The anticipation and intensity that has been building over the last 35 races of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season will culminate this Sunday (Nov. 6) in the Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Four drivers have earned their way into the series’ Championship 4 Round. Two are former Cup champions – Joey Logano (2018) and Chase Elliott (2020) – and the other two – Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain – are hoping to etch their name on the NASCAR Cup Series champions list for the first time.
It was announced in March of 2019 that the NASCAR Cup Series would be moving its Playoffs’ Championship Race from Homestead-Miami Speedway, where it had resided since the inception of the Playoffs in 2004, to Phoenix Raceway for the first time in 2020. Prior to the 2020 season, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs season finale for 16 seasons (from 2004-2019). Phoenix Raceway is just the second track to host the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race in the Playoffs.
2022 marks just the third year the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race will be held at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona (2020-2021). Since the inception of the Playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2004, Phoenix Raceway has occupied three different positions on the postseason schedule. In 2004, Phoenix Raceway hosted the eighth race in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. Then from 2005 – 2019 (15 seasons), Phoenix Raceway has hosted the penultimate race (ninth) in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
A total of 11 different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races at Phoenix Raceway. Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in Playoff race wins at Phoenix Raceway with four victories (2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014). Since hosting the series’ Championship Race, the winner of the race has also won the NASCAR Cup Series title – Chase Elliott won at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 8, 2020 and Kyle Larson won at Phoenix on Nov. 7, 2021.
|NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway Playoff Race Winners|
|Track||Playoff Race Winners||Date||Race No.|
|Phoenix||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Sunday, November 7, 2004||34|
|Phoenix||Kyle Busch||Sunday, November 13, 2005||35|
|Phoenix||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 12, 2006||35|
|Phoenix||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 11, 2007||35|
|Phoenix||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 9, 2008||35|
|Phoenix||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 15, 2009||35|
|Phoenix||Carl Edwards||Sunday, November 14, 2010||35|
|Phoenix||Kasey Kahne||Sunday, November 13, 2011||35|
|Phoenix||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 11, 2012||35|
|Phoenix||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 10, 2013||35|
|Phoenix||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 9, 2014||35|
|Phoenix||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Sunday, November 15, 2015||35|
|Phoenix||Joey Logano||Sunday, November 13, 2016||35|
|Phoenix||Matt Kenseth||Sunday, November 12, 2017||35|
|Phoenix||Kyle Busch||Sunday, November 11, 2018||35|
|Phoenix||Denny Hamlin||Sunday, November 10, 2019||35|
|Phoenix||Chase Elliott||Sunday, November 8, 2020||36|
|Phoenix||Kyle Larson||Sunday, November 7, 2021||36|
Four non-Playoff drivers have won a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway:
- In 2005, Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, and was ranked 19th in the point standings at the time of the win.
- In 2011, Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, and was ranked 14th in the point standings at the time of the win.
- In 2015, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, and was seventh in the point standings at the time of the win. Earnhardt Jr. had made the Playoffs in 2015 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.
- In 2017, Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway, then the ninth race on the postseason schedule, and was seventh in points at the time of the win. Kenseth had made the Playoffs in 2017 but was eliminated in the Round of 12.
The worst finish in a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Phoenix Raceway by a driver that went on to win the title that same season was 38th by Jimmie Johnson in 2016. Phoenix occupied the penultimate event of the season in 2016.
In total, Phoenix Raceway has hosted 52 NASCAR Cup Series races producing 26 different pole winners and 28 different race winners. The inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway was held on November 6, 1988 and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Alan Kulwicki.
Ryan Newman (2002, 2003, 2004, 2008) and Kyle Busch (2006, 2012, 2016, 2019) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Phoenix Raceway with four each. Of the 26 NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway pole winners, 10 are active this weekend.
|Active Phoenix Pole Winners||Poles||Seasons|
|Kyle Busch||4||2006, 2012, 2016, 2019|
|Ryan Blaney||3||2017, 2019, 2022|
|Kevin Harvick||2||2015, 2018|
|Martin Truex Jr||2||2009, 2018|
|Denny Hamlin||2||2005, 2014|
A total of 28 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Phoenix Raceway, and 13 of the 28 have won multiple times at 1-mile track. Eight of the 28 NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway winners are active this weekend, and two of the eight are Championship 4 contenders – Joey Logano and Chase Elliott. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Phoenix Raceway with nine victories.
|Active Phoenix Race Winners||Wins||Seasons|
|Kevin Harvick||9||2018, 2016, 2015, 2014 sweep, 2013, 2012, 2007 sweep|
|Kyle Busch||3||2019, 2018, 2005|
|Joey Logano||2||2020, 2016|
|Denny Hamlin||2||2019, 2012|
|Martin Truex Jr||1||2021|
All the NASCAR Cup Series on-track activity will start with practice on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. ET, and the Busch Light Pole Qualifying will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. ET and both can be viewed on the USA Network.
A deep dive into the NASCAR Cup Series season finale
When it comes time to win or go home, there is no bigger stage in NASCAR than the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Championship Race. Below is a look at the performances in the season finale during the Playoff Era (2004-2021).
A total of 13 different drivers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race during the Playoff Era (2004-2021). Greg Biffle leads the NASCAR Cup Series in Championship Race wins with three victories (2004, 2005, 2006 – all at Homestead-Miami Speedway). Denny Hamlin (2009, 2013) and Kyle Busch (2015, 2019) lead all active drivers in NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race wins with two each.
|NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race Winners|
|Track||Playoff Race Winners||Date|
|Homestead||Greg Biffle||Sunday, November 21, 2004|
|Homestead||Greg Biffle||Sunday, November 20, 2005|
|Homestead||Greg Biffle||Sunday, November 19, 2006|
|Homestead||Matt Kenseth||Sunday, November 18, 2007|
|Homestead||Carl Edwards||Sunday, November 16, 2008|
|Homestead||Denny Hamlin||Sunday, November 22, 2009|
|Homestead||Carl Edwards||Sunday, November 21, 2010|
|Homestead||Tony Stewart||Sunday, November 20, 2011|
|Homestead||Jeff Gordon||Sunday, November 18, 2012|
|Homestead||Denny Hamlin||Sunday, November 17, 2013|
|Homestead||Kevin Harvick||Sunday, November 16, 2014|
|Homestead||Kyle Busch||Sunday, November 22, 2015|
|Homestead||Jimmie Johnson||Sunday, November 20, 2016|
|Homestead||Martin Truex Jr||Sunday, November 19, 2017|
|Homestead||Joey Logano||Sunday, November 18, 2018|
|Homestead||Kyle Busch||Sunday, November 17, 2019|
|Phoenix||Chase Elliott||Sunday, November 8, 2020|
|Phoenix||Kyle Larson||Sunday, November 7, 2021|
Since the inception of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2004, the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series season finale race has won the championship nine times, including the last eight consecutive: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.
o In 2011, Tony Stewart won from the 15th starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and as a result secured his third-career NASCAR Cup Series championship in the closest points battle in series history – tied with Carl Edwards – Stewart won the title by virtue of the tiebreaker: most wins.
o In 2014, Kevin Harvick won from the fifth starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the first year of the elimination-style format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, as a result he won his first series title.
o In 2015, Kyle Busch won from the third starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the second year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, as a result he won his first series championship.
o In 2016, Jimmie Johnson won from the 14th starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the third year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he tied NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the series-most championships with seven each.
o In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won from the second starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the fourth year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship.
o In 2018, Joey Logano won from the fifth starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the fifth year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship.
o In 2019, Kyle Busch won from the fourth starting position at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the sixth year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he became just the second active driver at the time with multiple titles (20115, 2019) joining seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
o In 2020, Chase Elliott won from the first starting position at Phoenix Raceway in the seventh year of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship. Worth noting, Elliott was served a pre-race penalty and as a result of serving the penalty he actually started the race from back of the field and still won.
o In 2021, Kyle Larson won from the pole position at Phoenix Raceway in the eighth year of the elimination-style format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, and as a result he won his first series championship.
The worst finish in a championship race by the eventual series champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway was 15th (three times): Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012.
Two non-Playoff drivers have won the Homestead-Miami Speedway season finale Playoff race: Greg Biffle (2004 and 2006) and Denny Hamlin (2013).
By The Numbers: Phoenix Raceway & the Season Finale
0.10 – Since the advent of electronic scoring (1993), the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway is the Spring race of 2016 (March 13, 2016) when Kevin Harvick beat Carl Edwards to the line by 0.010 seconds – which is tied with Atlanta (3/12/2000), Daytona (2/21/2016), and Rockingham (2/22/2004) for the ninth closest finish in series history.
2 – Number of NASCAR Cup Series championship races Phoenix Raceway has hosted (2020, 2021).
2 – Number of 2022 Championship 4 drivers with a former win at Phoenix Raceway – Joey Logano and Chase Elliott.
4 – The fewest laps led by the race winner in a single NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway was four of the scheduled 378 laps (1.05%) by Ryan Newman on April 10, 2010 – he started from the 14th position.
4 – In total four different manufacturers have won at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Chevrolet with 25 victories and followed by Ford (18), Toyota (7) and Pontiac (2).
4 – Number of drivers that qualified for 2022 Championship 4 Round – Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott. This is Chastain and Bell’s first appearance in the Championship 4 Round.
7 – Number of former NASCAR Cup Series champions entered in this year’s season finale race at Phoenix:
|Active NASCAR Cup Series Drivers with Championships (1949 – 2021)|
|Rank||No. of Titles||Active Champions (7)||Years|
|1||2||Kyle Busch||2019, 2015|
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||2017|
7 – Number of wins from the pole or first starting position at Phoenix Raceway – most recent was Kyle Larson’s win in the Championship Race last season.
8 – Number of former NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix race winners entered in this weekend’s season finale.
9 – Number of times the winner of the NASCAR Cup Series championship season finale race has won the title during the Playoff Era (2004-Present); including the last eight consecutive seasons in the elimination-style format of the Playoffs – Tony Stewart, 2011; Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016; Martin Truex Jr., 2017; Joey Logano, 2018; Kyle Busch, 2019; Chase Elliott, 2020 and Kyle Larson, 2021 – Note: All the wins listed were at Homestead-Miami Speedway except for Elliott’s in 2020 and Larson’s in 2021 which were at Phoenix Raceway.
9 – The degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2 of Phoenix Raceway.
9 – Nine of the 52 NASCAR Cup Series races at Phoenix Raceway have ended with in Overtime (18%):
|Sunday, March 8, 2020||312||316||4||Joey Logano||Kevin Harvick|
|Sunday, March 19, 2017||312||314||2||Ryan Newman||Kyle Larson|
|Sunday, November 13, 2016||312||324||12||Joey Logano||Kyle Busch|
|Sunday, March 13, 2016||312||313||1||Kevin Harvick||Carl Edwards|
|Sunday, March 3, 2013||312||316||4||Carl Edwards||Jimmie Johnson|
|Sunday, November 11, 2012||312||319||7||Kevin Harvick||Denny Hamlin|
|Saturday, April 10, 2010||375||378||3||Ryan Newman||Jeff Gordon|
|Sunday, November 9, 2008||312||313||1||Jimmie Johnson||Kurt Busch|
|Sunday, November 7, 2004||312||315||3||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Ryan Newman|
11 – The degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4 of Phoenix Raceway.
12 – The most cautions in a single NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway; has happened twice – most recently March 8, 2020.
13 – The number of different organizations in the NASCAR Cup Series that have won at Phoenix Raceway, led by Hendrick Motorsports with 12 victories among seven drivers.
15 – The worst finish by the eventual series champion in the season finale race (at Homestead-Miami Speedway) – it has happened three times: Tony Stewart in 2005, Jimmie Johnson in 2008 and Brad Keselowski in 2012.
15 – The highest number of lap leaders in a single NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway (March 4, 2012). The Phoenix race earlier this season had six leaders.
18 – Total number of NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races held at Phoenix Raceway (2004-2020).
20 – The age of the youngest NASCAR Cup Series race winner at Phoenix Raceway: Kyle Busch (November 13, 2005 – 20 years, 6 months, 11 days).
26 – Number of different NASCAR Cup Series pole winners at Phoenix Raceway; led by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick with four each.
28 – Number of different NASCAR Cup Series winners at Phoenix Raceway; led by Kevin Harvick with nine victories.
28 – The greatest number of lead changes in a single race at Phoenix Raceway (Feb. 27, 2011). Earlier this season the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix produced 14 lead changes.
29 – The lowest starting position by a race winner at Phoenix Raceway (Ricky Rudd, 1995).
39 – Most NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway starts by a driver – Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick have 39 starts each.
50 – The age of the oldest NASCAR Cup Series race winner at Phoenix Raceway: Mark Martin (April 18, 2009 – 50 years, 3 months, 9 days).
52 – Total number of NASCAR Cup Series races held at Phoenix Raceway.
95 – Number of different drivers that have led at least one lap in the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway.
264 – The most laps led by the race winner in a single NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway was 264 of the scheduled 312 laps (84.6%) by Kevin Harvick on November 9, 2014 – he started from the third position.
312 – Number of laps scheduled for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway.
1,663 – The most laps led all-time by a driver (Kevin Harvick) in the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway.
Season Finale Title-Clinching Performances
Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will mark the conclusion of the 2022 season. Below is a look at how the last 12 NASCAR Cup Series season finales (2010-2021) have turned out:
2010 – Jimmie Johnson Tracks Down Denny Hamlin For Fifth Straight Title
Denny Hamlin held a comfortable 15-point lead on Jimmie Johnson for the championship heading into the season finale. However, Hamlin could not close out the title. Hamlin damaged his Toyota with an early-race spin and finished 14th as a result. Kevin Harvick, who was third in points entering the race, finished third. Johnson placed runner-up to take home his fifth consecutive championship.
2011 – Tony Stewart Wins Third Championship In Epic Race
Trailing leader Carl Edwards by three points entering the 2011 season finale, Tony Stewart virtually needed a win to capture the title – especially considering that Edwards ultimately finished runner-up in the race. Stewart drove to the front from the back of the field twice and edged out Edwards to get to Victory Lane. The pair finished the season tied in points, but Stewart held the tiebreaker over Edwards of most wins during the season (five to one). It was the first title for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
2012 – Brad Keselowski Fends Off Jimmie Johnson For First Championship
Brad Keselowski entered the 2012 season finale 20 points ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings. Keselowski, who won two Playoff races to help put himself in championship-clinching position, didn’t produce his best performance with a 15th-place showing at Homestead-Miami. But problems in the pits for Johnson caused the five-time champion to finish 36th and helped Keselowski secure his first championship, as well as the first title for Team Penske.
2013 – Jimmie Johnson Closes In On Earnhardt And Petty With Sixth Title
After building up his points lead on the strength of six wins, 16 top fives and 23 top 10s, Jimmie Johnson needed to finish 23rd to capture his sixth NASCAR Cup Series championship. Following an incident on a restart just shy of the 200-lap mark, Johnson ended up 23rd when it all sorted itself out. By the end of the race, he worked his way up to finish ninth, earning Hendrick Motorsports a record 11th championship.
2014 – Harvick Rides To Two ‘Do Or Die’ Victories To Earn First Series Title
Kevin Harvick started the penultimate race of the 2014 season needing a win to get into the Championship 4 race at Phoenix. He dominated the contest, leading 264 laps to earn the victory and a spot in the Championship 4. After playing mind games throughout Homestead week with the rest of the field, Harvick held off runner-up Ryan Newman to earn his first career NASCAR Cup Series title and the second for Stewart-Haas Racing.
2015 – Kyle Busch Overcomes Injury For Improbable Comeback
Just ninth months after breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot, Kyle Busch edged out defending champion Kevin Harvick for the Homestead race win and his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. Busch missed the first 11 races of the season after sustaining his injuries in a crash in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona. He came back to win five races in the NASCAR Cup Series that year and cement his name in NASCAR history.
2016 – Johnson Ties Series Record With Seventh Championship
Jimmie Johnson proved once again to not count him out in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. He won his way into the Round of 8 with a victory at Charlotte, then took the checkered flag at Martinsville to punch his ticket to Homestead. He provided a walk-off win at Homestead to capture his seventh championship, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the NASCAR Cup Series record.
2017 – Martin Truex Jr. Earns First Championship
Driving for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing, Truex turned a career-best season into a championship for the ages. His victory in the Homestead finale was a personal best eighth on the year. He led the final 34 laps and held off a hard charging Kyle Busch by .681-seconds to earn the trophy hoist. It was an emotional victory with team owner, Barney Visser recovering from a recent heart attack back in Denver and Truex’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex trackside after a year of major medical obstacles.
2018 – Joey Logano Wins First Championship
After qualifying for the Championship 4 in the Round of 8 opening race at Martinsville Speedway, the 28-year-old Logano headed to Homestead-Miami largely considered the “underdog” to 2018’s “Big 3” – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. The threesome (Busch, 9, Harvick, 8 and Truex, 4) won 21 of the first 35 races in 2018. However, the Team Penske driver grabbed his opportunity and took it to the Big 3, winning the season finale by a sizable 1.7-seconds over Truex, Harvick and Busch and taking his career first NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy – Team Penske’s second.
2019 – Kyle Busch grabs second title, fifth for JGR
After putting up four wins early in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season, Kyle Busch went winless for 21 races. He pointed his way into the Championship 4 but when his back was against the wall he answered and won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway passing Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and the holding off his hard charging Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. by 4.578-seconds to win his second championship. With the feat, Busch became just the second active multiple champion joining Jimmie Johnson (seven titles). The title was also the fifth for Joe Gibbs Racing – Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015 and 2019).
2020 – Chase Elliott comes from the rear to win first title at Phoenix
After putting up just two wins during the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, Chase Elliott stepped up his game in the Playoffs winning at the Charlotte Road Course to advance to the Round of 8 and then winning the penultimate race at Martinsville Speedway to earn his spot in the Championship 4 Round. Elliott and the No. 9 team would head to Phoenix for the season finale only to lose their first starting position to multiple pre-race inspection failures. But the setback didn’t hold Elliott down, instead it made even more hungry for the title. He methodically worked his way through the field taking the lead for the first time in the event on Lap 79 of 312. Elliott would go on to hold off a hard charging Brad Keselowski to win the race by 2.740-seconds. With the feat, Elliott became seventh active champion. The title was also a series leading 13th for Hendrick Motorsports.
2021 – Kyle Larson dominates Phoenix to win first Cup championship
Hendrick Motorsport’s Kyle Larson was dominant all season long putting up five wins and winning the Regular Season Championship. The California native entered the 2021 Playoffs as the No. 1 seed with 52 Playoffs points. Larson would then proceed to tie Tony Stewart’s Playoff record for the most wins in single NASCAR Cup Series postseason run with five victories, including the season finale race at Phoenix Raceway. Larson showed up to the Valley of the Sun as the odds favorite and he didn’t disappoint. Larson won the pole and then led a race-high 107 laps en route to the win and his first NASCAR Cup Series title. With the feat, Larson became eighth active champion at the time (prior to Kurt Busch stepping away from fulltime racing this season). The title was also a series leading 14th for Hendrick Motorsports.
2022 Champ 4 Contenders Thoughts Following Martinsville
Below are quotes from the four drivers and the team owners that have qualified for this season’s Championship 4 Round at Phoenix Raceway this weekend.
Joey Logano. …on his chances this weekend at Phoenix:
“Yeah, I feel great about our chances,” said Logano. “Honestly, I don’t really care who else is in. It’s about the No. 22 team winning a second title. That’s what it’s about. We just got to do our job and stay focused on us. Like I said, today we did what we needed to do to be prepared. We’ve had three weeks to think about our race car and how we want to play the race out, how we want to run practice. We’ve had the opportunity to really, really dive deep into Phoenix, so we’ll take that to our advantage and move on.”
Walter Czarnecki. … on winning the INDYCAR and NASCAR Cup Series title in same season:
“Yeah, thank you, that’s a great question,” said Czarnecki. “I was actually looking at some statistics earlier in the week, and since 1967, we have been multiple champions in seven years, seven seasons, and in three of those seasons, we won three championships. So, it was either an INDYCAR championship, NASCAR Xfinity owners’ championship, Australian Supercars championship, NASCAR Cup Series, but never, to your point, INDYCAR and Cup. It really would be something that — it would be one of our goals to do it, particularly this year, so you’re absolutely right.”
“We’ve been blessed with good teams all those year, been able to accomplish a lot, but still a little bit more to do, and as I said, this will be one of our goals, to win the Cup and win the INDYCAR in the same year.”
Christopher Bell. … on his mindset heading into Phoenix:
“Yeah, I mean, this next week (at Phoenix) is easy,” said Bell. “We don’t have to focus on stage points or where we’re at compared to everyone else. It’s just one race. Like Adam (Stevens) said, whoever brings the best car and executes the best is going to win the race and the championship. Whatever happens, happens, and I’m very proud to be in this position. The sport is all about people. Fortunately for me I ended up with the best people around me.”
Joe Gibbs. … on his outlook heading into this weekend at Phoenix:
“I think he’s (Christopher Bell) got one out of four chances to win that (laughing),” said Gibbs. “I think that’s probably what everybody is going to say. It is extremely tough. When you get to this point and you think about who’s sitting there, who he’s going to have to race against, those three other competitors from great organizations, I think it’s going to be extremely hard.”
“I think the way our Playoffs are designed, it does bring a lot of excitement to it, every three races, dropping out four cars. Now we’re down to just four. I think our fans love this format and the way it’s designed. It brings a lot of pressure into the situation, and I think we love — everybody loves to — one of the things we love with sports and one of the things we love about pro sports, it’s so hard. It’s the greatest reality show in the world. We don’t know. We’re going to go to Phoenix, and there’s going to be four great organizations, drivers competing with their crew chiefs and their teams and their pit crews. I think it’s going to be just a great weekend for us.”
Ross Chastain. … on his path to this point in his career:
“I needed time,” said Chastain. “Those team owners through Trucks, Xfinity and Cup that gave me the time, I owe so much to. That’s through the middle part of what I call my career here in NASCAR.”
“If you just go back two years, the fall Southern 500 at Darlington, I went there with Spire Motorsports. They bought sticker tires for the whole weekend. We had a podcast sponsoring us through T-shirts that we sold that didn’t even have my name on it. I got to go race the fall Darlington race in a Cup car to keep building my notebook. We won our race. We beat the car we wanted to beat that day. That was two years ago. We came back this year and we had chances to win both Darlington races last fall. In the 42 we had chances to win the Southern 500.”
“If you go back two calendar years, I was the guy five laps down, seven laps down, something like that. Those were good nights. Those were wins in our book. Those moments, those nights, and those races, those laps, are a big reason why I feel like I’m able to do what I can do now.”
Justin Marks. … on the organization after making the Championship 4 for the first time:
“Yeah, it’s just kind of — I want to say it’s business as usual,” said Marks. “Obviously, this is the pinnacle of the sport, and this is what everybody dreams of, the opportunity that everybody dreams of having.”
“What does it mean to be here? It’s incredibly humbling,” said Marks. “To be in this spot right now, I can’t help but be very reflective of my journey as a race fan and then as a driver and then as an owner. It’s very, very surreal and humbling to be in this spot, especially for Trackhouse to be competing with true legends of the sport this weekend in Phoenix chasing glory.”
“At the end of the day, I think the overwhelming emotion that I have is just how proud I am of everybody at this company, how much everybody is committed to this vision, believed that this was possible, and have worked every hour of every day since this place turned into Trackhouse Racing with the belief in that vision and chasing it.”
Chase Elliott. … on making the Championship 4 Round this season:
“Yeah, super mixed emotions,” said Elliott. “We made the drivers side and didn’t make the owners side. Just would have loved to have gotten the boss two cars in there. So certainly, excited from the driver standpoint, but would have loved to have gotten both those boxes checked. Unfortunately, didn’t.”
“But, yeah, looking forward to getting home and working through what we need to work through to get ready for Phoenix. Certainly, we’ll be ready to go the best we know how next Sunday.”
Rick Hendrick. … on the Next Gen car and the parity in the sport in 2022:
“Yeah, absolutely. The car has made it super competitive on any given day, anybody can win,” said Hendrick. “You’ve seen all these different winners this year. Nobody has really just dominated the sport. The parity is really unreal.”
“I think NASCAR got what they wanted. We’re all trying to figure it out a little bit better each and every week. But boy, you just look at the lead changes and how many people are up there running up front, and you always expect to see coach up there and Roger, and Trackhouse has done an unbelievable job.”
“And you look at other teams like Petty and I think Brad and his team, they’re going to be contenders next year.
So, I think it’s leveled the playing field, and it’s good for the sport. I think the fans love it.”
Chances a spoiler steals the show this weekend at Phoenix
Since the introduction of the “win and you’re in” elimination-style Playoff format, the eventual champion has won the season finale race (at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix Raceway) each of the eight previous years (Kevin Harvick, 2014; Kyle Busch, 2015; Jimmie Johnson, 2016; Martin Truex Jr., 2017; Joey Logano, 2018; Kyle Busch, 2019; Chase Elliott, 2020; Kyle Larson, 2021). Still, with Phoenix Raceway hosting the championship event, there is still a chance a driver out of championship contention can win the race.
The name that rises to the top of the list of possible spoilers this weekend, is NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway wins leader, Kevin Harvick, who has spent a career mastering the 1-mile raceway putting up nine series victories, including four Playoff wins. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Harvick, failed to make the Championship 4 this season, so, the Californian would like nothing more than to steal a win this weekend.
Expect Harvick to run well this weekend, as Phoenix Raceway is his best track. Harvick leads the series in wins (nine), top fives (18), top 10s (28) laps completed (12,154), laps led (1,663) and average finish (8.7) at the one-mile facility.
Another driver to watch this weekend, would be Kevin Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Chase Briscoe, who won at Phoenix Raceway earlier this season. The victory was Briscoe’s lone win this season, but the Indiana native put on quite the show to grab the win. He started from the sixth position and led second-most laps of the race at 101. Briscoe took the lead from Ryan Blaney with 24 laps to go, but a late caution nearly cost him the win as he had to hold off the field for one final restart to get the victory.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update – Team Penske’s Austin Cindric has mathematically clinched the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors but will not be officially awarded until he finishes the season in good standing, per the program guidelines and eligibility. Cindric is currently 304 points ahead of Anthony Alfredo in second.
|NCS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings|
Cindric’s rookie campaign kicked off by winning the prestigious DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway, and the following week at Auto Club Speedway he finished 12th and became ethe first rookie in series history to hold the points lead for more than one race. On top of all that he earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and advanced to the Round of 12. In 35 starts, Cindric collected one win, five top fives and nine top 10s. His average starting position in 2022 is 12.6 and his average finish is 16.4. He has led 86 laps and has won 22 Sunoco Rookie of the Race Awards.
Cup Manufacturers Championship – Chevrolet has clinched the NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturers Championship this season. The manufacturer mathematically clinched the title following the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Chevrolet currently has 19 wins on the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Nine different manufacturers have won the NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturers Championship. This is Chevrolet’s series leading 41st NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturers Championship,
|NCS Manufacturer Champions|
|OEM||No. of Manufacturers Championships||Most Recent|