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Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway

Christopher Bell’s crew chief Adam Stevens talks about the victory in Martinsville, how the team has translated flashes of speed into victories in 2022, what’s next in the Championship 4 and more.

Championship Week is here.

Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Christopher Bell will race for the NASCAR Cup Series championship in Sunday’s 312-mile season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

The highest-finishing driver of the final four will win the Cup title.

As the championship is being decided, other drivers will be chasing other things -- an additional race win, a first seasonal win or a strong finish to the long season.

Drivers to watch (four in particular) Sunday at Phoenix:


Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Last three races: 4th at Martinsville, 2nd at Homestead, 2nd at Las Vegas
  • Past at Phoenix: Best career finish in eight starts is second. No laps led.

Chastain is the man of the moment in NASCAR. His last-lap charge to qualify for the Championship 4 lit a fire in the sport and has had fans and industry insiders talking all week. A championship would be the ideal finish to what has been a breakout season for Chastain.

Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 4th
  • Last three races: 10th at Martinsville, 12th at Homestead, 13th at Las Vegas
  • Past at Phoenix: One win, five straight finishes of 11th or better

The playoffs haven’t been kind to Elliott. In nine playoff races, he has two top fives and three top 10s, the lowest in those categories among the final four.

Christopher Bell

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Last three races: Won at Martinsville, 7th at Homestead, 5th at Las Vegas
  • Past at Phoenix: Best finish of 9th in five career starts. No laps led.

Bell has been the hero of the playoffs, scoring wins in two elimination races, including last weekend at Martinsville. A victory Sunday would complete a perfect trifecta.

Joey Logano

  • Points position: 1st
  • Last three races: 6th at Martinsville, 18th at Homestead, won at Las Vegas
  • Past at Phoenix: 2 career wins

Logano is the “old man” of the final four at 32, and he has won twice at Phoenix. He has led 425 laps in the past six races at the track.


Ryan Blaney

  • Points position: 8th
  • Last three races: 3rd at Martinsville, 17th at Homestead, 28th at Las Vegas
  • Past at Phoenix: Six top 10s in past seven starts

Blaney’s search for his first point win of the year makes its final stop. His third-place run at Martinsville ended a streak of three straight finishes of 17th or worse.

Kyle Busch

  • Points position: 14th
  • Last three races: 29th at Martinsville, 9th at Homestead, 3rd at Las Vegas
  • Past at Phoenix: 3 career wins

In what will be his final ride with Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch will be looking for his first victory since the spring race on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt. He hasn’t led a lap in the past five races at Phoenix.

Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 7th
  • Last three races: 2nd at Martinsville, won at Homestead, 35th at Las Vegas
  • Past at Phoenix: 1 career win

How will the defending Cup champion end what has been an odd season? He has won three times but was eliminated from the driver’s title in the Round of 12. However, the No. 5 car is in the owner’s championship and could win that title Sunday.

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