Four Drivers, One Race and the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix

Phoenix Raceway
Phoenix Raceway (Photo credit: YouTube)

It has all come down to this. One race and four drivers to determine the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway.

Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott will start the Championship Race knowing, if they can cross the finish line before the other three, they win the title. Of course, unlike other sports, the Championship Four will also have to compete with the other NASCAR Cup Series teams during the race. This is the only sport where a team not eligible for the championship can affect who does win the championship.

To begin with, let’s take a look at what all the teams will be dealing with at the track and in the race.

Phoenix Raceway Data:
Track Size: 1-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 9 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 11 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 3 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 9 degrees

Championship Race Data:
Season Race #: 36 of 36 (11-06-22)
Playoff Race #: 10 of 10
Race Length: 312 laps / 500 Kilometers / 312 Miles
Stage 1 Length: 60 laps
Stage 2 Length: 125 laps
Final Stage Length: 127 laps

Here is the data on the Championship Four at Phoenix Raceway in their Cup Series careers.

RankDriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage FinishDriver Rating
1Joey Logano2712715413.194.7
2Christopher Bell50002017.076.1
3Ross Chastain80011020.557.7
4Chase Elliott131158110.7109.9
* – Based on last 34 races at Phoenix Raceway (2005 – 2022).

Since the inception of the “four rounds” in the NASCAR Playoffs in 2014, the driver that has won the championship has won the Championship Race at the end of the year. However, there are plenty of drivers that cannot win the championship that could win the race.

Denny Hamlin is one of them. He missed making the Championship Four by a bumper last week when Ross Chastain pulled off an unbelievable “video game” move to beat him to the finish line at Martinsville.

Kevin Harvick is another. He has the all-time most wins at Phoenix at nine trips to Victory Lane.

Martin Truex Jr. got his first and only win at Phoenix in the spring of 2021. He has yet to win a race this season. He will be hungry to not get shut out for the season.

Kyle Busch will be leaving his long-time home at Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) after this final race of the year. He has won three times at Phoenix. After being eliminated from the Playoffs, he will likely be trying very hard to give JGR one more win for the #18 Toyota with him as the driver.

Of course, all the other non-playoff drivers will want to play spoiler to the Championship Four by winning the race as well.

Then there are the Championship Four. Joey Logano and Chase Elliott are previous Cup Series Champions. They will want to add to their careers with another title to help lift their names in the history of the sport.

Christopher Bell has delivered in “must win” situations in the last two rounds of the Playoffs. He won to advance to the Round of Eight. Last week he won to advance to the Championship Four. Will he be able to win to advance to the Championship title?

Ross Chastain is the “wild card” in the Championship Race. He is fast. He is aggressive. He will do whatever it takes as we saw last week. If he is close at the end, what will he be willing to do to claim the championship?

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Champion will be determined win the green flag waives Sunday, November 6th starting at 2 p.m. central time (3 p.m. eastern time) at Phoenix Raceway.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens