Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Will This Race at Phoenix PREDICT the 2024 Champion?

Article Contents

The Daily Downforce is Hiring Writers

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts

What’s Happening?

This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series makes the long desert trek to Phoenix Raceway for the 4th race of the season. Since Phoenix also hosts the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race in November, this is seen as an important race for those who hope/expect to be competing for a Championship this fall.

However, does this race really give any insight into the Championship battle? We take a look at the last 4 years at Phoenix Raceway to see if this race can indeed predict the 2024 Champion.

  • We will look at two different aspects for this list. First, we will look at all Cup Series Champions since 2020 (When Phoenix started holding the finale) and how they did in the spring race at Phoenix. We will also look at the spring race winners at Phoenix, and how that translated into the fall race.
  • Even if the spring race winner did not advance to the Championship 4, we will look at any other trends they started. Were they teammates or even the same manufacturer as the driver who won the Championship?
  • Fans are hotly anticipating this race at Phoenix. Many believe this could offer some interesting insight into how the fall race will turn out.

How Have Cup Series Champions Performed in the Spring Race?

Stats

  • 2020 Chase Elliott: 7th Place Finish; 93 Laps Led (Led the Most Laps)
  • 2021 Kyle Larson: 7th Place Finish; 1 Lap Led
  • 2022 Joey Logano: 8th Place Finish; 4 Laps Led (Teammate Ryan Blaney Led 143 Laps)
  • 2023 Ryan Blaney: 2nd Place Finish; 0 Laps Led

Trends

None of the eventual Champions have won the spring race at Phoenix, but all of them have had solid races in the spring. Chase Elliott had perhaps the best overall race as he led the most laps in 2020. Ryan Blaney had the highest finish in 2023 when he finished 2nd just behind William Byron.

For the other two Champions, Kyle Larson and Joey Logano, there was some insight that they had some speed at Phoenix. Larson qualified on the front row in the spring of 2021 despite failing to lead a lap during the race. While Logano could only manage an 8th-place finish in 2022, his teammate, Ryan Blaney, led a race-high 143 laps, so, Team Penske obviously had some speed.

How Have Spring Race Winners Performed in the Fall?

Stats (*Made Championship 4)

  • 2020 Joey Logano*: 60 Laps Led; Finished 3rd in the Fall (125 Laps Led)
  • 2021 Martin Truex Jr.*: 64 Laps Led; Finished 2nd in the Fall (72 Laps Led)
  • 2022 Chase Briscoe: 101 Laps Led; Finished 4th in the Fall (11 Laps Led)
  • 2023 William Byron*: 64 Laps Led; Finished 4th in the Fall (95 Laps Led)

Trends

Spring race winners at Phoenix have never finished outside of the top 5 during the return trip to the track. Only once has the spring race winner at Phoenix failed to make the Championship 4, but, none of them have lifted the big trophy.

None of these drivers saw teammates taking home the Championship in the fall either. The closest we came was in 2022 when Chase Briscoe (driving a Ford) won in the spring while Joey Logano (also driving a Ford) won the Championship in the fall.

Conclusion

Does the spring race at Phoenix have any impact on who wins the Championship back at the same track in the fall? Based on the past four years, not exactly, but, no one who won the Championship finished worse than 8th in the spring. Those who were fast at Phoenix in the spring tend to be fast once again in the fall.

While winning at Phoenix in the spring does not necessarily predict the Champion, that doesn’t make this race any less important. Those who are able to figure it out at Phoenix in the spring can figure to be at or near the front once again in the fall.

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts