NASCAR Power Rankings: Joey Logano rises to the top Brad Keselowski goes winless but more focused on building RFK Racing Winners and losers at Phoenix Raceway Long: Cup title caps a special and bittersweet day for Joey Logano For Kyle Busch, an emotionally wrenching ending with Gibbs: ‘The hardest of it all’

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Joey Logano broke into Phoenix last weekend with the idea of ​​winning a second NASCAR Cup Series championship, and he ticked all the boxes – took pole, dominated the race and won the title.

Those who wanted a dramatic end to the season – with four cars crossing the finish line side by side or one rival spinning the other in Turn 4 to win – instead Logano went on to win and solidify his status as one of the sport’s best. elite drivers.

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He finishes the season with a big trophy and, of course, is number one in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power rankings.

NBC Sports NASCAR Power Ranking

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1. Joey Logano (3rd last week) At 32, Logano expects to win more championships in the next decade on his way to a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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2. Ross Chastain (#1 last week) Chastain’s “Hail Melon” move in Martinsville will live on in reruns for years to come. His season was magical – and quite unexpected.

3. Chase Elliott (#4 last week) No one has won as many races this season as Elliott (five). His playoffs weren’t sensational, but it would be interesting to see how he ended Sunday without contact with Ross Chastain.

four. Christopher Bell (#2 last week) Bell won two must-win races in the playoffs but failed to score in the third.

5. Kyle Larson (#5 last week) Larson had 10 wins last season and three this year. He won the championship last year, but not this year. It will be interesting to follow his rebounds next season.

MORE: Kyle Busch Ends Long Run With Gibbs On Emotional Day

6. Ryan Blaney (#7 last week) – Blaney’s crazy season brought 12 top fives (more than champ Joey Logano) and 17 top 10s (same as Logano), but no wins (other than the All-Star Race). He was the only driver in the top 16 in points without a win.

7. Denny Hamlin (#6 last week) Hamlin finished another winning season without winning that elusive first championship.

eight. William Byron (#8 last week) Byron won twice (at Atlanta and Martinsville) and enjoyed another season playing at the highest level of the sport.

MORE: Brad Keselowski focused on the future

9. Chase Briscoe (#9 last week) Briscoe surprised many by going through the playoffs and finished the year with a strong fourth in Phoenix.

ten. Kevin Harvick (not ranked last week) The older athlete and sometimes outspoken defender and critic didn’t excel in the playoffs, but ended the year strong with a fifth-place finish with Phoenix.

Dropped: Daniel Suarez (#10 last week).

Avondale, Arizona – As Joey Logano Heading to his second cup championship on Sunday, the rider who paved the way for Logano in Team Penske saw his season go to waste. Literally.

The fire is over Brad Keselowskirace at Phoenix Raceway, which saw him finish in 35th place and end his first winless Cup season since 2010.

This year was to be a test for Keselowski after he left Team Penske where he won the cup, ran 34 races and convinced team owner Roger Penske to hire Logano in 2013 to be the owner/driver of RFK Racing this season.

Only 14 drivers in NASCAR history have had more consecutive seasons with at least one win than Keselowski’s 11, but the former champion said the day before the season finale that the streak’s ending would not be devastating. He had other priorities.

“If I can do what I want with this company – and we’re heading towards that – it won’t mean a damn thing to me,” Keselowski said of the strip. “Part of the risk in taking the opportunity and making the move that I made is giving up on some of those stats that are nice at the moment, but in 10 to 20 years I won’t remember or care.” about these things. .

“What I will remember and worry about is whether I was able to bring this company to where it was a year ago, to where I want it to be next year or so. That’s what will matter.”

Until Keselovsky won, teammate Chris Buescher This succeeded, giving the organization its first Cup win since 2017. Buescher achieved a career-high 10 top 10 finishes, including a play-off win at Bristol, but also failed to finish in six races. Keselowski finished in the top 10 six times and failed to finish in three races.

None of the riders made it into the top 20 in points. Buescher was 21st and Keselowski was 24th.

Keselowski was penalized 100 points in March after Atlanta for modifying a part from one source and was disqualified after a race in Martinsville last month because his car was under the minimum weight. The disqualification cost him 41 points. Without those two misses, Keselowski would have finished 19th in the drivers’ standings.

“I definitely didn’t get as far as I wanted to, but looking at the problem realistically, maybe somewhat on schedule,” Keselowski said.

“I think we have a lot of interesting things waiting for us in the off-season. … We have a lot of things we are doing to progress that have come in the last 6-12 months to understand where the company is and take the appropriate steps so that both racing teams can compete for wins.”

Keselowski said his first year as a Cup winner was a year of hard work.

“This is what it should be. It’s hard, he said. “And I appreciate this challenge.”

Keselowski was asked to compare the difficulties of owning a truck team that competed in the Cup in 2008-2017.

“It’s like (Truck Team problems), it’s just that there’s another zero on every check,” he said. “Things that cost 50,000 are worth 500,000; things that cost 500,000 are worth 5 million.

“Most expensive, but the same values ​​and principles hold true for how you treat your people. How do you develop your car. How do you interact with the company, team, sponsors and all stakeholders on a daily basis. So the basics are still the same, just a little more expensive and a little more competition.”

Take a look at the winners and losers of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Final at Phoenix Raceway:

WINNERS

Joey Logano Logano rolled into Phoenix with fire in his eyes, seemingly determined to have a good race and win a second championship. He rode much better than “good”, leading 187 laps and winning the race and the title. Only 32, he could win a few more.

Ross Chastain – The best rider of the year failed to finish the season with a big trophy, but finished a strong third in the race and second in the final standings. Would his move at Martinsville in Phoenix have worked on the last lap? We will never know.

Chase Briscoe Briscoe led 11 laps and spent most of the day running ahead of the championship contenders.

Daniel Hemrick Called in at the last minute to replace Ty Gibbs in a difficult situation, Chemrick did a good job avoiding trouble and finishing 17th on the lead lap.

LOSERS

Alex Bowman – Bowman’s comeback race after he was ruled out due to concussion symptoms failed. A late race crash left him 34th.

Brad Keselowski – A fire in the wheel well ended Keselowski’s day on lap 270.

Chase Elliott “It was a tough final day of racing for Elliott, who was considered by many to be the championship favorite in Phoenix. His hopes for the title effectively ended after contact with Ross Chastain.



Source: nascar.nbcsports.com

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