NASCAR is starting to provide more details about the championship weekend at Phoenix Raceway. The sanctioning body has revealed that Kristin Chenoweth will perform the national anthem prior to the NASCAR Cup Series championship race on Sunday, November 7 (3 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).
Phoenix Raceway officials issued a press release on Wednesday, October 20, confirming that the Emmy and Tony Award-winning performer will be on hand for the final race of the season. Chenoweth will grab the microphone and perform the national anthem after country singer Dierks Bentley performs a pre-race concert.
Chenoweth has performed in a variety of projects both on the stage and the silver screen. She was Glinda the Good Witch in the hit Broadway musical “Wicked” and she won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Olive Snook in “Pushing Daisies.” Chenoweth is currently preparing to release her upcoming album, “Happiness Is … Christmas.”
“Kristin Chenoweth is one of the most gifted vocalists and performers of all-time,” said Phoenix Raceway President Julie Giese in a press release. “She not only will elevate the stature of our championship race, but she will also undoubtedly deliver a rendition of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ that we will remember for years to come.”
This Will Be the Second Consecutive Championship Weekend at Phoenix
When Chenoweth grabs the microphone and performs the national anthem, she will set the stage for the second consecutive championship race at Phoenix. NASCAR first moved from Homestead-Miami after the 2019 finale — ending a run that began in 2002 — and took the championship race to Phoenix for 2020. The move coincided with $178 million in upgrades to the track.
The first-ever championship race at the one-mile track featured Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin as they fought for the Bill France Cup. The driver of the No. 9 led 153 of the 312 laps and locked up the first title of his career.
The championship race will return to Phoenix on November 7, 2021, but this will not be the end of the run. NASCAR also announced on June 1 that the track will also host championship weekend during the 2022 season.
“We’re so proud of the fact that we get to host NASCAR’s biggest weekend, crowning those four champions and celebrating the series, our drivers, our teams,” track president Julie Giese said on June 1, per NASCAR.com. “It’s going to be a great event. We’re really looking forward to it and honored that we have the opportunity to host this once again.”
1 Driver Has a Secure Spot in the Championship 4
There are two weeks remaining in the Cup Series Round of Eight before the field cuts to only four drivers. The eligible contenders will compete for wins at Kansas Speedway on October 24 and Martinsville Speedway on October 31, which will guarantee a spot in the championship four.
Kyle Larson is the only driver that has locked himself into the championship race. He won the playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway after leading 55 laps and reached the championship four for the first time in his career. He also increased the pressure on other hopeful drivers by taking away a secure spot.
Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Busch are all above the cutline with only two races remaining in the Round of Eight. Blaney has the biggest cushion at 17 points while Hamlin and Busch are fewer than 10 points to the good. Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex Jr. are all below the cutline and in need of several points.