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Logano Dominates Phoenix On His Way To Second Title

Joey Logano and teammate Ryan Blaney made up the front row one-two and finished the race the same way. Ford dominated the race with the two drivers leading a combined 296 of the 312 laps. Logano led 187 laps, Blaney 109.

There was just one green flag lap that Logano was not in front of the other three title contenders. That is an incredible stat of a day made up of incredible stats for Ford with four of the top five positions going to Ford. Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer also led laps giving Ford a total of 310 laps led.

None of the other three championship hopefuls had much of a chance. Ross Chastain had a fast car at the end of the race but it was a 312 lap race, not 350. He ended the race in 3rd and was runner up to the title. Chase Elliott tangled with Chastain on a restart and that mistake sent him into the wall and put him two laps down trying to repair the damage. While it was essentially a racing incident with two drivers going for the same real estate, Elliott didn’t like the way he got raced and I am sure there will be some payback coming for Chastain in 2023. Christopher Bell had a terrible pit stop of nearly 20 seconds late in the race under caution and that pretty much ended his chance at a title. He finished the season in 3rd while Elliott is 4th.

Logano and his Penske team brought their A-Game when it mattered most and the rest of the contenders didn’t put all that much of a fight making it a bit of an anticlimactic finish to the season. The only real competition he had was Blaney even right to the end of the race. I am sure Blaney wanted to close out the season with a win but no way was he going to jeopardize Logano not gaining his second title.

This virtually assures Logano his place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and at only 32 years of age, he will probably be contending for titles for several more years.

The only other active driver with more than one title, Kyle Busch, ended his day in 7th and ended his career with Joe Gibbs Racing as he prepares to run a Chevrolet for RCR in 2023. He also announced his plan to move his truck team to Chevrolet as well.

Sadly, it was a very emotional day for JGR with the news that co-owner Coy Gibbs had passed away in his sleep after watching his son Ty win the Xfinity championship on Saturday. Our prayers go out to his family.

And lest we not forget, Zane Smith won the truck race and his first truck title giving him four wins on the year.

Alex Bowman made his return to the track after passing concussions protocols. I am sure he’ll be taking extra care of himself in the off season to further improve his health. The same is true of Tyler Reddick who removed himself from a prior race due to symptoms he was experiencing. Bubba Wallace also returned to the track after a one race suspension for deliberately wrecking Kyle Larson. All three drivers had a lackluster day at Phoenix.

And that is a wrap on the 2022 NASCAR season. Oh sure, there will be the awards ceremony but that can be a bit of a snooze fest.

I think we can expect some changes in 2023 to the new car that ran pretty well all season but certainly has some issues with fires and how stiff the car is in a wreck thus knocking drivers out with concussions.

I would not be surprised to see some rule changes to how the drivers race each other and potentially how they fight each other. A lot of these young drivers drive like they are still in the Xfinity or Truck series. They just don’t lift and there isn’t a lot of give and take on the track. They are still learning how the Cup drivers are expected to drive and in some cases, they may not care too much about that. They got to where they are driving the way they drive and while you and I may not like it, they get NASCAR a lot of press. I had people who have not seen a NASCAR race in over a decade contact me about Ross Chastain’s move at Martinsville. You can’t beat that kind of attention when the sport is struggling to maintain it fan base and keep sponsors for its teams.

That’s all for me, I hope you enjoyed the season and I thank you for reading my missives from time to time.  You can see those from 2022 and past years by clicking here.

Stay safe and keep the shiny side up.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images/NASCAR Media)

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