The Latest: NASCAR says 'everything in play' as changes loom

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The Latest: NASCAR says 'everything in play' as changes loom
Martin Truex Jr. stands next to his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on NASCAR’s Cup Series championship (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

NASCAR believes it can weather its current decline and the best days for the sport are ahead.

To get there, NASCAR President Steve Phelps says “everything’s in play” as the sanctioning body tries to lead the sport out of its downturn.

Phelps held his first news conference as NASCAR’s president on Sunday just hours before the championship-deciding season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He said nothing is off limits in discussions for the 2020 schedule, which may include doubleheaders, midweek races, a tightened schedule, shorter races and even a potential shared event schedule with IndyCar.

Phelps reiterated the France family is optimistic about the future of NASCAR and that Jim France has been heavily involved since replacing nephew Brian as chairman and CEO in August.

Brian France was charged with drunken driving in August and has been on leave from his family business. Phelps replaced Brian France at the annual state-of-the-sport meeting with reporters and offered an optimistic outlook on the future of NASCAR.

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10:50 a.m.

NASCAR’s Cup Series champion will be decided Sunday when title contenders Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. take the green flag at the season finale.

The highest finisher among the four at Homestead-Miami Speedway will earn the trophy. The other 36 drivers in the 40-car field are likely to stay mostly out of the way.

Busch is the 2015 champion and has momentum from winning last week at Phoenix. He also has the most coveted pit stall thanks to a controversial decision Saturday.

Harvick is the 2014 champion and eked into the finale after getting stripped of a victory and an automatic berth two weeks ago at Texas because of an illegal part. Logano is seeking his first title after finishing as runner-up in 2016. Truex is the defending Cup Series champion whose Furniture Row Racing team is shutting down after the race.

Truex is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019, one of a number of series changes on the horizon.

The most notable: Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are parting ways after 17 years together. Sponsor Lowe’s also is leaving NASCAR.

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