CONCORD, N.C. – Sunday will mark the end of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. When the checkered flag is displayed at Phoenix Raceway, a champion will be crowned.
Following the Round of 8 cutoff race at Martinsville Speedway, Chase Elliott earned his third consecutive Championship 4 appearance and will look to earn his second Cup Series crown on Sunday. He will battle Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain and Joey Logano for the driver's championship.
While not in contention to win the driver championship, Kyle Larson’s win at Homestead-Miami Speedway secured the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team a berth in the owner’s Championship 4. Larson and the group enter Phoenix with back-to-back owner’s titles in mind. Also in the mix for the owner's title are the team's of Chastain (No. 1), Bell (No. 20) and Logano (No. 22). Should Larson secure the owner's title, it will mark just the third time in Cup Series history that the driver and owner's championships were split - with the previous two occurrences happening in 1954 and 1963.
Located in Avondale, Arizona, Phoenix’s premier racing facility sits just under an hour’s drive from the city itself. The track serves as a one-mile, low-banked oval with the famous dogleg straightaway and is currently the shortest track that has ever hosted a Cup Series championship. NASCAR’s premier tour has visited the facility every year since 1988 with the racing surface seeing several different configurations. The most recent change took place in 2018 and saw the start/finish line placed just before the dogleg and pit road extended to begin at the exit of turn two.
Last season’s championship event at Phoenix saw Kyle Larson earn his first career Cup Series title. Although he led 107 laps by the end of the race, a clutch pit stop under caution helped Larson jump from fourth to first for lap 289’s restart. The Elk Grove, California, native then pulled away from his competition to take the checkered flag and earn the 2021 Cup Series championship.
Elliott also entered Phoenix as a member of the Championship 4 in 2021. The No. 9 entry led 94 laps on the day, second only to Larson’s 107 circuits led. When the checkered flag took to the sky, Elliott was scored fifth and missed out on winning back-to-back championships. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native returns to Phoenix in 2022 as the only driver to make the Championship 4 in each season finale held at the one-mile track. In 2020, Elliott started from the rear and came back to led 153 laps en route to the championship.
William Byron spent the majority of 2021’s final race inside the top 10 before a late race caution came out while he was on pit road. Due to Phoenix’s uniquely long section of the pits, the No. 24 entry lost a lap to the leaders. After taking the wave-around and returning to the lead lap, Byron finished 17th.
Alex Bowman crossed the line in the 18th position in 2021’s final event. However, the Tucson, Arizona, native has had success at this home track in the past. While serving as a substitute driver for former Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016, Bowman took pole position and led 194 laps, finishing sixth in his home state.
Bowman returns to pilot the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend after missing five races due to a concussion sustained at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 25. The race will serve as the final event that he and crew chief Greg Ives will run together as Ives is set to retire from his role after Phoenix.
For Hendrick Motorsports’ championship contenders, Phoenix has served as a successful venue. While each accounting for a single victory, Elliott and Larson have combined for 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the 1-mile track since 2016.
As an organization, eight different drivers have accounted for 12 victories at Phoenix. Jimmie Johnson leads the team with four wins while Jeff Gordon accounts for two. Terry Labonte, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Earnhardt Jr., Elliott, and Larson have each won a single race for Hendrick Motorsports in the Arizona desert.
Here is what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.
WHAT TIME IS PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING?
Practice will begin at 8:05 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 4, run for 50 minutes and will be broadcast on USA Network. Group qualifying will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, and begin at 3:30 p.m. ET and can also be found on USA Network. Both sessions will also be on the NBC Sports App.
Bowman and Elliott are in Group A, while Larson and Byron will be part of Group B.
WHAT TIME IS THE RACE?
The 312-lap Cup Series main event is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 6, and will be broadcast on NBC and Peacock.
CAN I LISTEN ON THE RADIO?
The race will be on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
CAN I STREAM ONLINE?
FIVE FAST FACTS HEADING INTO PHOENIX
Data provided by Racing Insights
7: Bowman and Ives have won this many races while working together, putting them in a tie for fifth on the active driver/crew chief wins list.
9.33: Byron’s average finish in the 2022 Cup Series playoffs. The statistic is the second best of any driver in the field.
13: Victories earned by Larson since the start of 2021. This leads Elliott (who is in second place) by six wins.
54%: Since the start of the 1995 season, Hendrick Motorsports has won all of its Cup Series Championships. The team leads all organization with 14 titles.
546: Elliott's laps led at Phoenix in 13 starts. That is his second-most among active tracks