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NASCAR Cup Series championship outlook: What each driver faces in Phoenix

The NASCAR Cup Series championship contenders know what they need to do Sunday to win the title at Phoenix Raceway.

They do not essentially must win — though each Cup champion for the reason that elimination format was instituted in 2014 has received the finale — as the highest finisher among the many 4 finalists is topped the champion.

With the parity and unpredictability of NASCAR’s new-for-this-season Next Gen automotive, drivers do not know precisely what to anticipate. They raced on the one-mile Phoenix observe in March in the fourth race of the 12 months. Now practically 9 months and 32 races later, they may vie for the championship.

Here’s the outlook for each of the championship drivers:

Joey Logano (fifth championship look): The Joe Gibbs Racing driver received the 2018 Cup title. He ran in the again half of the highest 10 for many of the Phoenix race in April earlier than ending eighth. A unusual be aware: Logano’s Champ 4 appearances got here in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022. Logano has two profession wins at Phoenix, with the newest in March 2020.

Logano says: “I really feel nice. We’re prepared. I really feel assured that we have been engaged on this factor the final three weeks. The pit stops have been our weak hyperlink however now it is not.”

NASCAR race highlights and end

Christopher Bell advances with win, Ross Chastain pulls off insane last transfer to advance to the Championship at Phoenix.

Chase Elliott (third championship look): Elliott received the title in 2020 in his first Champ 4 look, then was fourth final 12 months. The Hendrick Motorsports driver was third in the primary stage, second in the second stage however eleventh in the race after he spun with 10 laps to go. Elliott’s one victory at Phoenix got here when he received the 2020 championship.

Elliott says: “We have a shot at it. That’s a giant deal. … I really feel actually good. We’re able to go.”

Ross Chastain (first championship look): Maybe probably the most unlikely championship contender contemplating he had six complete nationwide sequence wins (4 in vehicles, two in Xfinity) earlier than this season. But the Trackhouse driver has two wins this 12 months and a formidable series-high 14 top-five finishes. He was second at Phoenix, which was his first top-10 end on the observe in eight begins. Chastain will take momentum from his unimaginable transfer simply to advance at Martinsville, the place he took a automotive that wasn’t nice and earned spots by actually using the wall to move 5 automobiles in the ultimate turns.

Chastain says: “I do not know what to consider it but. I’ve to digest this [from Martinsville]. … We should be somewhat higher subsequent week.”

Christopher Bell (first championship look): Bell is aware of the way to carry out in championship conditions, as he has received the final two elimination races — races he needed to win to advance. He completed two laps down in twenty sixth in April at Phoenix however began fourth earlier than his points. He additionally received throughout the summer time at New Hampshire, a observe just like Phoenix. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s greatest profession end at Phoenix is ninth.

Bell says: “I wasn’t nice. I used to be a Tenth-ish place automotive [at Phoenix]. … I do know that we have realized quite a bit from Phoenix and I imagine we could have a shot at it.”

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent many years masking motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene journal and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and join the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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