Since the season began at Daytona in February, Joey Logano was been adamant that his Team Penske crew was the team to beat, when it came to the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
In hindsight, Logano was pretty much spot-on, and even though they didn’t dominate the entire season, they did dominate the season-finale at Phoenix Raceway, which allowed the 32-year-old to secure his second NASCAR Cup Series title.
Leading 187 of the race’s 312 laps, Logano was the quickest car throughout the entire race, but furthermore, Logano only relinquished the lead of the championship battle for one green-flag lap, when Chase Elliott passed him on a one-lap green-flag run on Lap 199.
Granted, there were a couple of times when it looked like Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, and Chase Elliott had a chance to take the fight to Logano, but in the end, various circumstances kept each contender from successfully doing so.
Elliott, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion, was in the thick of the battle with Logano at the start of the race’s final stage, until getting turned around on a restart, when Ross Chastain made a move to the inside, clipping the No. 9.
As for Bell, it looked as though the stars were going to align in the midst of tragedy for Joe Gibbs Racing, until a horrendous pit stop sent the team from eighth to 16th. Bell, racing in honor of Coy Gibbs, who passed away early Sunday morning, was only able to rebound to 10th.
In terms of a title battle, that just left Ross Chastain and Joey Logano, who both restarted inside the top-10 on the final restart of the event. Although Chastain would stick with Logano early in the run, the Team Penske driver established a gap of two-plus seconds.
However, as the laps wound down, and the end of the race drew closer, Chastain had the quicker car, but was only able to close the gap down to 1.3 seconds when the checkered flag flew, sending the Trackhouse Racing team back to North Carolina with a runner-up finish in points.
Ryan Blaney, who was desperately searching for his first victory of the season, finished in second place, while Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, and Kevin Harvick completed the top five.
William Byron ended his season with a solid sixth-place result, while Kyle Busch’s tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing, albeit marred with the day’s sad news, finished with a seventh-place result. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and Christopher Bell completed the top-10.
After the spin, and a massive effort by his Hendrick Motorsports team to try and limit the damage in terms of the championship fight, Chase Elliott brought his wounded car home in 28th, two laps down.
With the checkered flag displayed on the season-finale at Phoenix, one of the NASCAR Cup Series’ best and most parity-filled seasons has come to a close, finishing with Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five in points.
William Byron, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-10 in point standings.