2020 NASCAR Cup Series

2020 NASCAR Cup Series
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Champions | Seasons
Kevin Harvick, the current points leader

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series is the 72nd season for NASCAR professional stock car racing in the United States and the 49th season for the modern era Cup Series. The season began at Daytona International Speedway with the Busch Clash,[1] the Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying races, and the 62nd running of the Daytona 500. The regular season is scheduled to end with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona on August 29. The NASCAR playoffs is scheduled to end with the race at Phoenix Raceway on November 8.

This is the first season under NASCAR's new tiered sponsorship model after rejecting Monster Energy's offer to extend its title sponsorship.[2][3] On December 5, 2019, NASCAR announced Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, GEICO, and Xfinity as the Premier Partners of the NASCAR Cup Series, replacing the sole title sponsor of Monster Energy.[4]

This season was scheduled to be the final year for the Gen-6 car, with the Next Gen car (formerly the Gen-7 car) debuting in 2021.[5] However, when the coronavirus pandemic postponed all NASCAR racing (and therefore, testing) until the month of May, the sanctioning body announced that the debut of the car would be pushed back a year to 2022.[6]

It was announced that 2020 will be the last full-time season for seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson[7][8] as well as for part-timer Brendan Gaughan.[9] David Ragan, who retired from racing in NASCAR full-time after 2019, returned this season for the Daytona 500 in the Cup Series (driving for Rick Ware Racing in a partnership with his former team, Front Row Motorsports), as well as in a few Truck Series races (driving for DGR-Crosley). 2020 will also be the last season for Bob Leavine's family owned Leavine Family Racing team, as his team experienced enough financial problems during the COVID-19 pandemic that he had to close the team down and sell its assets. A buyer was found on August 4.[10][11]

When the season was put on hold due to the coronavirus, drivers from all NASCAR series, including nearly all Cup Series drivers, participated in the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.

Teams and driversEdit

Chartered teamsEdit

Manufacturer Team No. Race driver Crew chief
Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing 1 Kurt Busch Matt McCall
42 Kyle Larson 4 Chad Johnston 20
Phil Surgen 16
Matt Kenseth 32[12]
Germain Racing 13 Ty Dillon Matt Borland
Hendrick Motorsports 9 Chase Elliott Alan Gustafson
24 William Byron Chad Knaus 35
Keith Rodden 1
48 Jimmie Johnson 35 Cliff Daniels
Justin Allgaier 1[13]
88 Alex Bowman Greg Ives
JTG Daugherty Racing 37 Ryan Preece Trent Owens 35
Brian Burns 1[14]
47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Brian Pattie 35
Eddie Pardue 1[14]
Premium Motorsports 15 Brennan Poole (R) Pat Tryson
Richard Childress Racing 3 Austin Dillon Justin Alexander
8 Tyler Reddick (R) Randall Burnett
Richard Petty Motorsports 43 Bubba Wallace Jerry Baxter 35
Joey Forgette 1
Spire Motorsports 77 Ross Chastain 3[N 1] Tommy Baldwin Jr. 1
Peter Sospenzo 21
James Pohlman 1
Reed Sorenson 7
J. J. Yeley 4[N 2][N 3]
Garrett Smithley 4[N 3]
B. J. McLeod 2[N 3][15]
James Davison 2[16][N 4]
Josh Bilicki 1[N 3]
StarCom Racing 00 Quin Houff (R) George Church
Ford Front Row Motorsports 34 Michael McDowell Drew Blickensderfer
38 John Hunter Nemechek (R) Seth Barbour
Go Fas Racing 32 Corey LaJoie Ryan Sparks 35
Roy Gangdal 1[17]
Roush Fenway Racing 6 Ryan Newman 33[18] Scott Graves
Ross Chastain 3[19]
17 Chris Buescher Luke Lambert
Stewart-Haas Racing 4 Kevin Harvick Rodney Childers
10 Aric Almirola Mike Bugarewicz
14 Clint Bowyer Johnny Klausmeier 35
Greg Zipadelli 1
41 Cole Custer (R) Mike Shiplett
Team Penske 2 Brad Keselowski Jeremy Bullins
12 Ryan Blaney Todd Gordon
22 Joey Logano Paul Wolfe
Wood Brothers Racing 21 Matt DiBenedetto Greg Erwin
Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Denny Hamlin Chris Gabehart 32
Sam McAulay 4[20]
18 Kyle Busch Adam Stevens
19 Martin Truex Jr. James Small
20 Erik Jones Chris Gayle 35
Seth Chavka 1
Leavine Family Racing 95 Christopher Bell (R) Jason Ratcliff
Chevrolet 6
Ford 17
TBA 13
Petty Ware Racing [N 5] 51 Joey Gase 17 Lee Leslie 8
Jason Houghtaling 9
Tommy Baldwin Jr. 1
Jason Miller 2
Todd Parrott 3
Garrett Smithley 3
James Davison 3
Ford 23
TBA 13
Rick Ware Racing 27 B. J. McLeod 1 Jason Houghtaling 1
Mike Hillman Sr. 22
J. J. Yeley 15[N 2]
Gray Gaulding 6[21]
Josh Bilicki 1[22]
Ford 5
Chevrolet 18
TBA 13
53 David Ragan 1[N 6][23] Derrick Finley
Joey Gase 3 Lee Leslie 5
Jason Houghtaling 13
Todd Parrott 4
Garrett Smithley 12
Bayley Currey 1[24]
David Starr 1
Josh Bilicki 3
J. J. Yeley 1[N 2]
James Davison 1[25]

Non-chartered teamsEdit

Complete scheduleEdit

Manufacturer Team No. Race driver Crew chief
Toyota Gaunt Brothers Racing 96 Daniel Suárez[26] Dave Winston
Ford 1
Toyota 22
MBM Motorsports 66 Timmy Hill Steve Idol 4
Clinton Cram 19

Limited scheduleEdit

Manufacturer Team No. Race driver Crew chief Rounds
Chevrolet Beard Motorsports 62 Brendan Gaughan Darren Shaw 5[9]
Kaulig Racing 16 Justin Haley Billy Scott 1[27]
Premium Motorsports 27 Reed Sorenson Peter Sospenzo 1
Team Keller Racing 90 TBA[N 7] Tommy Baldwin Jr. 1
Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 Josh Bilicki Tommy Baldwin Jr. 12
Peter Sospenzo 1
6[29]
J. J. Yeley[N 2][N 3] 2
Reed Sorenson 4
Joey Gase[N 3] 1
Ford Rick Ware Racing 54 J. J. Yeley[N 2] Mike Hillman Sr. 1
Toyota MBM Motorsports 49 Chad Finchum Doug Richert 1
Chevrolet 9
Ford 3
B. J. McLeod Motorsports 78 B. J. McLeod Todd Parrott 10
Ken Evans 2
11[30]
Garrett Smithley 1

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Chastain's first two entries (the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600) were fielded in a collaboration with Chip Ganassi Racing.
  2. ^ a b c d e Yeley will be running the full season for Rick Ware Racing split between their multiple cars. He currently has driven the No. 52 (and the 27 when the number was changed), No. 53, and the No. 54 as well as the No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing and the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports which were both in alliances with RWR.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Entries were fielded in a collaboration with Rick Ware Racing.
  4. ^ Entries were fielded in a collaboration with Jonathan Byrd's Racing and Hayward Motorsports.
  5. ^ The No. 51 car is officially listed on paper as Petty Ware Racing because they have a long-term partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports to use one of the charters they own. However, RPM is not involved with operating or helping this team out at the races in any way.
  6. ^ Ragan's entry was fielded in a collaboration with Front Row Motorsports.
  7. ^ Team Keller Racing did not have a driver announced when they entered the Texas race. Due to being a new team and not having any owner points and the fact that there were over 40 cars on the entry list, their entry was excluded, so they never announced their driver for that race.[28]

ChangesEdit

TeamsEdit

  • On September 24, 2019, in a Frontstretch article, Rick Ware Racing owner Rick Ware was interviewed and said that he would like to run three cars full-time in 2020.[31] This news was later confirmed by the team on November 14, 2019.[32]
  • On November 1, 2019, Go Fas Racing formed an alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing to receive chassis, data, and technical support from SHR starting in 2020.[33][34]
  • On December 12, 2019, Front Row Motorsports announced they would revert to a two-car operation in 2020, effectively shutting down the No. 36 Ford.[35] Despite this, they will field the No. 36 at the 2020 Daytona 500 in a collaboration with Rick Ware Racing, with David Ragan as its driver.[23] On January 21, 2020, FRM renewed its technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing.[36] On February 3, Bob Pockrass reported that the No. 36's owner points and charter will be transferred over to the No. 38, while the No. 38's owner points and charter from 2019 will go to the Rick Ware Racing No. 53 (No. 36 at Daytona).[37]
  • On December 12, 2019, it was announced that Felix Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing's NASCAR division, would be retiring in 2020.[38]
  • On December 13, 2019, as part of the team's announcement that they would field two cars in the Daytona 500, MBM Motorsports owner Carl Long said that there is a chance they would field the No. 66 full-time in 2020, with Timmy Hill as the primary driver of that car.[39]
  • On December 14, 2019, when it was announced that James Davison would be running the Daytona 500 this season, it was announced that he will be driving a car fielded together by Jonathan Byrd's Racing and Hayward Motorsports, which will be both teams' first forays into NASCAR. The former is an IndyCar Series team and the latter is a Sprint Car team (and both of whom Davison has previously driven for).[40] However, this did not end up happening because the team was not on the official entry list for the race.[41]
  • On January 10, 2020, Kaulig Racing announced that they would be fielding a Cup Series team for the first time after running only in the Xfinity Series in their four years of operation. Justin Haley, one of their full-time Xfinity drivers and the defending summer Daytona Cup Series race winner, will drive the No. 16 Cup car for Kaulig in the Daytona 500.[27]
  • On February 3, 2020, Bob Pockrass reported that the MBM Motorsports No. 49 team will use the owner points of the No. 46 from the previous season.[37]
  • On March 3, 2020, Bob Pockrass reported that Rick Ware may be in the process of purchasing Premium Motorsports from Jay Robinson. On May 13, Pockrass confirmed that Ware had completed the transaction, acquiring the No. 15 charter. As a result of the acquisition, the RWR No. 52 team was renumbered to the No. 27 due to sponsorship preference. Ware explained that he purchased Premium Motorsports to own two charters (the No. 15 and No. 27), as the ones for the No. 51 and No. 53 are leased from Richard Petty Motorsports and Front Row Motorsports, respectively.[42]
  • On May 11, 2020, Tommy Baldwin Racing announced they would return to the Cup Series at the first of the May Darlington races with Josh Bilicki driving the No. 7 Chevrolet.[29] This is the team's first attempt since the 2019 Daytona 500.
  • On May 11, 2020, it was revealed through the 2020 The Real Heroes 400 entry list that B. J. McLeod would be debuting his team, which currently competes in the Xfinity Series, in the Cup Series with the No. 78 Chevrolet/Ford. He stated the following day that he is set to compete in both Darlington and Charlotte races in May, with the potential of up to 15 events this season after buying equipment from Rick Ware Racing, a team he has driven for in the Cup Series in select races for the last few years.[43]
  • On August 4, 2020, it was announced that for the Michigan doubleheader, the Spire Motorsports No. 77 car would be renumbered to the No. 74. The car will have a paint scheme that will be seen in the Netflix sitcom The Crew, starring Kevin James, and will have "sponsorship" from the fictional company Fake Steak. Camera shots and film of the car competing in the two races will be featured in the TV show.[44][45]

DriversEdit

  • On June 7, 2019, Daniel Suárez was reportedly working on extending his one-year contract with Stewart-Haas Racing.[46] On October 5, Suárez stated that he and Stewart-Haas were getting close to an agreement.[47] On November 14, it was officially announced that Suárez would not return to the No. 41 car in 2020.[48] On December 6, it was reported that Richard Childress Racing was interested in hiring Suárez either for a third team or as the driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series.[49] On January 6, 2020, Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal reported that Suárez is still working on a deal for 2020, with the Gaunt Brothers Racing No. 96 car being his top option.[50] On January 28, Suárez officially signed with Gaunt Brothers Racing for 2020.[51][26]
  • On June 10, 2019, Richard Childress Racing was reportedly working on getting Tyler Reddick a full-time Cup Series ride in 2020, either with the team or its alliances.[52] Later, on July 30, team owner Richard Childress said that Reddick would not be in the Xfinity Series next year as long as he stays with his team, and that the Cup Series was the only option.[53] On September 4, it was reported that RCR is unclear if they can afford a third team for Reddick, and that Reddick has been talking to other teams such as Roush Fenway Racing.[54] On October 2, RCR officially announced Reddick as the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet for the 2020 season. In addition, Reddick will compete for the 2020 NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors.[55][56]
  • On June 28, 2019, Christopher Bell signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing, but had stated he was unsure if he will stay in the Xfinity Series or advance to the Cup Series.[57] On August 15, when asked about the rumors of him replacing Matt DiBenedetto in the Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Toyota in 2020, Bell said that no deals had been signed yet.[58] On September 24, 2019, LFR officially announced Bell as the driver of the No. 95 in 2020. In addition, Bell will compete for the 2020 Rookie of the Year honors.[59][60]
  • On August 13, 2019, it was reported that Matt DiBenedetto may not return to Leavine Family Racing in 2020, with rumors that the No. 95 Toyota will be vacated for either Christopher Bell or Erik Jones, with the other driver in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20.[61] Two days later, DiBenedetto confirmed that he would not be back with LFR after the end of the 2019 season.[62]
  • On August 14, 2019, it was announced that David Ragan would be retiring from full-time competition following the 2019 season.[63] However, it was announced on January 10, 2020 that Ragan would return to run the Daytona 500 in the Front Row's No. 36 car in a collaboration with Rick Ware Racing.[23]
  • On August 16, 2019, Ryan Preece confirmed he would return to JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2020 season.[64] However, this year, he will drive the No. 37, with his new teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (who replaced Chris Buescher) in the No. 47 which Preece drove in 2019.[65]
  • On August 17, 2019, Aric Almirola confirmed that he is signed with the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Ford for the 2020 season.[66][67]
  • On August 17, 2019, Daniel Hemric stated he was "iffy" about his status for 2020, with Tyler Reddick likely moving to Cup and if Richard Childress Racing is not able to find sponsorship to run a third car full-time, Hemric may lose his ride to Reddick despite having signed a two-year contract with the team last year.[68] On September 17, RCR announced that Hemric would not return to the team following the 2019 season.[69][70]
  • On August 19, 2019, it was reported that Corey LaJoie's status with Go Fas Racing in 2020 is uncertain, as Xfinity driver Cole Custer has been mentioned as an option for the No. 32 Ford while the Front Row Motorsports No. 38 car may be an option for LaJoie with David Ragan not returning to that ride next year. If Custer ends up in the No. 32, the team would start a partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing, the team he competes for currently in the Xfinity Series and where his father serves as a team executive. Specifically, it was reported that SHR discussed the possibility of offloading many of their cars to GFR to make room for the Gen-7 car which will debut in 2021.[71] On November 15, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Custer will replace Suárez in the No. 41 Ford and compete for the 2020 Rookie of the Year honors.[72] On December 3, 2019, it was confirmed that LaJoie had signed a deal to return to the No. 32 in 2020.[73]
  • On August 21, 2019, it was reported that Rick Ware Racing was considering Garrett Smithley to drive the No. 51 full-time (in every race) in 2020.[74] When asked about his future with RWR, Smithley replied: "I’m going to take it one race at a time."[75] On September 24, Smithley was interviewed about those rumors and he stated that if he could do what he wanted, he would try to do something similar to what Ross Chastain did in 2019 and run as many races as possible in all three series (Cup, Xfinity, and Truck). In the same article, RWR team owner Rick Ware said that he anticipated Smithley would run several races with his team in 2020, whether it was full-time or part-time.[31] On February 18, 2020, RWR announced Smithley's return to the team.[76]
  • On September 6, 2019, Ty Dillon posted a video to his Instagram in which he denied the rumors that he would be retiring after the 2019 season to move into a management role at his grandfather's team, Richard Childress Racing, which has an alliance with the Germain Racing No. 13 team he drives for. The rumor was that either Tyler Reddick would take his place in the No. 13, moving up from the RCR No. 2 car in the Xfinity Series, or that Reddick would bump Daniel Hemric out of the No. 8 car and Hemric would be in the RCR-aligned No. 13 for Germain.[77]
  • On September 10, 2019, Paul Menard announced he will retire from full-time racing after the 2019 season and at the same time, Wood Brothers Racing signed Matt DiBenedetto to drive for the No. 21 Ford full-time for the 2020 season.[78] It was previously reported on July 12, 2019 that Menard had re-signed with WBR and was expected to return to the No. 21 team in 2020 with speculation that he had been considering retiring within the next few years after 2020.[79]
  • On September 13, 2019, it was reported that Chris Buescher and JTG Daugherty Racing were "in progress" in negotiating Buescher's contract renewal.[80] However, on September 25, it was announced that Buescher would be returning to Roush Fenway Racing and would drive the No. 17 Ford, replacing Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was released from the team despite having signed a contract extension through 2021 on August 1.[81][82][83][84]
  • On October 16, 2019, JTG Daugherty Racing announced that they signed Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to a multi-year deal starting in 2020.[85] Stenhouse replaces Chris Buescher as a driver for JTGD, although he will drive the No. 47 this season, replacing his new teammate Ryan Preece who will be in the No. 37.[65]
  • On November 7, 2019, it was reported that John Hunter Nemechek may be close to signing a deal with Front Row Motorsports for the 2020 season. Nemechek replaced Matt Tifft in the No. 36 Ford for the final three races of the 2019 season.[86] On December 12, Nemechek was announced as the new driver of the No. 38 Ford, replacing David Ragan and competing for the 2020 Rookie of the Year honors.[35]
  • On November 13, 2019, it was announced that Matt Tifft and Front Row Motorsports have mutually parted ways after Tifft started having health issues towards the end of the 2019 season.[87]
  • On November 14, 2019, it was announced that J. J. Yeley would run the full season for Rick Ware Racing in 2020 after running part-time for them last year. The exact car he will drive has not been announced.[88]
  • On November 27, 2019, it was announced that Quin Houff would drive the No. 00 Chevrolet for StarCom Racing full-time in 2020 and 2021, replacing Landon Cassill, who is likely to still remain with the team in some other way. Houff had driven part-time for Spire Motorsports and Premium Motorsports last year in the Nos. 15, 27, and 77 cars. In addition, Houff will compete for the 2020 Rookie of the Year honors.[89][90]
  • On December 11, 2019, it was announced that Brennan Poole would be running the full season in the No. 15 for Premium Motorsports and compete for the 2020 Rookie of the Year honors. In 2019, he drove most of the Truck Series schedule for On Point Motorsports. He has also driven full-time in the Xfinity Series for Chip Ganassi Racing.[91]
  • On December 14, 2019, it was announced that Australian James Davison would make his Cup debut at the Daytona 500 in an entry jointly fielded by Jonathan Byrd's Racing, an IndyCar Series team he has driven for in the past, and Hayward Motorsports, a Sprint Car team he has driven for in the past. The car will come from Rick Ware Racing. He has made four Xfinity Series starts as a road course ringer. Davison primarily drives in IndyCar, and will attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this year, meaning he will run both marquee races in the same year.[40]
  • On December 20, 2019, Rick Ware Racing announced that Joey Gase will drive one of their cars full-time in 2020. After many years running full-time in the Xfinity Series, this is Gase's first full season in Cup.[92] He ended up driving multiple cars for the team instead of one for the whole year. He drove the No. 51 in the Daytona 500 before moving to the No. 53 for the next few races. He will return to the No. 51 at Darlington.[93]
  • On January 9, 2020, it was announced that Ross Chastain would drive the No. 77 Chevrolet for Spire Motorsports at the Daytona 500 as well as the Coca-Cola 600 in a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing, the same way how the two teams jointly fielded Jamie McMurray's entry at the 2019 Daytona 500.[94]
  • On January 10, 2020, Justin Haley, a full-time Xfinity Series driver for Kaulig Racing, was announced to pilot Kaulig's new part-time Cup Series car, the No. 16 Chevrolet, in the Daytona 500. He ran three races last year driving the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports, including at the summer Daytona race where he pulled off an upset win in his third series start.[27]
  • On January 17, 2020, Parker Kligerman announced that he has no plans to return to the No. 96 of Gaunt Brothers Racing or in any of NASCAR's three national series.[95]
  • On February 17, 2020, Ryan Newman was injured in a last-lap flip across the finish line at the Daytona 500. After being removed from his car by safety personnel, Newman was taken to the hospital[96] and then released from the hospital on the Wednesday after the race,[97] and continues to recover from the crash. He eventually spoke publicly about his future driving plans, attending the Phoenix race[98] and appearing on the TODAY Show, where he indicated that he will return to driving as soon as he is able to.[99] Ross Chastain substituted for Newman in the No. 6 at Las Vegas,[100] California,[101] and Phoenix. On April 27, 2020, it was announced that Newman was medically cleared to return to competition.[102] In addition, NASCAR granted him a waiver for eligibility in the 2020 playoffs.[103]
  • On April 13, 2020, Chip Ganassi Racing suspended Kyle Larson indefinitely without pay after he was found to use a racial slur during an iRacing event the day before. Shortly after Ganassi's announcement, NASCAR also suspended him indefinitely.[104] The following day, Ganassi outright released Larson.[12] On April 27, 2020, Ganassi announced Matt Kenseth will drive the No. 42 for the remainder of the season.[105] In addition, NASCAR granted Kenseth a waiver for eligibility in the 2020 playoffs.[103]
  • On July 3, 2020, it was announced that Jimmie Johnson tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to miss the 2020 Brickyard 400. Justin Allgaier was announced as his replacement for the race.[106] On July 8, 2020, Johnson was cleared to race after testing negative twice that week.[107]

Crew chiefsEdit

  • On September 24, 2019, it was announced that Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Jason Ratcliff will replace Mike Wheeler as the crew chief of the Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Toyota, to be driven by Christopher Bell in 2020. Both Ratcliff and Bell worked together in the Xfinity Series in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Ratcliff was last a crew chief in Cup Series competition in 2017, with driver Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team. Wheeler will move to the position of LFR's competition director.[59][60]
  • On October 7, 2019, Rodney Childers confirmed that he agreed to a multiyear contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing as the crew chief of the No. 4 Ford driven by Kevin Harvick.[108]
  • On October 17, 2019, Roush Fenway Racing announced that Brian Pattie would not return as the crew chief for their No. 17 car, which will now be driven by Chris Buescher. He had worked for the team for the past four years, in 2016 with Greg Biffle and then since 2017 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.[109] On November 5, Luke Lambert was announced as Pattie's replacement at Roush Fenway Racing, moving over from Richard Childress Racing after many years there, most recently as the crew chief for their No. 31/8 car, working with Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, and Daniel Hemric.[110][111]
  • On October 28, 2019, Danny Stockman announced he will step down as the crew chief of the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 car, driven by Austin Dillon at the end of the 2019 season. Justin Alexander will return as the No. 3 team's crew chief in 2020 after having served that position in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.[112]
  • On November 5, 2019, it was announced that Richard Childress Racing crew chief Randall Burnett would be moving up with Tyler Reddick from RCR's Xfinity Series No. 2 team to the No. 8 Cup car. He replaces Luke Lambert, who on the same day was announced to be leaving to join Roush Fenway Racing in 2020 as the No. 17 crew chief.[113][111]
  • On November 25, 2019, Joe Williams announced that he has left the StarCom Racing No. 00 team. StarCom Racing has yet to announce his replacement for 2020.[114]
  • On December 2, 2019, it was announced that Brian Pattie would move with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to JTG Daugherty Racing, where he will crew chief the No. 47 car, which Stenhouse will drive.[65]
  • On December 4, 2019, Stewart-Haas Racing announced a change in their crew chief lineup. Mike Shiplett will replace Billy Scott as the crew chief of the No. 41 Ford, to be driven by Cole Custer in 2020. Both Shiplett and Custer worked together during the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series. In addition, Johnny Klausmeier and Mike Bugarewicz will switch teams, with Klausmeier going to the No. 14 team of Clint Bowyer and Bugarewicz going to the No. 10 team of Aric Almirola.[115] Scott later tweeted the following day that he had joined Richard Childress Racing as the head of engineering, replacing Justin Alexander, who is returning to crew chiefing at RCR full-time in 2020 with Austin Dillon's No. 3 team.[116]
  • On December 6, 2019, reporter Bob Pockrass tweeted that Mike Kelley has left Front Row Motorsports and started working at JTG Daugherty Racing, overseeing their fabrication shop. He worked a portion of the 2019 season with Matt Tifft's No. 36 team and the remainder with David Ragan's No. 38 team after a swap with Seth Barbour.
  • On December 9, 2019, Cole Pearn announced he had parted ways with Joe Gibbs Racing to pursue opportunities outside of NASCAR. Pearn served as Martin Truex Jr.'s crew chief at Furniture Row Racing from 2014 to 2018 and at JGR in 2019.[117] On December 19, 2019, James Small was announced as Truex's new crew chief for 2020. He previously worked with him as an engineer at both JGR and Furniture Row. He was also interim crew chief for Erik Jones' No. 77 FRR team in 2017 for two races.[118]
  • On January 6, 2020, Team Penske announced that all crew chiefs would be seeing a move to different teams within the organization. Paul Wolfe would be moving from the No. 2 of Keselowski to the No. 22 of Logano, Todd Gordon would be moving from Logano to the No. 12 of Blaney, and Bullins would be moving to join Keselowski.[119]
  • On January 6, 2020, Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Jerry Baxter would be the crew chief for Bubba Wallace in 2020, replacing first-year crew chief Derek Stamets, who worked with the No. 43 team last season.[120] He previously was a crew chief for GMS Racing in the Truck Series, working with drivers Cody Coughlin, Timothy Peters, Tyler Dippel, and Brett Moffitt for the last two years. Baxter worked with Wallace Jr. in 2013 and 2014 in the Truck Series at Kyle Busch Motorsports, earning five wins paired together.
  • On January 7, 2020, Go Fas Racing announced that Ryan Sparks would be the crew chief for the No. 32 car, driven by Corey LaJoie. Sparks previously served as a race engineer at Richard Childress Racing for the No. 3 of Austin Dillon.[121]
  • On January 22, 2020, it was reported that Dave Winston would be the crew chief for the Gaunt Brothers Racing No. 96 car, driven by Daniel Suárez. Winston previously served as a race engineer for Richard Childress Racing.[122]
  • On January 23, 2020, it was announced that Steve Idol would be the crew chief of the MBM Motorsports No. 66 Cup Series team, after previously having been a car chief for the organization.
  • On March 1, 2020, prior to the 2020 Auto Club 400 at Fontana, the No. 37 and No. 47 teams of JTG Daugherty Racing were docked 10 owner and driver points each and crew chiefs Trent Owens and Brian Pattie were suspended for the race after the cars were discovered to have an illegal modification during pre-race inspection. Brian Burns and Eddie Pardue took over the crew chief duties for the No. 37 and No. 47, respectively, for the race.[123]
  • On May 18, 2020, following the 2020 The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 crew chief Chris Gayle was suspended for one race and fined US$20,000 after it was discovered that two lug nuts were not safely secured during post-race inspection. Race engineer Seth Chavka was announced to take over Gayle's duties at the 2020 Toyota 500 at Darlington.[124]
  • On May 25, 2020, following the 2020 Coca-Cola 600, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 crew chief Chris Gabehart, car chief Brandon Griffeth, and engineer Scott Simmons were suspended for four races after a tungsten ballast came loose and fell off the frame rail of the car during the start of the race.[125]
  • On July 21, 2020, it was announced that Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 crew chief Chad Knaus would miss the 2020 Super Start Batteries 400 at Kansas to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. Keith Rodden was announced as his replacement for the race.[126]
  • On August 2, 2020, prior to the 2020 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire, Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 crew chief Jerry Baxter and Go Fas Racing No. 32 crew chief Ryan Sparks were suspended for the race and their respective teams were each penalized 10 driver and owner points after their cars failed pre-race inspection for improperly mounted ballasts.[127] Roy Gangdal, the engineer for the No. 32 team, would substitute for Sparks as LaJoie's crew chief for that race.[17]
  • On August 2, 2020, following the 2020 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 crew chief Johnny Klausmeier was suspended for the 2020 FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan and fined US$20,000 after the car was discovered to have two loose lug nuts during post-race inspection.[128]
  • On August 4, 2020, Chip Ganassi Racing announced that Chad Johnston would be replaced as crew chief on the No. 42 car by the team's engineer, Phil Surgen, for the remainder of the season.[129]

ManufacturersEdit

SponsorshipEdit

  • On June 13, 2019, Nationwide Insurance announced the end of their five-year sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports' No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Alex Bowman after the 2019 season.[131][132] On January 29, 2020, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Chevrolet Accessories partners will be the primary sponsor of the No. 88 for 26 races. The sponsorship package will consist of the brands Adam's Polishes, NOCO, and Truck Hero.[133] On August 12, Acronis signed a sponsorship deal with HMS that will run through 2023, including primary sponsorship of the No. 88 team for three races in 2020.[134]
  • On June 15, 2019, Richard Childress Racing announced Dow would be back for the 2020 season.[135]
  • On August 7, 2019, Team Penske announced Discount Tire renewed and expanded their commitment to the No. 2 car for 2020. Discount Tire who has been associated with Team Penske since 2010 will sponsor 15 races as the main sponsor, including the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and the season finale in Phoenix.[136] On January 28, 2020, Miller Lite announced it would sponsor the No. 2 at the Coca-Cola 600 only.[137]
  • On September 3, 2019, it was reported that Monster Energy is considering increasing its sponsorship of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet in 2020, as it will no longer become the title sponsor of the Cup Series after 2019. As Monster Energy has spent an estimated US$5 million on the team in 2019, the deal could give CGR close to US$10 million in the next year.[138]
  • On September 19, 2019, Liberty University reached a two-year agreement to extend the sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports' No. 24 Chevrolet driven by William Byron. Under the agreement, the No. 24 will carry Liberty University sponsorship in 12 races annually in 2020 and 2021.[139]
  • On September 20, 2019, Cincinnati Inc. signed a partnership deal with Hendrick Motorsports that runs from 2019 to 2028. The deal makes the tool manufacturer an associate sponsor for all four teams and a primary sponsor of the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by Alex Bowman.[140][141]
  • On October 4, 2019, Ally Financial extended its sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports' No. 48 Chevrolet for three more years through the 2023 season.[142][143]
  • On October 10, 2019, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that they signed a contract extension with Smithfield Foods to sponsor the No. 10 Ford driven by Aric Almirola.[144][67]
  • On October 23, 2019, Hertz extended its sponsorship of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet driven by William Byron through 2021. This deal includes four primary sponsorships per season and a full-time associate sponsorship.[145]
  • On October 30, 2019, Oscar Mayer extended its sponsorship of the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford driven by Ryan Newman through 2021.[146] On January 8, 2020, Wyndham Rewards announced a multi-year extension of its sponsorship of the No. 6 team.[147] On January 22, Castrol signed up as the official motor oil of RFR and a primary sponsor of the No. 6 team in select events.[148] A day later, Acorns announced that it will no longer sponsor the team.[149] On August 12, Guaranteed Rate signed a sponsorship deal with the team for the remainder of the season.[150]
  • On October 31, 2019, Mars, Incorporated signed a multi-year contract extension as the official chocolate of NASCAR. The company has sponsored the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch since 2008.[151]
  • On November 4, 2019, HotelPlanner signed a multi-year deal as the official online booking partner of NASCAR.[152]
  • On December 2, 2019, NASCAR announced that the organization will not allow CBD sponsorships partly due to restrictions from its media rights partners and also because of FIA regulations (cannabinoids, which CBD is part, is a Prohibited Substance in the WADA Code that is used by the FIA; NASCAR is a member of the ASN of the FIA in the United States, the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States).[153]
  • On January 9, 2020, Chip Ganassi Racing announced that AdventHealth would return to the team in 2020 and increase their sponsorship, with two races on the No. 42 of the driver who will replace Kyle Larson, and two races on the No. 77 Spire Motorsports car of Ross Chastain (which will have an alliance with Ganassi in those races). In 2019, they sponsored Jamie McMurray's No. 40 Spire/Ganassi car in the Clash, Larson in the All-Star Race (which he won), and Kurt Busch's No. 1 at Kansas in October.[94]
  • On January 14, 2020, it was reported that NASCAR was in advanced discussions with Verizon Communications on a new partnership, which includes upgrading the tracks with 5G technology.[154]
  • On January 27, 2020, it was announced that UniFirst will sponsor the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet driven by Chase Elliott for Phoenix, the NASCAR All-Star Race, and Las Vegas.[155]
  • On April 6, 2020, Blue-Emu dropped their sponsorship deal with Bubba Wallace after he decided to quit participating in an eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event.[156] On July 7, Beats Electronics announced that they have signed a personal services agreement with Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports.[157] On August 12, Columbia Sportswear signed a multiyear sponsorship agreement with Wallace and [158]
  • On April 13, 2020, McDonald's, Credit One Bank, and Fiserv (Clover) terminated their sponsorship deals with Kyle Larson following his suspension by Chip Ganassi Racing and NASCAR. In addition, Chevrolet suspended their business relationship with Larson indefinitely.[104]

Rule changesEdit

2020 packageEdit

  • On January 28, 2019, NASCAR announced a change in stage lengths for 16 races in the Cup Series. The affected tracks will have the length of their final stages decreased so that only one green-flag pit stop is required instead of two.[159]
  • On October 1, 2019, NASCAR released the 2020 rules package. Among the changes to the rules is the reduction of road crew members from 12 to 10. Teams with three or more cars are limited to three roster spots. Wind tunnel testing is limited to 150 hours per team and will only be permitted at four wind tunnel facilities (three in North Carolina and one in Indiana). Each car number is allowed a maximum chassis quantity of 12 units. Teams must compete with long block and short block sealed engines in a minimum of eight races each.[160][161][162]
  • On January 14, 2020, NASCAR announced a reduced downforce package for short tracks and road courses. The new aero package consists of the following changes:[163]
  • The rear spoiler will be reduced from 8 inches to 2.75 inches in height.
  • The front splitter's overhang will be reduced from 2 inches to a quarter-inch, with its wings trimmed from 10.5 inches to 2 inches.
  • The radiator pan's vertical fencing will be removed to reduce front-end downforce.

Charter systemEdit

  • On February 14, 2020, NASCAR announced the extension of the charter system through 2024. The charter system was first implemented in 2016 and had a five-year term that ran until 2020.[164]

ScheduleEdit

NASCAR unveiled the 2020 schedule on March 26, 2019.[165]

Due to implications from the COVID-19 pandemic, the schedule remains subject to significant changes.

For start times, TV and radio networks, please visit the official NASCAR website

No Race title Track Date
Busch Clash Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida February 9
Bluegreen Vacations Duel February 13
1 Daytona 500 February 16
February 17[a]
2 Pennzoil 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada February 23
3 Auto Club 400 Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California March 1
4 FanShield 500 Phoenix Raceway, Avondale, Arizona March 8
5 The Real Heroes 400[b] Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina May 17
6 Toyota 500[c] May 20
7 Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina May 24
8 Alsco Uniforms 500[d] May 28[167]
9 Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee May 31
10 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Georgia June 7
11 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway, Virginia June 10
12 Dixie Vodka 400 Homestead–Miami Speedway, Homestead, Florida June 14
13 GEICO 500 Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln, Alabama June 22[e]
14 Pocono Organics 325 Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania June 27
15 Pocono 350 June 28
16 Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway, Indiana July 5
17 Quaker State 400 Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Kentucky July 12
NASCAR All Star Open Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee[168] July 15
NASCAR All-Star Race
18 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas July 19
19 Super Start Batteries 400 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas July 23
20 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, New Hampshire August 2
21 FireKeepers Casino 400[f] Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan August 8
22 Consumers Energy 400[f] August 9
23 Go Bowling 235[g] Daytona International Speedway (Road Course), Daytona Beach, Florida August 16
24 Drydene 311[f] Dover International Speedway, Dover, Delaware August 22
25 Drydene 311[f] August 23
26 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida August 29
NASCAR Cup Championship Playoffs
Round of 16
27 Southern 500 Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina September 6
28 Federated Auto Parts 400 Richmond Raceway, Richmond, Virginia September 12
29 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee September 19
Round of 12
30 South Point 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada September 27
31 YellaWood 500 Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln, Alabama October 4
32 Bank of America Roval 400 Charlotte Motor Speedway (Road Course), Concord, North Carolina October 11
Round of 8
33 Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas October 18
34 AAA Texas 500 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas October 25
35 Xfinity 500 Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway, Virginia November 1
Championship 4
36 Bluegreen Vacations 500 Phoenix Raceway, Avondale, Arizona November 8
  1. ^ The Daytona 500 was stopped at Lap 21 on Sunday, due to rain. The race was completed the following day.
  2. ^ The Real Heroes 400 replaced the June Chicagoland race, the Camping World 400.[166]
  3. ^ The Toyota 500 replaced the spring April Richmond race, the Toyota Owners 400.[166]
  4. ^ The Alsco Uniforms 500 replaced the June Sonoma race, the Toyota/Save Mart 350.[166]
  5. ^ The GEICO 500 was delayed until Monday due to rain.
  6. ^ a b c d 400 mile races shortened to 500 kilometers.[166]
  7. ^ The Go Bowling 235 replaced the August Watkins Glen race, the Go Bowling at The Glen.[166]

Bolded races indicate a NASCAR Major, also known as Crown Jewel race.

ChangesEdit

Further information: History of NASCAR schedule realignments

The original 2020 schedule for the NASCAR Cup Series underwent a series of significant changes.[169]

Changes due to the COVID-19 pandemicEdit

  • On March 12, 2020, NASCAR initially announced that the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead–Miami Speedway would take place as scheduled, but behind closed doors with no spectators admitted. The next day, NASCAR announced that the two races and all associated events had been postponed.[172]
  • On March 16, 2020, NASCAR announced all race events through May 3, 2020 had been postponed.[173]
  • On April 17, 2020, NASCAR announced that Martinsville Speedway race weekend on May 8–9, 2020 had been postponed, although the sanctioning body affirmed its commitment to running a full 36-race schedule.[174]
  • On April 30, 2020, NASCAR announced a revised schedule for the month of May, with two Cup races at Darlington Raceway and two points-paying races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the Coca-Cola 600 that will be run with no fans in the stands. Charlotte then allowed each owner of a Turn 1 condominium complex overlooking the track five tickets each to the races.[175]
  • On May 8, 2020, NASCAR announced that Sonoma Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway would not host Cup races in 2020, and that Richmond Raceway's postponed spring date would not be rescheduled.[176]
  • With the exception of the Coca-Cola 600, all races starting with NASCAR's return at Darlington through the Homestead race at minimum will feature no practice or qualifying. Teams will unload, have cars inspected, and race. The Coca-Cola 600 featured same-day qualifying but no practice.[177]
  • On May 14, 2020, NASCAR announced the schedule for late-May through June 21, 2020, including Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR also announced that these races would still be held behind closed doors.[178] However, Atlanta, like Charlotte, allowed owners of its Turn 4 condominiums to attend the races with a similar policy to that in place (five tickets for each unit). NASCAR later announced that it would allow spectators at two races as a trial, with the Homestead race inviting a limited audience of 1,000 — representing local branches of the U.S. military.[179]
  • At the GEICO 500 at Talladega, NASCAR admitted outside spectators for the first time, capped at 5,000 in the stands, as well as limited campsites open.[179]
  • On June 15, 2020, NASCAR announced that the All-Star Race would be moved to Bristol Motor Speedway so that it could be held with spectators. The speedway admitted a maximum of 30,000 spectators for the All-Star Race (out of a total capacity of 162,000), the largest attendance of any U.S. sporting event held since the beginning of pandemic-related restrictions.[180][181]
  • On July 8, 2020, NASCAR announced the next phase of revisions to the schedule through the conclusion of the regular season in August, this includes twin race weekends at Dover and Michigan (with the races shortened to 500 kilometers each), and the Go Bowling at The Glen being replaced by the Daytona Grand Prix — NASCAR's first ever road course race at Daytona International Speedway. It was reported that the replacement of the Watkins Glen race was necessitated by travel restrictions imposed by the state of New York, which currently require 14 days self-isolation for anyone entering the state from areas designated as having large numbers of recent COVID-19 cases (including North Carolina, where the majority of NASCAR teams and staff are based). Fans may be admitted at events on a case-by-case basis depending on local health orders.[182]
  • On July 21, 2020, NASCAR announced that the remaining national series events on the 2020 schedule will be held without practice and qualifying.[183]

Season summaryEdit

Race reportsEdit

Speedweeks 2020

In Daytona 500 qualifying, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the pole with Alex Bowman qualifying second.[184]

In the Busch Clash, Ryan Newman started on pole. Brad Keselowski led the most laps. Joey Logano was leading, but got into the wall after contact with Kyle Busch that also collected Keselowski. On the restart, several drivers spun their tires causing a crash before the start-finish line including Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Jimmie Johnson. In overtime, Denny Hamlin had a tire go down and collected several cars. On the next overtime restart, Chase Elliott spun after contact with Kyle Larson. Erik Jones made a last lap pass on Newman with help from Hamlin for the win.[185]

In the Bluegreen Vacations Duel, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the first Duel. Daniel Suárez got into the wall after contact with Ryan Blaney. Joey Logano held off Aric Almirola to win his second straight Duel. In the second Duel, Alex Bowman led. J.J. Yeley hit the wall after contact with Corey LaJoie. William Byron and Jimmie Johnson drove past Kevin Harvick and Byron held off Johnson to win. Suárez, Yeley, and Chad Finchum failed to make the race.[186]

Round 1: Daytona 500

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. started on pole. After the first 20 laps, the race was red flagged due to rain and the rest was postponed until the following day. William Byron spun and slammed the wall after contact with polesitter Stenhouse as Chase Elliott won the first stage. Stenhouse was hit from behind coming to pit road as Denny Hamlin won the second stage. In the closing laps, Kyle Busch blew an engine as Brad Keselowski was turned into the wall collecting Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Bubba Wallace, Justin Haley, Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto. Ross Chastain had a tire go down and collected Joey Logano, Ryan Preece, Ty Dillon, Tyler Reddick, and Christopher Bell. Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell spun sending the race to overtime. Ryan Newman took the lead from Hamlin on the last lap, but was turned by Ryan Blaney and went airborne and landing on the roof before being plowed into by Corey LaJoie. Hamlin edged Blaney at the line for his third 500 win in five years and his second consecutive Daytona 500 win, becoming the first driver since Sterling Marlin to win back-to-back 500s. Newman was found unresponsive and was removed from the car and was rushed to the hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.[187][188]

Round 2: Pennzoil 400

Kyle Busch won the pole after qualifying was cancelled due to rain. Chase Elliott dominated early and won both stages. Martin Truex Jr. had to return to pit road to tighten lug nuts and later slammed the wall after having a tire go down. Elliott also had a tire go down and slammed the wall. Ryan Blaney, despite a tire rub, took the lead from Joey Logano and was heading to the win until Ross Chastain spun. Blaney and Alex Bowman pitted while Logano stayed out. William Byron had a tire rub and wrecked along with Blaney, Kyle Busch, and John Hunter Nemechek as Logano held off Matt DiBenedetto for his second straight Vegas win.[189]

Round 3: Auto Club 400

Clint Bowyer started on the pole. Alex Bowman won the first stage. Bowyer brought out the caution after having a tire go down. Kyle Larson got into the wall after contact with Denny Hamlin, but was able to keep going. Ryan Blaney won the second stage. Hamlin made contact with the wall. Bowman took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. and continued to lead with Blaney in second. Blaney had to pit for a flat tire with three laps to go. Bowman continued to lead for his second career Cup victory over Kyle Busch.[190]

Round 4: FanShield 500

Chase Elliott started on pole. Ryan Blaney slammed the wall after making contact with Denny Hamlin and collected Brad Keselowski. Kevin Harvick passed Elliott to win the first stage. Erik Jones got into the wall as Keselowski won the second stage. Tyler Reddick ran well until he got loose and got into the wall. Martin Truex Jr. plowed the wall after contact with Aric Almirola. Ross Chastain spun and an accident between John Hunter Nemechek and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sent the race to overtime. Joey Logano held off Harvick for his second win of the season.[191] Kyle Larson finished 4th but unbeknownst to all at the time, this would be his final race with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Season paused for two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The fifth race of the season was supposed to be the 2020 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the first race at Atlanta since its rescheduling from being the second race of the season (in late February or early March, which it was for 5 years) to mid-March immediately after the west coast swing (the races at Las Vegas, Fontana, and Phoenix) as part of the 2020 schedule changes.

Prior to the Atlanta race, NASCAR announced that no fans would be permitted to attend it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[192] However, it was announced the following day that the race would instead be outright postponed to sometime later in the season. The same restrictions applied to the following race, the 2020 Dixie Vodka 400, at Homestead-Miami Speedway.[193] It was supposed to be the first Homestead race since its rescheduling from being the season-finale in November (which it was for 18 years) to March as the sixth race of the season as part of the 2020 schedule changes.

Round 5: The Real Heroes 400

This was NASCAR's first race back since the pandemic hit. It was run on May 17 as a one day show, with no fans in attendance. This additional race at Darlington replaced the race at Chicago in June on the schedule. NASCAR announced that there would be no practice or qualifying held so that teams would not need to bring additional crew members to the track and would not need to bring backup cars.[175][176]

Brad Keselowski was awarded the pole position by a random draw, which was done on the Thursday before the race and televised on NASCAR Race Hub.[194] Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wrecked on the first lap of the race. Jimmie Johnson was leading at the end of the first stage but wrecked after contact with Chris Buescher on the last lap of the stage, with William Byron winning the stage. Keselowski won the second stage of the race. Kevin Harvick led the most laps and won the race, his second win at Darlington and 50th career win.[195]

Round 6: Toyota 500

The second race to air during prime time this season[196] also saw no fans in the stands much like the previous race. Positions 1 through 20 from Sunday’s race were inverted, which meant Ryan Preece started on pole by virtue of his 20th place finish on Sunday.[175][176] Positions 21 through 40 made up the remaining half of the grid. The Tommy Baldwin racing entry driven by Josh Bilicki did not enter this race which meant only 39 cars started. J. J. Yeley and Gray Gaulding started in the rear due to them not participating in Sunday’s race. The race saw Preece, the pole sitter, blow a motor during the first stage and fail to finish. Clint Bowyer led the most laps and won the first and second stages, but got into the wall and spun late in the race. Denny Hamlin was leading when the final caution came out with 28 laps to go when Chase Elliott made contact with Kyle Busch and spun into the inside wall. During the caution period rain started to fall which caused NASCAR to red flag the race. With 20 laps remaining NASCAR declared Hamlin the winner. This was Hamlin’s second victory of the season.[197]

Round 7: Coca-Cola 600

This race occurred on its originally scheduled date of May 24 but was the first race since the COVID-19 pandemic to feature qualifying as part of a one day show. This would turn out to be the final race in 2020 that would have an actual qualifying session as NASCAR would announce in late July that there would be no further practice or qualifying sessions for any of NASCAR's 3 national touring series for the remainder of 2020. Kurt Busch started on pole for the race. At the beginning of the race, Denny Hamlin lost ballast from his car and was forced to pit, resulting in him starting the race multiple laps down. The race was red-flagged due to rain during the first stage. Alex Bowman won the first stage of the race under caution after Clint Bowyer got into the wall. Bowman also won the second stage of the race. Joey Logano won the third stage of the race. Chase Elliott was leading late in the race when William Byron spun with two laps to go, setting up an overtime finish. Elliott and several cars came to pit road while other drivers stayed out. Brad Keselowski took the lead and won the race in overtime. Jimmie Johnson crossed the finish line 2nd but failed post-race inspection, resulting in him being disqualified and finishing the race in last place meaning he will start in last place in the next race.[198]

Round 8: Alsco Uniforms 500

The race was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday due to rain. The top 20 from the Coca-Cola 600 was inverted, which meant that William Byron started on pole. Joey Gase and Garrett Smithley got into the wall on the first lap and collected Tyler Reddick and Ty Dillon. Byron had to pit after making contact with Corey LaJoie on pit road. Kyle Busch cut a tire after making contact with Aric Almirola. Brad Keselowski cut a tire and got into the wall along with Matt Kenseth. The race was red flagged due to rain. When the race resumed, Joey Logano won the first stage. Alex Bowman won the second stage and led the start of the final stage until he got into the wall and had to pit. Kevin Harvick took the lead, but Chase Elliott passed Harvick for the lead and held off Denny Hamlin for his seventh career win.[199]

Round 9: Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500

A random draw determined the starting lineup with Brad Keselowski starting on pole. After two competition cautions, Chase Elliott won the first stage. Ryan Blaney spun while second and collected Ty Dillon. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun and collected several cars including Alex Bowman, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Preece, and Matt DiBenedetto, which brought out the red flag. Elliott won the second stage as Kevin Harvick made contact with Erik Jones and got into the wall. Bubba Wallace made little contact with Aric Almirola and collected Martin Truex Jr. Denny Hamlin spun after battling Joey Logano for the lead. Elliott got loose and put himself and Logano into the wall, which allowed Keselowski to take the lead and hold off Clint Bowyer for his second win of the season.[200]

Round 10: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

Chase Elliott won pole from random draw. Kurt Busch had to serve a drive-thru penalty in the first laps due to failing pre-race inspection multiple times. Martin Truex Jr. won both stages as Michael McDowell and John Hunter Nemechek both had spin outs that brought the only incidents of the day. Kevin Harvick will go on to lead the most laps and grab his second win of the season.[201]

Round 11: Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500

The first night race to take place at Martinsville since the implementation of the lights in 2017, and the first race to ban all confederate flags from sports events in response of the death of George Floyd. Ryan Blaney won pole from random draw as a quick caution on lap 5 came out for debris from Austin Dilion's car. He would eventually retire from the race on the final stage due to overheating inside the car. Many noticeable drivers, including Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Blaney, and Matt Kenseth would struggle in the first stage and would already be a lap or two down until the competition caution came out at lap 60. Another caution would come out with 10 to go in stage 1 from Timmy Hill stalling on pit road. Most drivers who were a lap down opted to take the wave around, but Corey Lajoie opted not to pit while on the lead lap, thus trapping all the wave arounds stuck a lap down. Joey Logano will go on to win stage 1 while Jimmie Johnson would win stage 2. Martin Truex Jr. was busted from going over the commitment box while pitting and had to restart at the tail-end. Two more cautions would come out for incidents involving David Starr and Quin Houff. Truex would assume the lead in the latter portion of the race and would win for the second consecutive time at Martinsville, beating second place Ryan Blaney by 4.232 seconds.[202]

Round 12: Dixie Vodka 400

Denny Hamlin won pole as the start of the race was delayed due to lightning in the area, and again on lap 5. Ryan Newman would spin out in the first stage as Hamlin would go on to win both stages. Chase Elliott led late in the race, but was blocked by lapped car Joey Logano due to their incident that happened at Bristol several weeks prior, allowing Hamlin to regain the lead and score his third win of the season.[203]

Round 13: GEICO 500

The race was pushed from Sunday to Monday afternoon due to rain and lightning that washed out the track. Martin Truex Jr. started on pole from random draw. Denny Hamlin would hit the wall late in stage 1 and would have to repair under green. 5 laps before the end of stage 1, a shower damped the track forcing the red flag for almost an hour. Tyler Reddick would win stage 1 under yellow following race resumption. John Hunter Nemechek would spin out in turn four to bring the only incident in stage 2 as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. would win stage 2. Stage 3 would see two minor crashes involving Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon with 50 to go, and Brennan Poole and Joey Gase would crash with 46 to go. This caution would ultimately turn into a fuel mileage race as many would either barely make it while others would be a few laps short. The race would run green until 3 laps to go when Jimmie Johnson got turned by Kevin Harvick at the start/finish line forcing the race into overtime. Drivers up front like Ryan Blaney, Stenhouse, and Harvick would opt not to pit in order to keep track position and save fuel. On the overtime restart, Harvick would get a push from Chris Buescher to the lead. On the final lap, several drivers would crash in turn 3 involving Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, and Truex, allowing Blaney to pass Harvick and score his 4th career win in the Cup Series, beating out Stenhouse by 0.007 seconds as Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, and Nemechek crash coming to the finish.[204]

Round 14: Pocono Organics 325

Aric Almirola started the race on the pole. Joey Logano won the first stage of the race while Almirola won the second stage of the race. Almirola led the most laps in the race. During a round of green-flag pit stops, Almirola took four tires while Kevin Harvick took two tires, resulting in Harvick taking the lead. Late in the race, Logano had to make an unscheduled pit stop due to a flat tire. Harvick held off Denny Hamlin to win the race, his third win of the season and first win at Pocono.[205]

Round 15: Pocono 350

Ryan Preece started the race on the pole following an inversion of the top 20 results from the first Pocono race. Kurt Busch won the first stage of the race. Christopher Bell spun and hit the wall. Toward the end of the second stage, Ryan Blaney made contact with Kyle Busch, sending Busch spinning and into the wall. Brad Keselowski won the second stage of the race. Kevin Harvick was leading in the final stage of the race and came to pit road for a green-flag pit stop, giving the lead to Denny Hamlin. Hamlin pitted 15 laps later and retained the lead once green-flag pit stops cycled through. Hamlin would hold off Harvick to win the race. The win was the fourth of the season for Hamlin and his sixth win at Pocono, tying Jeff Gordon for the most wins at Pocono.[206]

Round 16: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records

Joey Logano started the race on the pole. On lap 15, a multicar accident occurred on pit road, with a crew member of Ryan Blaney's pit crew suffering injuries. The race was red flagged due to this incident. William Byron won the first stage of the race. Kevin Harvick won the second stage of the race. Several drivers were involved in wrecks due to tire issues, including Byron, Erik Jones, and Alex Bowman. Late in the race, Harvick and Denny Hamlin were battling for the lead. Hamlin cut a tire and hit the wall while leading with 7 laps to go. This caution set up an overtime finish, where Harvick held off Matt Kenseth to win the race, his fourth win of the season.[207]

Round 17: Quaker State 400 presented by Wal-Mart

Kyle Busch started on the pole. Aric Almirola dominated and won the first stage. Matt Kenseth spun after a flat tire while Brad Keselowski won the second stage. On a later restart, Jimmie Johnson was spun after contact with Keselowski. Kenseth spun a second time, setting up a two lap restart. Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. got side-by-side for the lead and Ryan Blaney made it three wide. Blaney and Harvick made contact and it allowed Cole Custer to take the lead in a four-wide pass on the last lap and hold off Truex for his first career win.[208] Custer's victory marked the first Cup win by a Cup rookie since Chris Buescher won at Pocono Raceway in August 2016 when fog shortened the event. Cole became the thirty-third driver to win a race in all three of NASCAR's top divisions.

Exhibition: NASCAR All-Star Race

In the Open, Michael McDowell spun after contact with William Byron and collected Bubba Wallace. Aric Almirola and Byron won the first two stages to advance. Matt DiBenedetto held off Clint Bowyer to win the Open and transfer to the All-Star Race along with Bowyer, who won the fan vote.

Martin Truex Jr. started on the pole, but had to start in the back for failing inspection. Kurt Busch spun early as Ryan Blaney won the first stage. Chase Elliott won both the second and third stages. In the final 15 lap stage, Elliott pulled away and held off Kyle Busch to win $1 million.[209] Chase completed the second Father-Son combination to win the All-Star Race. His Dad Bill won it in 1986 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The other combo were the Earnhardts with Dale Sr. winning it three times (1987, 1990, 1993) and Dale Jr. winning it in 2000, becoming the first rookie to win the exhibition event.

Round 18: O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

A random draw gave Aric Almirola the pole. Ryan Blaney dominated and won both stages. On the restart at the start of the final stage, Almirola made contact with Kurt Busch and got into Kyle Busch, who turned Martin Truex Jr. and collected Ryan Preece, Chris Buescher, and Cole Custer. Ty Dillon made contact with William Byron and got into the wall. Alex Bowman got into the wall after contact with Denny Hamlin. Hamlin would then spin on the restart, setting up overtime. Austin Dillon used pit strategy to keep the lead and hold off teammate Tyler Reddick for his first win since the 2018 Daytona 500.[210]

Round 19: Super Start Batteries 400 presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts

A random draw gave the pole to Kevin Harvick. Kyle Busch won the first stage while the second was won by Brad Keselowski. Joey Logano cut a tire and slammed the wall, collecting Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, and Matt DiBenedetto. On the restart, Christopher Bell spun and collected Ryan Newman, Chris Buescher, and Ryan Preece. Denny Hamlin led the most laps and passed Harvick for the lead and held off Keselowski for his fifth win of the season.[211]

Round 20: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301

A random draw gave the pole to Aric Almirola. Kyle Busch slammed the wall early after a flat tire ending his race early. Jimmie Johnson made contact with Clint Bowyer and spun. Denny Hamlin won the first stage and Brad Keselowski won the second stage after passing Hamlin. Matt Kenseth had multiple tire issues and spun three different times. Keselowski led the most laps and held off Hamlin for his third win of the season.[212] This would lead to a contract extension between Keselowski and Team Penske the next day.[213]

Round 21: FireKeepers Casino 400

A random draw gave the pole to Joey Logano. Kevin Harvick dominated and won both stages. John Hunter Nemechek suffered tire problems three times and collected Chris Buescher and Ryan Preece. Cole Custer got into the wall, sending the race to overtime. On the restart, Austin Dillon made contact with Christopher Bell and got into the wall along with Ryan Newman. On the restart, Harvick held off Brad Keselowski for his fifth win of the season.[214]

Round 22: Consumers Energy 400

The top 20 from the previous race gave the pole to Chris Buescher, but had to start at the rear of the field. Clint Bowyer won the first stage while Kevin Harvick won the second stage. Penske teammates Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski got together while battling for the lead and got into the wall. Harvick led the most laps and held off Denny Hamlin to sweep the weekend for his sixth win of the season and tying Rusty Wallace for 55 wins on NASCAR's all time wins list.[215]

Results and standingsEdit

Race resultsEdit

No. Race Pole position Most laps led Winning driver Manufacturer Report
Busch Clash Ryan Newman Brad Keselowski Erik Jones Toyota Report
Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Joey Logano Ford Report
Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 Alex Bowman Kevin Harvick William Byron Chevrolet
1 Daytona 500 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
2 Pennzoil 400 Kyle Busch Kevin Harvick Joey Logano Ford Report
3 Auto Club 400 Clint Bowyer Alex Bowman Alex Bowman Chevrolet Report
4 FanShield 500 Chase Elliott Chase Elliott Joey Logano Ford Report
5 The Real Heroes 400 Brad Keselowski Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Ford Report
6 Toyota 500 Ryan Preece Clint Bowyer Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
7 Coca-Cola 600 Kurt Busch Alex Bowman Brad Keselowski Ford Report
8 Alsco Uniforms 500 William Byron Kevin Harvick Chase Elliott Chevrolet Report
9 Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 Brad Keselowski Denny Hamlin Brad Keselowski Ford Report
10 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Chase Elliott Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Ford Report
11 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 Ryan Blaney Joey Logano Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Report
12 Dixie Vodka 400 Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
13 GEICO 500 Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney Ryan Blaney Ford Report
14 Pocono Organics 325 Aric Almirola Aric Almirola Kevin Harvick Ford Report
15 Pocono 350 Ryan Preece Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
16 Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records Joey Logano Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Ford Report
17 Quaker State 400 Kyle Busch Aric Almirola Cole Custer Ford Report
NASCAR All Star Open Michael McDowell William Byron Matt DiBenedetto Ford Report
NASCAR All-Star Race Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney Chase Elliott Chevrolet
18 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Aric Almirola Ryan Blaney Austin Dillon Chevrolet Report
19 Super Start Batteries 400 Kevin Harvick Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
20 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 Aric Almirola Brad Keselowski Brad Keselowski Ford Report
21 FireKeepers Casino 400 Joey Logano Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Ford Report
22 Consumers Energy 400 Chris Buescher Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Ford Report
23 Go Bowling 235 Kevin Harvick Report

Drivers' championshipEdit

(keyBold – Pole position awarded by time. Italics – Pole position set by final practice results, owner's points, previous race field inversion or random draw. * – Most laps led. 1 – Stage 1 winner. 2 – Stage 2 winner. 3 – Stage 3 winner.[N 1] 1–10
Note: Drivers listed in gold have qualified for the NASCAR playoffs.

Pos. Driver DAY LVS CAL PHO DAR DAR CLT CLT BRI ATL MAR HOM TAL POC POC IND KEN TEX KAN NHA MCH MCH DAY DOV DOV DAY DAR RCH BRI LVS TAL CLT KAN TEX MAR PHO Pts. Stage Bonus
1 Kevin Harvick 5 8* 9 21 1* 3 5 10* 11 1* 15 26 10 1 2 1*2 4 5 4 5 1*12 1*2 916 201 35
2 Brad Keselowski 36 7 5 112 132 4 1 7 1 9 3 10 19 9 112 4 92 9 22 1*2 2 39 779 155 21
3 Denny Hamlin 1*2 17 6 20 5 1 29 2 17* 5 24 1*12 4 2 1* 28 12 20 1* 21 6 2 776 158 29
4 Ryan Blaney 2 11 192 37 16 21 3 3 40 4 2 3 1* 12 22 32 6 7*12 20 20 4 38 741 239 8
5 Chase Elliott 171 2612 4 7* 4 38 2 1 2212 8 5 2 38 25 4 11 23 12 12 9 7 9 721 185 10
6 Joey Logano 26 1 12 1 18 6 133 61 21 10 4*1 27 16 361 24 10 15 3 35 4 8 5 717 187 14
7 Martin Truex Jr. 32 20 14 32 6 10 6 9 20 312 1 12 24 6 10 38 2 29 3 3 3 3 716 177 7
8 Aric Almirola 22 21 8 8 12 7 15 20 29 17 33 5 3 3*2 5 3 8*1 10 6 7 16 6 669 110 2
9 Kyle Busch 34 15 2 3 26 2 4 29 4 2 19 6 32 5 38 6 21 4 111 38 5 4 651 153 1
10 Kurt Busch 33 25 3 6 3 15 7 5 7 6 9 17 9 18 131 13 5 8 9 17 10 10 648 79 1
11 Alex Bowman 24 13 1*1 14 2 18 19*12 312 37 12 6 18 7 27 9 30 19 30 8 15 21 36 585 163 9
12 Clint Bowyer 6 12 23 5 17 22*12 39 16 2 20 17 11 25 7 8 16 14 11 14 18 19 141 571 90 3
13 Matt DiBenedetto 19 2 13 13 14 9 17 15 31 25 7 14 26 13 6 19 3 17 36 6 15 7 568 77
14 William Byron 40 22 15 10 351 12 20 12 8 33 8 9 11 14 7 271 11 37 10 11 14 12 537 86 2
15 Erik Jones 18 23 10 28 8 5 11 26 5 28 20 21 5 38 3 33 22 6 5 24 11 27 511 67
16 Jimmie Johnson 35 5 7 12 38 8 40 11 3 7 102 16 13 21 16 18 26 32 12 12 11 511 72 1
17 Austin Dillon 12 4 24 36 11 20 14 8 6 11 37 7 39 19 14 18 13 1 27 13 31 8 501 47 5
18 Tyler Reddick (R) 28 18 11 33 7 13 8 14 36 16 16 4 201 30 35 8 10 2 13 10 18 24 501 60 1
19 Christopher Bell (R) 21 33 38 24 24 11 9 21 9 18 28 8 29 4 39 12 7 21 23 28 13 17 415 41
20 Bubba Wallace 15 6 27 19 21 16 38 37 10 21 11 13 14 22 20 9 27 14 37 23 9 21 400 16
21 Cole Custer (R) 37 19 18 9 22 31 12 18 35 19 29 22 22 16 17 5 1 39 7 8 34 25 396 13 5
22 Michael McDowell 14 36 22 16 23 17 18 25 14 24 14 15 18 8 40 7 24 15 16 19 29 28 376
23 Chris Buescher 3 14 16 17 32 23 10 22 23 22 13 23 6 10 36 31 20 19 33 25 20 20 371 14
24 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 20 3 20 22 40 25 24 4 34 13 21 20 22 17 15 36 29 38 40 14 32 19 369 40 1
25 John Hunter Nemechek (R) 11 24 25 25 9 35 16 13 13 23 25 19 8 24 19 15 36 22 19 36 36 23 341 3
26 Ryan Newman 9 15 14 27 17 15 14 12 30 23 15 18 34 17 13 28 21 28 13 338 11
27 Ty Dillon 30 10 26 15 19 19 25 27 39 29 22 28 12 26 23 14 16 35 15 22 23 18 325 1
28 Matt Kenseth 10 30 26 23 16 15 23 25 40 11 12 2 25 18 17 37 17 15 316 7
29 Corey LaJoie 8 16 29 27 31 24 23 19 32 27 18 29 17 23 21 39 28 16 21 35 22 22 281
30 Ryan Preece 29 37 30 18 20 39 22 24 12 26 26 24 15 20 25 40 38 40 34 16 25 16 249 7
31 Daniel Suárez DNQ 30 28 21 25 27 28 28 18 31 27 31 28 28 26 20 26 23 18 26 24 26 238
32 Brennan Poole (R) 16 29 32 31 27 37 30 38 24 30 30 32 35 29 27 35 31 27 30 27 37 30 154
33 Kyle Larson 10 9 21 4 121 9
34 Quin Houff (R) 39 32 35 34 36 26 35 32 27 32 34 33 27 40 31 23 35 34 24 32 27 32 121
35 Reed Sorenson 31 34 36 30 29 37 38 28 31 30 31 55
36 Brendan Gaughan 7 21 46
37 David Ragan 4 33
38 James Davison 34 30 30 38 37 19
Ineligible for driver points
Pos. Driver DAY LVS CAL PHO DAR DAR CLT CLT BRI ATL MAR HOM TAL POC POC IND KEN TEX KAN NHA MCH MCH DAY DOV DOV DAY DAR RCH BRI LVS TAL CLT KAN TEX MAR PHO Pts. Stage Bonus
Justin Haley 13
Ross Chastain 25 27 17 23 21 17
Timmy Hill 27 38 37 38 33 33 34 33 19 39 39 34 33 35 29 29 37 36 38 33 33 35
J. J. Yeley DNQ 28 31 26 28 28 37 34 25 36 31 38 36 31 28 21 30 24 22 29 26 29
B. J. McLeod 38 39 36 32 35 28 40 35 31 39 37 22 33 39
Joey Gase 23 31 33 29 30 29 36 39 33 38 35 36 36 37 33 26 34 32 29 34 39
Garrett Smithley 35 34 35 37 34 33 40 26 35 36 34 33 32 24 33 26 31 35 34
Josh Bilicki 34 36 34 37 32 34 25 32 31 25 33
Gray Gaulding 32 31 30 30 30 25
David Starr 32
Justin Allgaier 37
Bayley Currey 38
Chad Finchum DNQ
Pos. Driver DAY LVS CAL PHO DAR DAR CLT CLT BRI ATL MAR HOM TAL POC POC IND KEN TEX KAN NHA MCH MCH DAY DOV DOV DAY DAR RCH BRI LVS TAL CLT KAN TEX MAR PHO Pts. Stage Bonus
Notes
  1. ^ Stage 3 Winner only for Coca-Cola 600.

Manufacturers' championshipEdit

After 22 of 36 races

Pos Manufacturer Wins Points
1 Ford 13 828
2 Toyota 6 770
3 Chevrolet 3 725

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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