Penske’s Joey Logano claimed his second NASCAR title at the Phoenix Speedway after winning the final round of the 2022 playoffs.
The Connecticut native was in imperious form claiming pole position for the race and leading the most laps en route to securing his second title following his triumph in 2018.
Behind him, Logano’s Penske teammate Ryan Blaney finished second with fellow Championship 4 driver Ross Chastain in third. The Trackhouse driver had the quickest car during the final part of the race but ultimately ran out of time to mount a series threat.
The two other drivers in the Championship 4 had races to forget, with Christopher Bell suffering a disastrous 19.8-second pit stop, ultimately finishing 10th.
Chase Elliot meanwhile suffered a crash on lap 205, with the ensuing repairs dropping him two laps, with the 2020 champion limping home to a 28th-place finish.
Logano cities team effort as reason for win
The now two-time champion hailed his team’s efforts, stating that their focus throughout the year was solely on claiming the championship.
“We’re champions again—yes. Oh, my God, I’m so excited,” Logano stated following the race.
“Thank you to everybody, my team. You guys are amazing. Gave me a good race car, good pit stop there at the end, got us up in front. Boy, that was just intense there at the end.
“It’s all about championships. That’s what it’s all about, and we worked so hard the last couple weeks trying to put ourselves in position.”
Chastain accepts result
Unlike last weekend in Martinsville, there would be no dramatic end to the race for Chastain.
“I had a car fast enough to chase him down at the end,” Chastain added. “I think we did everything we could. That was a heck of a drive for us.”
Arguably NASCAR’s breakout star this year, the Trackhouse driver will surely have further opportunities to claim the title in the future.
Bell: The best car won the championship
Despite seeing his chances disappear due to a slow pit stop Joe Gibbs’ Bell refused to blame his team opting instead to praise his opponent Logano.
“We fought hard, and at the end of the race… (until) the last pit stop, or what we thought was going to be the last pit stop, we were right there battling for it,” Bell stated.
“I’m just proud to be in this position, proud to be at Joe Gibbs Racing and race this No. 20 car. We were there, and hopefully, we can come back here next year.
“The 22 (Logano) was lights-out all weekend. The best car definitely won the championship.”
Elliot stoic about result
The 2020 champion refused to point the finger at anyone for the incident that ultimately took him out the race.
The Hendrick Motorsport driver chose instead to focus on his stellar year, after claiming the regular season title.
“I thought we had a shot at it all the way up until we didn’t, and that’s unfortunately the way it goes sometimes,” Elliot told Motorsport.com
“We had five wins on the season, and we had — you tell me what the stats are. That’s how you would assess it, right? I know we won five races. That’s more than we did last year.”
The introduction of the Next Gen racecar has proved to be a resounding success for NASCAR. The 2022 season saw a joint record 19 different winners and excited fans with a series of thrilling races.
With Bell and Chastain now establishing themselves as potential title threats and with a street race in Chicago to look forward to, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship already looks an enticing prospect.
NASCAR Cup Series Championship Top 10 Results
|6||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsport||+4.494|
|7||Kyle Busch||Richard Childresss||+5.133|
|8||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs||+6.463|
|9||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsport||+7.011|
|10||Chrsitopher Bell||Joe Gibbs||+7.311|