The season began in February with Speedweeks. Now it has all come down to this one final race to crown the 2021 champion with a 312 lap race at Phoenix Raceway.

Before the start of the race, Country music star Dierks Bentley entertains the sold out crowd.

In a rare weekend since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, the drivers had a practice session and made a qualifying run.

During the inspection process before qualifying, three of the four teams battling for the championship had issues and will start the race with a penalty. The number five car driven by Kyle Larson, the number eleven car driven by Denny Hamlin, and the number 19 car driven by Martin Truex Jr all failed the inspection process twice. As a result, the teams will each lose one crew member – number five car chief Jesse Saunders, number eleven car chief Brandon Griffeth, and number 19 car chief Blake Harris – and will not be a part of the race on Sunday.

Chase Elliott is the only playoff driver whose car passed the inspection process on the first attempt. Last year it was Elliott who had to start the race from the back of the field after failing inspection on his way to winning the championship.

With a qualifying time of 26.116 seconds, Kyle Larson sits on the pole and will bring the field to green. Fellow playoff driver Chase Elliott will start alongside on the front row.

The starting lineup for the Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway:
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
William Byron
Ryan Blaney
Kurt Busch
Denny Hamlin
Cole Custer
Christopher Bell
Kevin Harvick
Joey Logano
Brad Keselowski
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Alex Bowman
Matt DiBenedetto
Ross Chastain
Daniel Suarez
Aric Almirola
Ryan Newman
Tyler Reddick
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Chase Briscoe
Austin Dillon
Corey LaJoie
Bubba Wallace
Chris Buescher
Erik Jones
Michael McDowell
Justin Haley
Anthony Alfredo
Ryan Preece
BJ McLeod
Cody Ware
Joey Gase
Quin Houff
David Starr
Josh Bilicki
Garrett Smithley
Timmy Hill

Stage one is 75 laps, stage two is 115 laps, and stage three is 122 laps for a total of 312 laps around the one mile track.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag start of the race from the outside lane. Drivers quickly get four and five wide going into turn one. Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott go side by side in a battle for the lead. After swapping the lead back and forth, Chase Elliott finally takes the lead on lap two.

Lap three Chase Elliott leads the race with Kyle Larson in second; Ryan Blaney, William Byr9n, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap six, Chase Elliott has a half second lead on Kyle Larson; Ryan Blaney in third challenges Kyle Larson for second.

Bubba Wallace brings out the first caution flag of the race when he backs into the wall after some contact from Corey LaJoie. With significant damage to his car, Bubba Wallace is out of the race.

Kyle Larson made a trip down pit road and will restart the race in 34th place.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane on lap 12 and gets out in front for the lead as the drivers get five wide across the track.

The top five are Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, and Kevin Harvick.

The second caution flag of the race comes out on lap 15 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Corey LaJoie get into a wreck. Stenhouse saved the car and kept it off of the wall but LaJoie has some serious damage to his car.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Chase Elliott winning the race off of pit road. Kyle Larson will restart the race in fifth.

After staying out on the track Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 20 and gets out in front for the lead as drivers are three, four, and five wide across the track.

Lap 21 Ryan Blaney leads the race with Ross Chastain in second; Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, and Michael McDowell round out the top five.

Lap 23, Ryan Blaney has a lead of nearly a second on Ross Chastain; Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Lap 26, Chase Elliott battles Kyle Larson for third and gets loose but saves the car.

Lap 27, Ryan Blaney has a lead of nearly second and a half on Kyle Larson; Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski round out the top five.

Lap 30, all four of the playoff drivers are in the top 10 with three of then in the top five.

Lap 31, Ryan Blaney has a second and a half lead on Kyle Larson; Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr rounds out the top five.

Lap 35, Ryan Blaney’s lead is down to just one second on Kyle Larson; Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr round out the top five.

Lap 41, Kevin Harvick battle with Ryan Blaney for the lead.

Lap 42, Ryan Blaney has the lead with Kevin Harvick on his bumper; Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.. Deny Hamlin is in sixth place. Timmy Hill is off the track.

Lap 44, Kevin Harvick comes up to battle once again with Ryan Blaney for the lead; Chase Elliott is right behind Harvick.

Lap 46, Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead with Kevin Harvick a tenth of a second back; Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Lap 59, Kevin Harvick continues the battle with Ryan Blaney for the lead and finally takes the spot with Martin Truex Jr right behind them.

Lap 50, Ryan Blaney retakes the lead.

Lap 51, Martin Truex Jr makes it a three way battle for the lead and gets out in front for the lead.

Lap 52, the top five cars are separated by less than one second.

Lap 53, the top five are Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney.

Lap 54, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over half a second on Kevin Harvick; Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five with Denny Hamlin in sixth.

Lap 61, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over a second and a half on Kevin Harvick; Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five to put all four playoff drivers in the top five.

Lap 66, Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Kevin Harvick; Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

With seven laps remaining in stage one, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of nearly two and a half seconds on Kevin Harvick; Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson round out the top five.

Four laps to go in stage one and there are 23 cars on the lead lap. Timmy Hill returns to the track 34 laps down with Corey LaJoin on pit road.

Martin Truex Jr wins stage one.

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Cuase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Larson
William Byron
Cole Custer
Ryan Blaney
Kurt Busch
Matt DiBenedetto

Drivers come down pit road for service with Chase Elliott winning the race off of pit road. The jack man for Martin Truex’s team slipped coming around the car.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two from the outside lane on lap 84. Elliott and Truex go sided by side in a battle for the lead as the field gets spread out across the track. Chase Elliott takes the lead.

Lap 85, the top five are Chse Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick.

Lap 86, Martin Truex Jr comes up to battle with Chase Elliott for the lead; so far Elliott holds off Truex.

Corey LaJoie returns to the track 22 laps down. There are 24 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 90, Chase elliott has pulled out to a half second lead on Martin Treux Jr; Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 93, Chase Elliott has a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 95, Kevin Harvick battle with Denny Hamlin for fourth.

Lap 101, Chase Elliott has pulled ut toa one second lead on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Timmy Hill is out of the race.

Lap 105, Chase Elliott has a one second lead on Martin Truex Jr with Kyle Larson two second back in third.

Lap 108, Chase Elliott has a lead of over a second on Martin Truex Jr; Kyle Larson is in third over three seconds back; Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 112, Kevin Harvick passes Kyle Larson for third.

Lap 113, Martin Truex Jr reports a brake shake.

Lap 117, Martin Truex Jr has caught up to leader Chase Elliott and begins to challenge for the lead.

Lap 120, Martin Truex Jr passes Chase Elliott for the lead; Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.

Lap 125, Martin Truex Jr has a one second lead on Chase Elliott; Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin round out the top five. There are 23 cars on the lead lap.

The fourth caution flag of the race comes out when Quin Houff gets into the wall with a flat tire. Houff climbs out of the car and walks to the ambulance.

The drivers are in their window to make it to the end of the stage after a pit stop for fuel.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Chase Elliott winning the race off of pit road. Kevin Harvick comes out in second.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane on lap 136 and gets out in front for the lead.

The top five are Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, and Martin Truex Jr. Denny Hamlin is back in ninth place.

Lap 139, Chase Elliott has a half second lead on Kyle Larson.

Lap 140, Ricky Stenhouse Jr brings out the fifth caution of the day when he gets into the wall with a flat tire.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane on lap 146 with Kevin Harvick alongside. With a little push from team mate Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott gets out in front for the lead. Drivers are four and five wide across the track.

Lap 147, the top five are Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Blaney. Denny Hamlin is in tenth place.

Lap 150, Chase Elliott has a lead of over half a second on Kyle Larson; Martin Truex Jr is in third over a second back; Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Lap 153, Martin Truex Jr battles Kyle Larson for second place.

Lap 155, Chase Briscoe back his car into the wall hard to brings out the caution flag with a flat tire.

Drivers come down pit road for service with Kyle Larson winning the race off of pit road.

After staying out on the track, Tyler Reddick brings the field down for the green flag restart with Kurt Busch alongside on lap 162. Drivers get four and five wide on the restart. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson jump out in front with Kyle Larson taking the lead.

Lap 163, the top five are Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 164, Kyle Larson leads the race with Chasee Elliott in second; Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Lap 166, Chase Elliott challenges Kyle Larson for the lead.

Lap 170, Chase Elliott continues to battle with Kyle Larson for the lead. Elliott has not won an oval race since he won the championship last year.

Lap 177, Kyle Larson leads the race with Chase Elliott continuing to challenge for the lead; Kenny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Blaney round out the top four. The four playoff drivers are in first, second, third, and fourth.

Lap 180, Kyle Larson encounters slower traffic as he works to put a little distance between himself and Chase Elliott; Elliott is now nearly half a second back.

Eight laps remain in stage two; Kyle Larson has a a third of ad on Chase Elliott; Denny Hamlin is in third nearly two seconds back.

Five laps to go in stage two, Kyle Larson has a half second lead on Chase Elliott.

With two laps to go in stage two, the sun is beginning to set and is casting some glare on the track.

Kyle Larson wins stage two.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch
William Byron

Drivers come down pit road for service with Kyle Larson winning the race off of pit road.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green falg start of stage three on lap 198 with team mate Chase Elliott alongside. Kyle Larson edges out for the lead.

The top five are Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Kevin Harvick.

Lap 200, there are 24 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 202, Kyle Larson has a third of a second lead on Chase Elliott; Denny Hamlin is in third nearly two seconds back with Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.

The drivers cannot complete the race on a single load of fuel and will have to make at least one pit stop for fuel.

NBC Sports broadcasters reported that Hendrick Motorsports has led over 4,000 laps this season.

Lap 207, Kyle Larson holds his third of a second lead on Chase Elliott; Denny Hamlin is two and a half seconds back in third with Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.

A bit of damage to the right rear of Kyle Larson’s car after contact with Chase Elliott does not appear to be slowing him down any. Larson has a half second lead on Chase Elliott. In fact, it has helped his handling.

Lap 220, Kyle Larson now has a one second lead on Chase Elliott; Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

Lap 229, Kyle Larson has a lead of over half a second on Chase Elliott; Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, and Kevin Harvick continue to round out the top five.

With 79 laps remaining in the race, Chase Elliott has caught up to leader Kyle Larson; Denny Hamlin is in third over two seconds back; Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick are over three seconds back in fourth and fifth.

Lap 236, Chase Elliott passes Kyle Larson for the lead. Leaders have encountered slower traffic.

With 74 laps remaining in the race leader Chase Elliott is looking to put some distance between himself and second place driver Kyle Larson.

Lap 242, Brad Keselowski becomes the first driver to make a green flag pit stop.

Lap 245, Denny Hamlin passes Kyle Larson for second; one second behind leader Chase Elliott.

Lap 248, Anthony Alfredo brings out the caution flag when he hits the wall hard with a flat tire. Martin Truex Jr was among the drivers on pit road when the caution came out.

Martin Truex Jr stays on the lead lap.

Drivers who have not made a pit stop come down pit road for service. Denny Hamlin wins the race off of pit road with Chase Elliott coming out second.

Martin Truex Jr is the new leader and brings the field down for the green flag restart with 58 laps remaining in the race. Drivers quickly spread out across the track.

Martin Truex Jr is in the lead with Denny Hamlin in second; Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott round out the top five.

Fifty-six to go, Martin Truex Jr leads the race; Denny Hamlin is in second with Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Larson rounding out the top five.

With 46 laps to go, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over half a second on Denny Hamlin; Chase elliott, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Lap 272, Chase Elliott scrapes the wall.

Forty to go, Martin Truex Jr has a lead of nearly a second on Denny Hamlin; Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Thirty five to go, Martin Truex Jr holds a lead of nearly a second on Denny Hamlin; Chase Elliott is in third over two seconds back with Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top five.

Kyle Larson is reporting handling issues in his car.

The sun is out and causing some major glare issues for the drivers in turn three.

The caution flag comes out on lap 283 for debris on the track from David Starr’s car. Starr lost a brake rotor.

Drivers come down pit road for fresh tires and adjustments with Kyle Larson winning the race off of pit road.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart with just 24 laps remaining in the race. Denny Hamlin is alongside on the inside lane. Kyle Larson gets out in front for the lead with Martin Truex Jr in second; Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Aric Almirola round out the top five.

With 23 laps to go, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin battle for third.

Lap 290, Kyle Larson has the lead with Martin Truex Jr just two tenths of a second behind.

Twenty to go, Kyle Larson continues to lead the race with Martin Truex Jr on his bumper; Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Blaney round out the top five.

Just 18 laps to go, Martin Truex Jr continues to battle Kyle Larson for the lead.

Fifteen to go, Kyle Larson has a near half second lead on Martin Truex Jr; Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Planey round out the top five.

Thirteen to go, Kyle Larson has increased his lead to over half a second on Martin Truex Jr; Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin battle for third.

Ten to go, Denny Hamlin passes Chase Elliott for third.

Kyle Larson has increased his lead to nearly a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Five to go, Kyle Larson continues to hold a lead of nearly a second on Martin Truex Jr with Denny Hamlin in third.

Two to go, Martin TruexJr has closed the gap on leader Kyle Larson to just over half a second.

Kyle Larson takes the white flag.

Winning his tenth race of the season, Kyle Larson is the 2021 Cup Series champion! Larson credits the pit crew on the radio at the end of th race.

Kyle Larson has won over 300 races in his life…but this is just his third championship. He does a burnout lap around the track until the championship flag falls out and the tires disappear.

Larson said that it was his pit crew that won him the race…and the championship…with their last pit stop.

The unofficial results of the Cup Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway:
Kyle Larson
Martin Truex Jr
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Blaney
Chase Elliott
Aric Almirola
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Christopher Bell
Brad Keselowski
Joey Logano
Matt DiBenedetto
Cole Custer
Ross Chastain
Austin Dillon
Kurt Busch
William Byron
Alex Bowman
Tyler Reddick
Ryan Preece
Daniel Suarez
Erik Jones
Ryan Newman
Michael McDowell
Chris Buescher
Justin Haley
BJ McLeod
Cody Ware
Joey Gase
Josh Bilicki
Garrett Smithley
Corey LaJoie
David Starr
Anthony Alfredo
Chase Briscoe
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Quin Houff
Timmy Hill
Bubba Wallace