staff picks: Our 2018 championship predictions

NASCAR will crown a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBC/NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) when the best field in Championship 4 history battles it out for the prestigious Monster Energy NASCAR Cup.

Who’s your pick: Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick or Martin Truex Jr.?

Members of the staff make their own predictions.

Zack Albert
Kevin Harvick.
Sure, the No. 4 team hasn’t quite shown the speed this weekend in practice or qualifying, but it’s difficult to sway a prediction from the team that’s been a cut above for the bulk of the season. There are no weak links in this Championship 4. Expect Harvick & Co. to find their way to a second crown after 400 miles.

Pat DeCola
Martin Truex Jr.
I think MTJ and Furniture Row Racing repeat on Sunday and ride off into the sunset with another championship. And based on how the No. 78 has looked leading into Sunday’s race, Truex might just have the car under him to do it.

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RJ Kraft
Joey Logano. The non-Big 3 driver is playing with house money. He has the best pit crew, and I believe this is going to come down to a late pit stop under caution and who gets off pit road the fastest. Three of the four Championship 4 races so far have seen cautions come with 15 laps (or less) to go, and Logano and his team are in a prime spot to atone for their 2014 mistake on pit road.

Jonathan Merryman
Martin Truex Jr. Adversity is the name of MTJ’s game, and driver, crew chief and team alike will be on their respective games for the final race of the year. He also has the best crew chief in the sport in Cole Pearn when it comes to starting the race during the day and ending during the night.

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Brad Norman
Kyle Busch. Let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Here’s the big-picture view: Kyle Busch is, arguably, the most talented driver in the garage. His No. 18 Toyota has been a bullet on 1.5-mile tracks this year, and the overall combination of crew chief Adam Stevens and the guys who go over the wall is best among the other Championship 4 drivers on Sunday. “Rowdy” wins his second Monster Energy Series title.

Jessica Ruffin
Martin Truex Jr.
The reigning Monster Energy Series champion came into Championship 4 weekend with a fast car, pacing opening practice and qualifying third Friday. Truex is one of the best at prevailing under pressure — he said that Kyle Busch was better than him on long runs in last year’s season finale, yet the No. 78 held off the No. 18 in the closing laps for the title — and the emotion of running a final race for Furniture Row Racing will be motivation, too.

Chase Wilhelm
Martin Truex Jr.
Although the dominance on 1.5-mile tracks hasn’t been there this season for Truex and the No. 78 team, you can throw all the stats out the window for this Championship 4 finale. In what will be Furniture Row Racing’s swan song, Truex Jr. and the gang will dig deep and defend their title.

George Winkler
Kevin Harvick.
He’s been the most dominant car all season and he has the best stats of the Championship 4 contenders at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Plus, he’s motivated to prove he can do this even without crew chief Rodney Childers and in spite of the recent penalty post-Texas.

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