Chase Elliott, the 2020 Cup Series champion and 2022 Regular Season Champion, saw his championship hopes take a significant hit and eventually fade following a spin during a restart of the Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
With 113 laps to go, the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet came down the “dogleg” just after the start/finish line and spun off the nose of fellow Championship 4 competitor Ross Chastain.
“I felt like I got position on him, to the left side, the dogleg, and he turned left,” Chastain said after finishing runner-up in the title hunt.
Elliott ran inside the top 10 before the spin in the Final Stage. Joey Logano, who was also seeking his second Cup Series Championship, remained the frontman of the Championship 4, leading 187 of 312 laps and eventually claiming his second career Cup title (2018). The No. 9 Chevrolet, meanwhile, fell a lap down while on pit road and could not muster any late magic. Elliott finished the race in 28th.
“I felt like we just kind of peaked right there before we crashed,” Elliott said. “And I felt like we got our car driving pretty good, we just had our best pit stop of the day, so that was all really solid. And heck, we were right there next to the [No.] 22.
“I thought we had a shot at it all the way up until we didn‘t, and that‘s unfortunately the way it goes sometimes.”
Among Championship 4 drivers, Elliott finished the lowest. Logano finished first to win the 2022 Cup championship, while Chastain and Christopher Bell crossed the checkered flag in third and 10th, respectively.
“Just disappointed, obviously, ended our day and ended our chance at a win or a championship. Just disappointing.”