After nine wild playoff races, the Championship Four field is finally set. Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, and Ross Chastain will all race for a championship next Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.
With Logano already locked into the championship round by winning at Las Vegas, the seven remaining playoff drivers were battling for the final three spots today at Martinsville. The look of the race changed several times throughout the afternoon, with Denny Hamlin dominating the second stage, leading every single lap.
Chase Briscoe held the lead in the closing laps and it appeared as though he might sneak his way into the title race. Bell was able to get by him at the end, and Ryan Blaney came up just a couple of spots short. Hamlin, Blaney, Briscoe, and William Byron were all eliminated today at Martinsville.
|2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Standings (After Race 9 of 10)|
|1||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford|
|2||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|3||Ross Chastain||TrackHouse Racing||Chevrolet|
|4||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
This is the fifth championship appearance for Logano, who won his only title in 2018. He has finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th – all of which came in even-numbered years (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020). The veteran driver will be trying to put a bow on this season for Roger Penske after teammate Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500 and Will Power won the IndyCar Championship.
Elliott is the only other champion in the field, as he and Logano will try to join Kyle Busch as the only active drivers with multiple titles. Bell and Chastain will certainly be the underdogs next weekend, but Bell has already shown twice that he can answer the call when his back is against the wall. Chastain is willing to do whatever it takes, as demonstrated by his insane maneuver on the final lap at Martinsville.
Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Trackhouse Racing will all have a shot at the championship next Sunday at Phoenix.