AUTO RACING: NASCAR’s championship weekend in Arizona

All Times Eastern


Cup Series Championship

Site: Avondale, Arizona.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 4:05 p.m., Saturday, qualifying, 7:05 p.m., Sunday, race, 3 p.m. (NBC).

Track: Phoenix Raceway.

Race distance: 312 laps, 312 miles.

Last year: Chase Elliott won after starting on the pole.

Last race: Alex Bowman won at Martinsville.

Fast facts: Elliott, the defending series champion, will go for the repeat against Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. … Truex edged teammate Kyle Busch for his spot and the Penske Racing trio of Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano also was eliminated from contention. … The four championship contenders have combined to win 17 of 35 races, led by Larson with nine, Truex with four, and Elliott and Hamlin with two each.

Next race: Feb. 20, Daytona Beach, Florida.



Xfinity Championship Race

Site: Avondale, Arizona.

Schedule: Friday, 6:05 p.m. practice; Saturday: qualifying, 5:35 p.m., race, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Track: Phoenix Raceway.

Race distance: 200 laps, 200 miles.

Last year: Austin Cindric won after starting third.

Last race: Noah Gragson passed Daniel Hemric for the lead in overtime and won.

Fast facts: Gragson will battle for the title against Cindric, the defending series champion, A.J. Allmendinger and Hemric, who has never won in 119 career starts in the series. … Gragson’s victory knocked JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier out of the final four for the first time in four years. Also eliminated were Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones and Justin Haley. … Gragson won last week by 0.064 seconds, the series’ closest finish ever at Martinsville.

Next race: Feb. 19, Daytona Beach, Florida.



Lucas Oil 150

Site: Avondale, Arizona.

Schedule: Friday: Practice, 11:05 a.m., qualifying, 5:05 p.m., race, 8 p.m. (FS1).

Track: Phoenix Raceway.

Race distance: 150 laps, 150 miles.

Last year: Sheldon Creed won after starting third.

Last race: Zane Smith clinched a berth in the championship final four under caution after Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen made contact during a three-wide battle for the lead in overtime.

Fast facts: Smith, who needed the victory to advance, will contend for the title against three-time series champion Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes and John Hunter Nemechek. … Among the drivers eliminated was Creed, the defending series champion. … Nemechek’s five victories are more than the other three contenders combined. Smith’s victory was his first of the season, Rhodes won twice — the first two races of the season. Crafton is winless in 2021.

Next race: Feb. 18, Daytona Beach, Florida.



Mexican Grand Prix

Site: Mexico City, Mexico.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 1:30 and 5 p.m.; Saturday, practice, 1 p.m., and qualifying, 4 p.m.; Sunday, race, 2 p.m.

Track: Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Race distance: 71 laps, 189.738 miles.

Last year: Did not race.

Last race: Max Verstappen outran seven-time series champion Lewis Hamilton in Texas and claimed his series-high eighth victory of the year.

Fast facts: Verstappen leads Hamilton by 12 points with five races remaining. … Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is third, 102.5 points back. … Verstappen and Hamilton (5) have combined to win 13 of the 17 races so far this year. … Verstappen had led 504 of the 904 laps he’s run.

Next race: Nov. 14, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Last race: Colton Herta won the season finale at Long Beach, California, as Alex Palou wrapped up the series championship.

Next race: Feb. 27, St. Petersburg, Florida.



Last event: Steve Torrence won in Top Fuel and Cruz Pedregon won in Funny Car in Las Vegas.

Next event: Nov. 11-14, NHRA Finals, Pomona, California.



Next event: Nov. 4-6, World of Outlaws Finals, Concord, North Carolina.



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