The year 2022 saw NASCAR introduce what was known as the Next Gen car to improve the spectacle, lower costs, and attract new manufacturers to the series.
The move for the most part has been a rounding success, with the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season tying the record for the season with the most different winners in a single year. With one race to go the 2022 season has witnessed 19 different winners out of the 35 races contested so far.
For context the last this happened was in 2001, meaning that the new generation of cars has largely promised what they offered at the start of the year.
With one race to go, the record might yet be broken, though all eyes will be on four drivers as the season concludes at the Phoenix Raceway for aptly named NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
The playoff format
While most racing championship reward consistency, the introduction of the playoff system in 2004, has meant NASCAR is one of the few championships on the planet where drivers are incentivized to go for the win.
The system was introduced in 2004, after former champion, Matt Kenseth took the 2003 title after claiming just one win, though the higher-ups at NASCAR have explicitly stated that the introduction of the new format was geared towards improving the spectacle for fans.
Irrespective of the motivations behind that decision, it has largely yielded a net-positive impact on the NASCAR community, with Ross Chastain’s recent maneuver at the Martinsville Speedway the best example of the risk drivers are willing to take to make the finals.
Who are the final four drivers?
Following a grueling six races, the final four drivers in contention for the 2022 title are Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliot, and the aforementioned Chastain, who made it by the skin of his teeth.
The interesting thing about the finale is that the four drivers vying for the prize do not necessarily have to win the race, they just need to ensure they finish ahead of the other three challengers.
This means, that the season could have its 20th unique winner despite not affecting the outcome of the title fight itself.
Where is the race taking place?
The race will take place at the Phoenix Raceway, which has hosted the finale ever since 2020.
The circuit is a one-mile tri-oval located in Avondale, Arizona, and will feature 312 laps of racing.
Last year’s race saw Kyle Larson claim the win along with his first NASCAR title beating fellow playoff contenders Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin who finished second and third respectively.
What time does the race start?
The race at Phonix will be flagged off on November 6 at 12:30 local time or 15:30 Eastern time. Fans from the U.K. can tune in at 19:30 GMT, while fans in Australia will be able to tune into the action at 6:30 on November 7.
Where can I watch the race?
Fans in the US will be able to tune into the action on NBC or streaming services such as Peacock, YouTube TV, Hulu, Fubo TV, and AT&T TV Now.
Those tuning in from the U.K. can catch the action live using the Premier Sports streaming service, while those in Australia can watch the race on Foxtel.