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Team owner Joe Gibbs, left, speaks after being given the Bill France Award of Excellence at the NASCAR Cup Series Awards on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Joe Gibbs honored with NASCAR’s award of excellence

- Associated Press

Joe Gibbs was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence, capping a year in which he was elected to NASCAR’s Hall of Fame, won his fifth Cup championship as a car owner and thoroughly dominated the competition.

In this Nov. 17, 2013, file photo, Jimmie Johnson, center, his wife, Chandra, and his daughter, Genevieve, celebrate after he won his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, in Homestead, Fla. Jimmie Johnson is the latest NASCAR superstar to climb out of his car, with the seven-time champion announcing Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, that 2020 will be his final season of full-time racing. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File) **FILE**

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to retire after 2020

- Associated Press

The 44-year-old Johnson joins an exodus of popular drivers that began when Gordon retired after the 2015 season. Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Danica Patrick and Jamie McMurray are among those who followed Gordon out the door.

Martin Truex Jr. celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Truex wins at Martinsville to earn spot in championship race

- Associated Press

Truex earned a spot in NASCAR’s championship race for the third consecutive year by leading 464 of the 500 laps. He’s the first driver to claim one of the four spots in the Nov. 17 title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway while leading the most laps in a win since Kyle Petty led 484 laps in 1992 at Rockingham.

Denny Hamlin picked up his fifth win of the season with a NASCAR Cup Series elimination race victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Hamlin wins chaotic NASCAR playoff elimination race as Elliott advances

- Associated Press

Hamlin roared away with a push from behind from teammate Kyle Busch on the second shot at a green-white-checkered finish, and Elliott was unable to chase him down. But deep in the field, Brad Keselowski was going backward, and the spots he lost in the elimination race at Kansas Speedway were enough to send Elliott through in the final cut-off spot to the round of eight. Hamlin won the race. Elliott felt almost as if he did.

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Kyle Busch prepares for a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens) **FILE**

Kyle Busch criticism highlights NASCAR's financial disparity

- Associated Press

The massive divide between NASCAR's heavyweights and the underdog teams just scraping by received renewed attention following Kyle Busch's damning assessment of how backmarkers raced in the playoff opener over the weekend.

Kevin Harvick crosses the finish line to win a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Harvick wins NASCAR Cup race at Michigan

- Associated Press

Harvick raced to the 47th NASCAR Cup victory of his career and his second in less than a month Sunday, pulling away from the pack to win at Michigan International Speedway for the second straight year.