How 2022 ended: About as well as it could. Logano landed his second NASCAR Cup Series championship with a dominant performance in the finale at Phoenix. The 32-year-old driver won twice in the regular season to firm up his playoff stature, then methodically advanced through the postseason. A berth in the Championship 4 final was his after a clutch victory in the Round of 8 opener at Las Vegas. His fourth win of the year sealed the deal, making him only the second active driver with multiple Cup titles, joining Kyle Busch.
Driver: Joey Logano, from Middletown, CT
Car: No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang
Crew chief: Paul Wolfe
Final 2022 ranking: 1st
Key stats: 4 wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s, 784 laps led
Best race: Cup Series Championship. With an honorable mention for his victory from the pole on NASCAR Throwback Weekend at Darlington (107 of 293 laps led), Logano saved one of his best performances for last at Phoenix Raceway. Logano brimmed with confidence all week leading up to the final event, not shying from pronouncing himself as the pre-race favorite. He and his No. 22 team backed up the chatter, claiming the pole in qualifying and executing all the way to the end, leading 187 of the 312 laps.
Other season highlights: Logano started the season off with a historic first, holding off Kyle Busch for victory in the first Busch Light Clash exhibition held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The triumph was not only the first of its kind at the prestigious venue, but also marked the competitive debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen car. He capped the weekend with his wife, Brittany, as they welcomed the family’s third child, announcing the birth of Emilia Love Logano on the following Tuesday.
Stat to know: Logano’s title-clinching performance was part of his fifth Championship 4 appearance, and all have come in even-numbered years (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022). The Phoenix weekend also kept a streak alive — in the nine seasons since the advent of the Cup Series elimination-style playoff format, the champion has also been the season-ending race winner each time.
Quotable: “When you get this far, I said it all week, we weren’t satisfied with being in the Championship 4. There was nothing to celebrate for us. We’ve been here before. We know what it feels like to lose. It’s the worst feeling in the world if I’m being honest, and winning is the best feeling in the world. It’s great to be able to accomplish it.”
Looking ahead: Falling under the heading of “why mess with success,” the No. 22 Team Penske bunch has announced no major changes ahead of the 2023 season. The organization announced in August that it had signed Logano to a long-term contract extension. Veteran crew chief Paul Wolfe will return to the No. 22 pit box but said he is entering the final year of his contract with Team Penske. The immediate challenge ahead for the group is going back-to-back, a feat that hasn’t happened in the elimination playoff era and not since Jimmie Johnson completed his historic run of five consecutive Cup Series titles from 2006-2010