Joey Logano ensured that he would be racing for the Championship in Phoenix with room for three more drivers. Today is another chance for a Playoff contender to “get there,” and next week at Martinsville is the final opportunity. This was a great thing for Joey Logano, but all of that was overshadowed by Bubba Wallace retaliating on Kyle Larson — getting himself suspended for this week and catching Playoff competitor and Toyota teammate Christopher Bell up in the chaos. Today, things promise to be a little calmer…or will they be?
Here’s what to look for:
–William Byron is our Polesitter today, and what a time for that to come. He started out 2022 on fire, but cooled for a bit, but still alive in the Playoffs. Wouldn’t you know that he won this race last Spring? Yep, true story! Starting 1st at the track that you were the previous winner for? Can’t beat it.
–Denny Hamlin has more points than any other driver over the last ten races here and has two Wins to go with it. Awesome numbers for him, a 9.4 average finish as well. Hamlin has a lot on his desk this week as an owner; can he push all of that aside and come through today as a driver?
–Kevin Harvick has a 6.6 average finish here in the last ten races, but he’s been way off most of this season. Happy appears to be Over the Hill in his NASCAR career and we don’t know how many more years he’s got in him. Kurt Busch announced he’d be stepping back from full-time competition for 2023; could Harvick be long behind?
–Tyler Reddick sports a 3.0 average finish in two starts, but it really looked like he was going to bag his first career Win back in 2021 at this race. He’s out of the Playoffs, but answered right back with a win a few weeks ago. Could Reddick tack another on today?
–John Hunter Nemechek fills in for Bubba Wallace in the #45…and came right out of the gate in Practice and Qualifying and will start 4th today! What an awesome return to the Cup Series — however temporary — and throw his hat right into the mix. We’ve seen drivers fill in and get victories (Jamie McMurray subbing for Sterling Marlin comes to mind); could Nemechek play ultimate spoiler in the Playoff picture today, a guy who doesn’t even go here? We shall see!
Coverage of the race starts on NBC at 2:30pm, green flag scheduled for 2:43pm.