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NASCAR viewer’s guide for 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.

NASCAR will crown champions in the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series this weekend at Phoenix Raceway, marking the third consecutive year the Arizona track has hosted the final race of the season for each series.

All three car manufacturers are represented in the Cup Championship 4. Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott are in Chevrolets, Joey Logano in a Ford and Christopher Bell in a Toyota.

Of the final four, the driver who is highest in the finish order will win the Cup championship. The same format is used in Xfinity and Truck.

Sunday’s Cup finale is scheduled at 3 p.m. ET (NBC and Peacock). Countdown to Green airs at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock. Saturday’s Xfinity championship will be decided starting at 6 p.m. ET (USA Network). The Truck race is scheduled at 8 p.m. ET (FS1) Friday.

Who’s the champ?

So, who’s going to take home the big trophy from the desert?

A case can be made for all of the Championship 4 drivers in the Cup Series.

  • Christopher Bell has won two of the past four races and, more importantly, reached victory lane in two elimination races. He’s on a roll.
  • Chase Elliott already owns a championship and won at Phoenix in 2020, his championship season. He has the best seasonal average finish — 12.03 — of the Championship 4.
  • Joey Logano has more wins at Phoenix (two) than his rivals combined. He has led 721 laps at the track.
  • Ross Chastain reached the Championship 4 with a dramatic, mostly unbelievable last-lap run at Martinsville. He was runner-up in the Phoenix spring race.

Champions — they win

One of the more remarkable statistics relating to the Cup championship is that the champion has won the final race of the year every season since 2014.

Kevin Harvick started that streak, and Kyle Busch (2015), Jimmie Johnson (2016), Martin Truex Jr. (2017), Joey Logano (2018), Kyle Busch (2019), Chase Elliott (2020) and Kyle Larson (2021) have followed.

It isn’t necessary to win the final race to win the championship, but it seems to be a trend.

Some very big ‘ifs’

Taking a look at some facts if each member of the Championship 4 leaves Phoenix with the Cup title ...

  • IF Joey Logano wins, he will score his second championship and become the 17th driver with multiple Cup titles. He will become the first Cup driver to win two championships for Team Penske.
  • IF Christopher Bell wins, he will become the sixth driver to win the championship in his first appearance in the Championship 4. He will score the fourth Cup drivers championship for Toyota.
  • IF Ross Chastain wins, he will give Trackhouse Racing its first championship in only its second season. He will become the eighth different driver to win the title in the era of the knockout format (2014-22).
  • IF Chase Elliott wins, he will score his second Cup championship. He will become the fourth driver to win the championship and the regular season championship in the same year.

Entry lists

Thirty-six teams are entered for the season’s final Cup race.

Phoenix Cup entry list

Thirty-nine teams are entered for 38 spots in the Xfinity field. Included are Sammy Smith, Kaz Grala and Nick Sanchez.

Phoenix Xfinity entry list

Thirty-five teams are entered for Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race. Included are Johnny Sauter and Layne Riggs.

Phoenix Truck entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Thursday, Nov. 3

Forecast: Partly cloudy. High of 59 with a 24% chance of rain.

  • 8:05 - 8:55 p.m. -- Truck Series practice

Friday, Nov. 4

Forecast: Mainly sunny. High of 64 with a 5% chance of rain.

  • 6:05 - 6:55 p.m. -- Truck Series qualifying (FS1)
  • 7:05 - 7:55 p.m. -- Xfinity Series practice (USA Network)
  • 8:05 -8:55 p.m. -- Cup Series practice (USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10 p.m. -- Truck Series race (150 laps, 150 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, Nov. 5

Forecast: Sunny with a few clouds. High of 71 and a 1% chance of rain.

  • 2:30 - 3:20 p.m. -- Xfinity Series qualifying (NBC Sports App)
  • 3:35 - 4:50 p.m. -- Cup Series qualifying (USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 6 p.m. -- Xfinity Series race (200 laps, 200 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Nov. 6

Forecast: Sunny. High of 75 with a 3% chance of rain.

  • 3 p.m. -- Cup Series race (312 laps, 312 miles; NBC, Peacock, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Big Event Weekend[25]