Joey Logano is a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion.
Logano drove away from the field on the race’s final restart on Sunday at Phoenix to win the 2022 championship. Logano passed Chase Briscoe for the lead with 30 laps to go and held on to win over Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney as fellow title contender Ross Chastain finished third.
Logano and his team were undeniably the best all day at Phoenix. Logano led 188 of the race’s 312 laps and he was the top title-contending car for all but one of the race’s green-flag laps. No one outside of Blaney had anything for Logano. And Blaney wasn’t a part of the four drivers racing for the title.
“It’s all about championships, that’s what it’s all about,” Logano said after exiting his car.
As Chastain finished third, Christopher Bell was 10th and Chase Elliott was 28th and two laps down among the other title contenders. Elliott went spinning off Chastain’s bumper on a restart with 113 laps to go. Chastain got a run on Elliott and made a move to Elliott’s left. Elliott went down to defend the move as Chastain was just to his inside. Chastain didn’t lift off the gas and Elliott’s car went spinning into the inside wall.
It was the first wreck between drivers racing for the Cup Series title in the winner-take-all title race since the infamous restart crash involving Logano and Carl Edwards in 2016. Edwards abruptly retired after that race and hasn’t appeared in a NASCAR race since.
Chastain said after the race that Elliott made an "erratic" move to his left and said that he didn't want to race Elliott or anyone dirtily and intentionally wreck them.
"I feel like I had position on him and he tried to cover it late," Chastain said.
Elliott deflected when he was asked by NBC about what happened between himself and Chastain on the track and didn’t answer the question or address the incident.
Logano's win means that the Cup Series' streak of title winners winning the final race of the season continues. The driver who has won the Cup Series title has also won the race in every season of NASCAR's winner-take-all finale format.
Logano won Cup Series title in 2018
Logano joins Kyle Busch as the only active driver with multiple Cup Series championships. Logano won the 2018 Cup Series title when he beat Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. for the title at Homestead.
Logano headed into that season finale with two wins while the other three drivers in the final four had combined for 20. In 2022, he entered the race tied with Chastain as the betting underdog for the title. But his performance over the course of the season was much better relative to the other drivers he was racing against.
The 32-year-old entered the final race with the second-most points over the first 35 races of the season and tied with Bell with three wins on the season. Only Elliott had more with five.
Logano entered NASCAR in 2008 as a can’t miss phenom for Joe Gibbs Racing. He finished sixth in his first Xfinity Series start as an 18-year-old and won in his third start in the series. He then made three Cup Series starts as a teenager before he was thrust into a full-time ride at NASCAR’s top level in 2009 after Tony Stewart left the team to join what became Stewart-Haas Racing.
Immediate success was hard to come by. While Logano won a race via fuel mileage in his first Cup Series season, he didn’t finish inside the top 15 in the points standings in any of his first four seasons and his second win didn’t come until 2012.
That season was his last at Joe Gibbs Racing as the team moved to hire Matt Kenseth to pilot the No. 20 car. With Team Penske looking for a driver following AJ Allmendinger’s release, Logano was tabbed to join the team on the heels of Brad Keselowski’s title.
Logano flourished at Penske, even though it took until 2014 for things to really start humming. After winning at Michigan in 2013, Logano reeled off five wins in 2014 and made the final four in the first season of NASCAR’s winner-take-all title format.
Since then, Logano has won multiple races in six of the next eight seasons and has finished in the top eight in the points standings in all but one season at Team Penske. It’s undeniable that he has fulfilled the promise he showed as a teenage phenom and will certainly be a first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Fame selection.
1. Joey Logano
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Ross Chastain
4. Chase Briscoe
5. Kevin Harvick
6. William Byron
7. Kyle Busch
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Kyle Larson
10. Christopher Bell
11. Austin Cindric
12. AJ Allmendinger
13. Austin Dillon
14. Erik Jones
15. Martin Truex Jr.
16. Cole Custer
17. Daniel Hemric
18. Corey LaJoie
19. Harrison Burton
20. Aric Almirola
21. Chris Buescher
22. Bubba Wallace
23. Tyler Reddick
24. Daniel Suarez
25. Michael McDowell
26. Ty Dillon
27. Justin Haley
28. Chase Elliott
29. Todd Gilliland
30. Cody Ware
31. BJ McLeod
32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
33. Garrett Smithley
34. Alex Bowman
35. Brad Keselowski
36. Landon Cassill