NASCAR Cup Series

Joey Logano becomes two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion

4 Mins read
Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

2022 will be a year to remember for Roger Penske and his Team Penske operation. Two months after Will Power won the NTT IndyCar Series championship for the second time, Joey Logano became a twice NASCAR Cup Series champion.

Logano won the pole before he and team-mate Ryan Blaney dominated Sunday’s Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway; the duo led a combined 296 of 312 laps and split the first two stages. Although fellow Ford Chase Briscoe took the lead late, a caution for Michael McDowell spinning Alex Bowman prompted a final restart with thirty laps remaining that Logano won out.

The victory caps off a four-win campaign that began with Logano claiming the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum. It is Penske’s third Cup driver’s championship after Brad Keselowski in 2012 and Logano in 2018.

“We had a good car, and I told the guys, after we put it on the pit the other day: ‘We got them down; now we put our foot on them.’ That’s the attitude you’ve got to have,” Logano commented in his post-race press conference. “It’s just what it is when it comes to this level. Your feelings are checked at the door, and it’s all about winning and nothing less than that.

“When you get this far, I said it all week, we weren’t satisfied with being in the Championship Four. 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. I said that this was revenge for 2020. It certainly was. Something that’s going to stick with me for a while. […]

“I found out in 2018, I say it all the time. I found out in 2018 how big the team really is, and I carry that weight with me now, knowing how big it is and the impact it makes on their families.”

Ross Chastain, who wowed the sports world in his effort to make the Championship Round, finished third behind Logano and Blaney to record a runner-up points placement. Although he did not have another jaw-dropping wallride, he instead tangled with fellow Final Four racer Chase Elliott on lap 201: Elliott came down to block but was clipped by Chastain in the process, spinning him. Elliott did not retire as a result but finished twenty-eighth and two laps down.

Despite falling short, Chastain said he is “full of gratitude. I can’t believe how good I feel. I finished second in the Truck Series at points in 2019 and was crying pulling in the pits off the track and just got it together kind of and then just lost my mind that night, but then had Xfinity and Cup, and it kind of took my mind off it. Right now, I just am proud of what we’ve done, and I feel so good. Pulling in, there was just taking an audit on myself. There were no tears, no moment where I had to compose myself. It was just genuine good feeling from inside.

“I’m happy where I’m at. I’m happy with the group I have. I was excited to get out and see my family, see my mom, see my dad and brother and see the whole group we’ve got. This is just the beginning. If it all ends today, it’s fine. Really, if I can never race a car again, it’s okay. It was all worth it, and I’m genuinely happy.

“Believe me when I say it, it’s true, because there’s other times where it eats you up as a competitor. But for some reason, it’s not that I’m complacent in second, but I feel good.”

Assuming finishes remained the same, Elliott would have clinched the title under the season-long Latford points system used until 2003. His five victories led the Cup Series in 2022.

“I don’t really care about 2023 right now. We had five wins on the season, and we had—you tell me what the stats are,” said Elliott. “That’s how you would assess it, right? I know we won five races. That’s more than we did last year. But do not tell me what the countdown clock is because I don’t want to know.”

Christopher Bell had a tumultuous day, having had to race with a heavy heart in the memory of Joe Gibbs Racing co-owner Coy Gibbs. A late pit stop error in which a tyre changer’s finger got caught between the lug nut and the spindle ultimately dropped him out of contention, though he was able to salvage a tenth-place finish.

“You wake up first thing this morning and super excited and thrilled with life and where you’re at and the opportunity given to you. To receive news like that a couple hours before you get in the car is extremely tough,” Bell stated. “Just really kind of puts it in perspective that what we’re doing here is not the big picture for sure. Yeah, just thinking of Joe. I just can’t imagine what Joe is going through and the entire Gibbs family. That’s the important piece.”

Coy’s son Ty, who won the Xfinity Series championship on Saturday hours before his passing, withdrew from the Cup race following the news. Daniel Hemric finished seventeenth in his place. Kyle Busch ended his decorated tenure at JGR with a run of seventh.

Race results

1122Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord312Running
2212Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord312Running
3251Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet312Running
4314Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord312Running
574Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord312Running
6824William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet312Running
72218Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota312Running
82111Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota312Running
945Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet312Running
101720Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota312Running
11142Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord312Running
121616A.J. Allmendinger*Kaulig RacingChevrolet312Running
13153Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet312Running
143043Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet312Running
151219Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota312Running
16941Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord312Running
171023Daniel Hemric*23XI RacingToyota312Running
18277Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet312Running
19621Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord312Running
201310Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord312Running
211917Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord312Running
222345Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota311Running
23118Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet311Running
242899Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet311Running
252034Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord311Running
263242Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet311Running
272631Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet311Running
2859Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet310Running
293138Todd Gilliland †Front Row MotorsportsFord309Running
303451Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord308Running
313378B.J. McLeod*Live Fast MotorsportsFord307Running
322947Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet307Running
333515Garrett Smithley*Rick Ware RacingFord304Running
342448Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet304Running
35186Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord270Electrical
363677Landon Cassill*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet84Accident
Bold – Champion
Underline – Championship Round driver
Italics – Rookie of the Year
† – Competed for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
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