By Ben White
During the inaugural season for NASCAR’s Next Gen race car, Connecticut native Joey Logano accumulated four wins and 17 top-10 finishes as the Team Penske driver claimed his second NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Logano began the season by winning the inaugural Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Even though it was a non-points exhibition race, he and crew chief Paul Wolfe hoped visiting Victory Lane at the historic sports venue would set the stage for a strong season throughout the 36-race schedule.
However, the early months seemed long and hard.
Logano had only five top-10 finishes in the first 11 races before winning at Darlington Raceway, which moved him from ninth to fourth in points. A win at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, two weeks later over Kyle and Kurt Busch further helped his title efforts.
A string of not so desirable finishes during the next six weeks, highlighted by only one top-10 result at Nashville, was beginning to spell doom for Logano and his No. 22 team. Then, there was a sixth at Indianapolis, a fourth at Michigan, a sixth at Richmond and a third at Watkins Glen that bolstered their championship cause.
The seven races that followed more resembled a roller-coaster ride of top-5 finishes and results outside the top 15, the worst being 27th-place showings at Bristol and Talladega.
A victory at Las Vegas put Logano in the Championship 4 alongside Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott. Logano’s victory at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6 after starting from the pole marked his second championship with iconic team owner Roger Penske.
Bell finished second in the final standings, followed by Chastain and Elliott.
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Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, logged five wins and 20 top-10 finishes during the 36-race schedule. On a restart with 113 laps remaining in the Championship Race, Ross Chastain made a move to Elliott’s left. Elliott went down to defend as Chastain was just to his inside. Chastain didn’t lift and Elliott’s car went spinning into the inside wall, ending his chances of securing his second Cup Series championship.
At Martinsville on Oct. 30, Christopher Bell needed to win to join Joey Logano in the Championship 4 at Phoenix – and the Toyota driver from Norman, Oklahoma, did just that. Chase Elliott advanced on points as did Ross Chastain, who rode the wall in a videogame-style move to go from 10th to fifth in the final corner of the last lap, eliminating eliminate Denny Hamlin from the playoffs.
Joey Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Shell-Pennzoil Ford visited Victory Lane four times and had 17 top-10 finishes.
The No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet driven by Chase Elliott won five times with 20 top-10 results.
2022 Season Recap
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Feb. 20 | Daytona International Speedway | Austin Cindric
Feb. 27 | Auto Club Speedway | Kyle Larson
March 6 | Las Vegas Motor Speedway | Alex Bowman
March 13 | Phoenix Raceway | Chase Briscoe
March 20 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | William Byron
March 27 | Circuit of The Americas | Ross Chastain
April 3 | Richmond Raceway | Denny Hamlin
April 9 | Martinsville Speedway | William Byron
April 17 | Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt) | Kyle Busch
April 24 | Talladega Superspeedway | Ross Chastain
May 2 | Dover Motor Speedway | Chase Elliott
May 8 | Darlington Raceway | Joey Logano
May 15 | Kansas Speedway | Kurt Busch
May 29 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Denny Hamlin
June 5 | World Wide Technology Raceway | Joey Logano
June 12 | Sonoma Raceway | Daniel Suarez
June 26 | Nashville Superspeedway | Chase Elliott
July 3 | Road America | Tyler Reddick
July 10 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Chase Elliott
July 17 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Christopher Bell
July 24 | Pocono Raceway | Chase Elliott
July 31 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway RC | Tyler Reddick
Aug. 7 | Michigan International Speedway | Kevin Harvick
Aug. 14 | Richmond Raceway | Kevin Harvick
Aug. 21 | Watkins Glen International | Kyle Larson
Aug. 27 | Daytona International Speedway | Austin Dillon
Sept. 4 | Darlington Raceway | Erik Jones
Sept. 11 | Kansas Speedway | Bubba Wallace
Sept. 17 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Chris Buescher
Sept. 25 | Texas Motor Speedway | Tyler Reddick
Oct. 2 | Talladega Superspeedway | Chase Elliott
Oct. 9 | Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL | Christopher Bell
Oct. 16 | Las Vegas Motor Speedway | Joey Logano
Oct. 23 | Homestead-Miami Speedway | Kyle Larson
Oct. 30 | Martinsville Speedway | Christopher Bell
Nov. 6 | Phoenix Raceway | Joey Logano