OBSERVATIONS: NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway

By: Ashley McCubbin

When you talk about a race for a championship, you look forward to seeing it come down to the wire with excitement. After watching the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series produce shows of that nature on Friday and Saturday, the NASCAR Cup Series was simply a letdown on Sunday.

Chase Elliott was a mid top-10 runner not part of the conversation within the top-five, until he found himself with damage that slowed his progress. Christopher Bell battled his way to just inside the top-five after a poor qualifying effort, but his pit crew ended any chance he could in challenging with a slow stop. Ross Chastain battled his way to the front, but was too far back throughout the duration of the event to threaten for the lead.

Joey Logano, on the other hand, proved why he was deserving of the crown with a dominating performance throughout the event. He led the most laps, and never dropped outside of the top-five except for green flag pit stops. With an advantage of anywhere from a half second to three seconds, the only person which came close to challenging was his own teammate Ryan Blaney.

For Logano, it was the perfect defining performance. After winning the Clash back in February and stating it was the beginning of a title journey, he backed up his words with domination. Combined with being the first driver to lock into the Championship 4, and you could say he played the playoffs to perfection.

The race proved to be boring, with the only excitement coming on the restarts in watching the field fan out. Once you put a couple green flag laps in the book, you might as well had a nap as track position and tire strategy was the only way to shuffle the running order.

With this event not being everything you hope for, everyone begins wondering whether the desert is truly the best host for the championship event. The Truck Series and Xfinity Series proved to put on good shows, and there is the memories of a great battle last season. So perhaps this is another case of once again, the new car just not living up to the rest.

Here’s to hoping things improve in many forms in 2023.

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