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Who is favored to win Nascar Championship?

With only two races left in the 2022 Nascar season, the championship battle is coming down to the wire. Four drivers have emerged as the clear favorites to take home the coveted title: Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Kyle Larson. In this article, we’ll take a close look at each of the Championship 4 contenders and examine why they could end up as champion when the season finale at Phoenix concludes on November 6th.

Chase Elliott

If you had to pick one single favorite heading into the final two races, it would likely be 2020 champion Chase Elliott. With 4 wins this season, the most of any Championship 4 driver, Elliott has been consistently fast all year long. He has the best average finish of the four contenders at 11.5, having finished outside the top 10 just 6 times. Elliott also has an impressive average finish of 6.8 on 1.5 mile tracks like Texas and Homestead that make up the final two races. Having won the championship just two years ago, Elliott knows what it takes to perform under pressure. He won at Phoenix back in 2020 to claim his first title, so he has proven he can conquer that track with a championship on the line. Elliott and his #9 team have all the ingredients needed to win it all again in 2022.

Key Advantages

  • Most wins of any Championship 4 driver in 2022 (4)
  • Best average finish of any contender (11.5)
  • Strong record on 1.5 mile tracks (6.8 average finish)
  • Won at Phoenix to clinch 2020 championship

Denny Hamlin

Although he doesn’t have a championship yet, Denny Hamlin has established himself as one of NASCAR’s best drivers over the last decade. He has finished top 3 in points in five of the last seven years. Hamlin has put together another solid season in 2022, earning 2 wins and 15 top 5 finishes. He has the playoff experience with three consecutive appearances in the Championship 4. Now Hamlin just needs to put together two more strong races to finally capture that elusive title. He has always run well at Phoenix, the site of the finale, putting him in contention. But Hamlin will need to minimize mistakes and maximize his performance to beat the other three contenders. His #11 team looks dialed in heading into the season’s final two weeks.

Key Advantages

  • Vast playoff experience with 3 straight Championship 4 appearances
  • 15 top 5 finishes in 2022
  • Strong history at Phoenix with 12 top 10s

Joey Logano

The driver of the #22 Ford, Joey Logano can never be counted out in a playoff situation. He has made it to the Championship 4 in five of the last seven seasons, including this year. Logano claimed the 2018 title thanks to a win at Homestead, so he knows what it takes to get it done. With 2 wins in 2022 and excellent qualifying efforts, Logano has shown the speed needed to win races. He sits only 12 points behind Chase Elliott heading into the final two events. Homestead, the penultimate race, is a track where Logano has won before. He also has a series-best 9 wins at 1.5 mile tracks since 2018. The ability to excel at these types of tracks gives Logano a good shot to outperform his rivals over the last two weeks. Don’t be surprised if this veteran driver ends up hoisting the championship trophy again.

Key Advantages

  • 2018 champion with proven playoff ability
  • 2 wins in 2022
  • Best driver at 1.5 mile tracks over last 5 years

Kyle Larson

After a dominant 2021 season where he won 10 races and the championship, Kyle Larson has not had the same level of success in 2022. But he has started to hit his stride in the playoffs, earning a key win at Homestead to lock up his spot in the Championship 4. Larson and his #5 team have seemed to find the speed that escaped them for much of the regular season. He has always excelled on 1.5 mile tracks, which could give Larson an edge over the final two weeks. With the momentum from the Homestead win, he could challenge for his second straight title if he keeps running up front. Larson might be somewhat of a darkhorse, but his raw talent makes him a threat to go back-to-back as champion.

Key Advantages

  • Defending series champion
  • Recent win at Homestead shows speed is returning
  • Top driver historically at 1.5 mile tracks

Analysis and Prediction

Based on current form and past history at the tracks that remain, Chase Elliott holds a slight edge over the other three contenders. He has been the most consistent driver this season, leading the series in both wins and average finish. Elliott’s strong results on 1.5 mile tracks bode well for his chances at Texas and Homestead. He also knows he can win a championship after doing it in 2020. Elliott seems primed to take the #9 car back to victory lane and claim his second title.

But NASCAR playoffs rarely follow predictable patterns. Any of these four drivers have a legitimate shot based on their abilities. Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have the veteran experience in these high-pressure situations, having been here many times before. Meanwhile, Kyle Larson’s raw speed makes him the wildcard who could get hot over these final two weeks.

My prediction is that Chase Elliott ultimately prevails to win his second career NASCAR Cup Series championship. I expect he will expand his points lead with a top 5 run at Texas. At Homestead, Elliott will earn the win he needs to cement the title. The forecasted Championship 4 finish:

1. Chase Elliott
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Joey Logano
4. Kyle Larson

We shall see how it all plays out, but Elliott looks poised to take the crown and establish himself as one of NASCAR’s preeminent drivers. The action all goes down on November 6th at Phoenix Raceway with the championship on the line. It will be must-see racing as the 2022 season comes to an epic conclusion.

Chase Elliott’s 2022 Season at a Glance

Wins 4
Top 5’s 12
Top 10’s 20
Poles 2
Average Finish 11.5
Stage Wins 9

Elliott’s four wins are the most of any driver this season. His 12 top 5’s and 20 top 10’s are also among the series leaders. With an outstanding average finish of 11.5, Elliott has been a model of consistency throughout 2022.

Chase Elliott’s Playoff Results

Race Finish Points
Darlington 12th 2,073
Kansas 3rd 2,105
Bristol 2nd 2,121
Texas 4th 2,121
Talladega 5th 2,121
Charlotte Roval 2nd 4,095
Las Vegas 1st 4,103

Elliott has finished inside the top 5 in six of the seven playoff races. His win at Las Vegas last week helped him take a slim points lead over Joey Logano heading to the final two events.

Denny Hamlin’s 2022 Season at a Glance

Wins 2
Top 5’s 15
Top 10’s 20
Poles 1
Average Finish 13.1
Stage Wins 5

Hamlin has put together a strong season as evidenced by his 15 top 5 finishes and 20 top 10’s. He sits third in the points standings on the strength of his consistency.

Denny Hamlin’s Playoff Results

Race Finish Points
Darlington 7th 2,044
Kansas 9th 2,068
Bristol 8th 2,087
Texas 10th 2,087
Talladega 8th 2,087
Charlotte Roval 3rd 4,078
Las Vegas 6th 4,086

Hamlin has been steady in the playoffs but hasn’t yet earned the wins needed to get bonus points. He trails Chase Elliott by 17 points heading into the final two races.

Joey Logano’s 2022 Season at a Glance

Wins 2
Top 5’s 10
Top 10’s 17
Poles 4
Average Finish 14.8
Stage Wins 6

Logano has earned 2 wins this season along with 10 top 5’s and 17 top 10 finishes. His 4 poles show the qualifying speed the #22 team has found.

Joey Logano’s Playoff Results

Race Finish Points
Darlington 17th 2,025
Kansas 12th 2,047
Bristol 10th 2,061
Texas 2nd 2,091
Talladega 7th 2,091
Charlotte Roval 1st 4,091
Las Vegas 9th 4,098

Logano sits second in the playoff standings on the strength of his Charlotte Roval win. He trails Chase Elliott by just 12 points heading into the final two races.

Kyle Larson’s 2022 Season at a Glance

Wins 2
Top 5’s 9
Top 10’s 14
Poles 1
Average Finish 16.8
Stage Wins 7

It’s been a down year by Larson’s standards but he has shown signs of his old form late in the season, including his critical win at Homestead to make the Championship 4.

Kyle Larson’s Playoff Results

Race Finish Points
Darlington 33rd 2,006
Kansas 40th 2,009
Bristol 19th 2,029
Texas 34th 2,029
Talladega 25th 2,029
Charlotte Roval 28th 4,007
Las Vegas 3rd 4,045

After struggling for much of the playoffs, Larson got the win he needed at Homestead. He sits 38 points behind Chase Elliott in the standings.

Key Storylines Heading to Final Two Races

– Chase Elliott is in position to win his second career title, joining his legendary father Bill as just the third father-son duo to win championships. But Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are right on his heels, setting up a thrilling points battle.

– This is the fifth Championship 4 appearance for both Hamlin and Logano but neither has won the title before. They each have one final shot to claim that elusive first championship.

– Kyle Larson is the defending series champion but seemed unlikely to make it back to the Championship 4 after struggles early in the playoffs. His clutch win at Homestead kept his repeat hopes alive.

– Elliott has the most season wins (4) but he has not won since early July. Hamlin, Logano and Larson have all found victory lane more recently giving them momentum.

– Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Christopher Bell have been two of the fastest drivers lately. Will JGR’s late season speed propel Hamlin to the title?

– Logano has not earned as many wins as the other contenders, but consistency has him right in the thick of the points. He won the elimination race at the Charlotte Roval to advance.

– Larson led the series with 10 wins last year but has only 2 this season. He seems to be finding his groove again at the perfect time.

– The Championship 4 have won 8 of the last 11 races at Phoenix, the site of the finale. Elliott, Hamlin and Logano have all conquered that tricky track before.

– Tire wear and fuel strategy will come into play on Phoenix’s slippery surface. The team that masters those factors will have an edge.

– Expect aggressive driving and desperate moves with the title up for grabs. Tempers could flare in the desert heat.


My pick to win it all is Chase Elliott. He has been the best driver week in and week out this season. Elliott’s experience of winning it before gives him an advantage over the other three contenders who are still seeking their first title. Hendrick Motorsports also supplies incredibly fast cars at this point on the schedule. Elliott has the speed, skill, and savvy to close it out and hoist that championship trophy come November 6th. But nothing is guaranteed in racing. It will be a battle to the very end. Get ready for an unforgettable conclusion to decide the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series champion!