2022 NASCAR Preview: Week 36 – Phoenix

One race to rule them all!

We’ve arrived at the final race of the season, and my goodness, if you missed Martinsville…you missed a lot. Ross Chastain pulled off an unbelievable move to make his way into the Playoffs, and Christopher Bell — again — pulls out a walk-off Win to advance. Incredible happenings. Who doesn’t love sports?

Here’s what to look for:

Joey Logano has the Pole for today, looking to grab another Championship trophy for his case. He’s done it before, and today he doesn’t even need to pass anyone. Heck, he doesn’t even need to Win. Just finish better than the other three Championship drivers (which he’s already doing) and he’s got another one for Ford.

Chase Elliott will roll off 5th, the favorite to win the Championship…at least he was until Logano got the Pole. He’s not that far back, of course, Row 3 isn’t exactly deep in the field. He won the 2020 race at Martinsville and then the 2020 Championship race at Phoenix. Not that long ago, does he remember the way?

Christopher Bell had that aforementioned “walk-off” at Martinsville, the second “go or go home” race that he had to win this season. Welp, he’s come to another one. The sole Toyota representative in this Championship race, who would’ve thought “Christopher Bell” when asked the question “which Joe Gibbs Racing driver will be in the Championship race?” Denny Hamlin was eliminated by Ross Chastain last week, Kyle Busch was bumped a few weeks ago, and Martin Truex Jr. missed the cut by three points back in Week 26. Here we are, and Bell has a chance. Do you think he can do it?

Ross Chastain gained a lot of fans with an INCREDIBLE come from behind “haul the wall” finish at Martinsville, a move being referred to as the “Hail Melon,” a reference to the “Hail Mary” play in football and Ross Chastain’s affinity for watermelon. He’s got an opportunity to gain some more fans today, starting 25th and he’s got a lot of work to do to get up there. Row 13 is where Chastain will disembark from; doesn’t matter how the rest of the race goes, Chastain just has to be out front at “the end.”

Kevin Harvick isn’t in the hunt, but did you know that he’s got ten Top 10s in the last ten races? True story. That comes with an average finish of 5.4 (for those scoring at home), and I’m sure everyone [but the detractors] wants Harvick to be a little more Happy in ’23.

Coverage of the race starts on NBC at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:37pm.

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