Just like it started, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Season ended with the 22 Shell Pennzoil Mustang of Joey Logano in victory lane.
The 32 year old, once known as “Sliced Bread” and now going by the moniker “Smokin’ Joe,” (Please don’t fire me Madelyn I’m not the nickname guy) dominated to get the victory. He only had to beat Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell and Chase Elliott to do it, but he went ahead and beat the whole field instead.
Logano was the class of the field, that is himself and teammate Ryan Blaney who finished second. Joey ties Kyle Busch with two championships, the most among active drivers and becomes the first driver to win two championships with Ford since 1969 when David Pearson did it.
The championship race at Phoenix was a little disappointing though, as I said, Logano kind of ran away with it, facing no real challenge from his fellow competitors.
Chase Elliott seemed to be the closest, as he was the only Championship Four contender to be ahead of Logano at any point during the day. That was short lived though, as the 9 NAPA Chevrolet spun off the nose of Ross Chastain’s on a restart and went flying into the wall. The car wasn’t beat up too badly, but some of the suspension was bent up and he was unable to get back in the fight. He finished 28th, and for the second straight season, last of the Championship Four.
Christopher Bell’s day was one of peaks and valleys as well. The 27 year old Joe Gibbs Racing driver was carrying the organization on his back in light of the passing of Coy Gibbs today. Bell felt like the worst performing championship driver of the race at times, but what really did his hopes in was a bad circumstance during the final pit stop that saw one of his crew members get their hand stuck in the wheel and get hurt. Bell would finish in the top-10 and looks poised to break out even further in 2023.
Ross Chastain ran out of laps to try and catch Joey Logano at the end. After an eventful day, which saw of course the Elliott incident and a mad dash to save fuel after stage two, Chastain finally had the car to compete with Logano at the end, but it was too little too late. The “Melon Man” didn’t have a trick left in his bag to pull and he finished third and watched helplessly as the 22 got away.
Congratulations to Joey Logano on an amazing 2022 season. Daytona is just over three months away folks, and I hope to see y’all there. Just a shame we gotta watch things on Fox again.
Photo credit to Pat Vallely. Really hope that streak of Logano wins and your presence ends next season!