being good, being prepared, the team doing a really good job with the car, getting ready to rock’n roll when you get to practice.
“This is the big three with the new one. Just like last year, we got our ass spanked by the new one.”
Busch, was right in a sense that the “Big 3” last year combined to win 17 of the first 21 races to the season. It was Logano though that stole the show once the postseason started and not only won the Ford EcoBoost 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, his victory allowed him to steal the championship from Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick.
Now, the “Big 3” are all back for another go of it this year while a new comer joins them. See, this is Harvick’s fifth Championship 4 appearance in six years. Busch, has also made five appearances, all coming in-a-row. Truex, has been to three straight and four of the last five himself.
For Denny Hamlin, this is just his second appearance in the final round, the first since 2014 though.
“No, they haven’t,” Hamlin said on if he’s been reminded a lot from his competition that they’ve all won a championship and he hasn’t. “I think they’re all aware that I have not. I think it’s been well-documented at this point, so no.”
This group holds a lot of respect for one another. No trash talk is needed. They all know what they have to do on Sunday and they know that it won’t be a fluke if any one of the other three drivers that they’re facing beats them to the finish line.
“Well, I think this format has been played five years,” Hamlin said on his competition this weekend having so much experience in the final round before. “You look at how many times these three have made it to the final four under different rules packages, different cars, different everything. They have been the standard year in, year out.
“You see one or two guys poke in that final four here and there. But I think it would be most gratifying if we did win because this is the best. This is by far the best in any category that you can try to put together.
“Certainly would mean more because of that reason.”