NASCAR: What the Championship 4 are saying ahead of Phoenix

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 03: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, speaks to the media during the NASCAR Championship 4 Media Day at Phoenix Raceway on November 03, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

On Sunday, NASCAR will crown their 2022 Cup Series champion at Phoenix Raceway. Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, and Christopher Bell will take to the track hoping to change their careers forever.

For Logano and Elliott, it’s a chance to become multiple-time champions. For Chastain and Bell, it’s their chance to win their first championship. Heading into Phoenix, all four Championship drivers spoke on Friday during NASCAR’s championship media day.

Christopher Bell

Bell has risen to the occasion this season in the NASCAR Cup Series, finding ways to win when his back has been against the wall. If not for what Ross Chastain did in Martinsville, Bell would likely be getting more attention for pulling out quality finishes in unlikely moments. However, Bell isn’t getting that attention, in fact, he might be getting the least amount of attention of the four drivers vying for the title on Sunday. But, Bell doesn’t seem to mind the lack of attention that is being paid to him.

“It’s just kind of the way it’s unfolded over my… I don’t really know how long. That’s fine by me. Maybe I’ll be the least famous Cup champion one day.”

Bell has never won at Phoenix, and that might be what he needs to do on Sunday if he wants to win the Championship. In five career starts at Phoenix, Bell has a pair of top-10 finishes. His average starting position at Phoenix is 9.6, but his average finishing position is 17th.

Joey Logano

Logano won his first NASCAR Cup Series championship back in 2018. On Sunday, he will be looking to win his second, something only 16 other drivers have done before. Although Chase Elliott has also won a championship, Logano is the veteran of this group heading into the weekend. At age 32, Logano’s career is by no means coming to an end, but he is also aware of the importance of capitalizing on his Championship opportunities.

“I feel like we’re in a great spot right now. I feel like our team is in a great spot for a lot of reasons. For one, we’re not happy to be here. We’re not just happy to be in the Championship 4. This isn’t enough for us. I’ve never felt more solid in this position than I do right now. With that said, I’m ready to go racing and get out there, because we feel prepared. We’re ready to go to battle.”

Logano has won at Phoenix before in his Cup Series career. In 27 career races, he has two wins and 15 top-10 finishes. Logano last won at Phoenix in 2020. Over his last seven races at Phoenix, he has not finished worse than 11th.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has been the talk of the NASCAR town since his last-lap maneuver at Martinsville. The move to get him into the Championship 4 has made him somewhat of an ultimate underdog this weekend. That being said, Chastain doesn’t appear to have any plans this weekend to replicate his Martinsville move.

“Why it worked, I don’t know, but I have no ideas, no plans to ever do that again because it was not pleasant.”

Chastain has never won at Phoenix, but he notched a second-place finish at the track back in April. If Chastain could replicate his strong run from earlier this season, he could see himself leaving the track on Sunday as a champion.

Chase Elliott

Elliott is viewed by many as the favorite to win what would be his second championship this weekend, despite not putting together the best playoff run thus far.

“Our Playoffs hasn’t been great but with this format, it really doesn’t matter now. If you’re part of the show, you’re part of the show. And if you have a shot this weekend, you have a shot to change the narrative and write the end of the story however you want.”

“We’ve seen this, you don’t have to dominate all day to win [the title] . … What Jimmie did in 2016 is a great example of not necessarily being the best car all day but when it came time to execute at the end of the day, put together some good restarts, some good pit stops and make it happen, they did.”

One of the things that Elliott should be confident about is his recent success at Phoenix Raceway. In 13 Cup Series starts, Elliott has one win and eight top-10 finishes. Elliott’s win came back in 2020. Earlier this season, he ran 11th in Phoenix, his worst finish at the track over his last five starts there.

Featured Image Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images