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Here's Where The 'Race For the Championship' Drivers Ended In The Final Standings
"Race For The Championship" followed 12 NASCAR drivers as they attempted to win the 2022 Cup Series. Here's how it went for each one.
The dust has finally settled and the NASCAR Cup Series playoff has come to a close after an unforgettable day of racing in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday — and congratulations are in order for Joey Logano, who captured the championship in thrilling fashion.
But more on Joey Logano in a moment.
Thanks to the USA docu-series “Race for the Championship,” fans around the world have been treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at the lives of some of their favorite NASCAR drivers, and with Phoenix firmly in the rear view mirror, it’s time to check in on where exactly those 12 featured drivers have ended up in the standings.
Corey LaJoie – 31st place, 466 points
As one of the most charismatic drivers in NASCAR — and one of the most family–oriented — LaJoie has garnered a notable following since he made his debut in 2009. But let’s call a spade a spade here; a 31st-place finish in 2022 is not his best work. In 2023, we’re fully expecting LaJoie to refocus on what he does best: driving. Although this year wasn't too bad, as he formed a surprising friendship with a WWE Superstar.
Kurt Busch – 30th place, 485 points
At this point in Kurt Busch’s storied 22-year NASCAR career, there isn’t a whole lot left for the man to accomplish (after all, he won the inaugural Cup Series in 2004). Is a 30th place finish for one of the most decorated drivers in history what we can expect from somebody with Busch’s longevity, or is it just a temporary pit stop — no pun intended — before he regains his form once again?
Harrison Burton – 27th place, 573 points
Notching only a single top-five finish, Burton’s final place in the standings could be seen as underperforming — until you factor in his age. Harrison Burton is only 22 years old, which means two things: He gets a pass for this finish, and he will only get better as the years go on. Although the season surely ended the way that no driver wants it to end, don’t be surprised if he gets more and more wins (and possibly championships) under his belt as he gains experience around the racetrack.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. – 26th place, 580 points
Sometimes, the risks Stenhouse Jr., who is known for his "wild card" driving style, takes on the track pay off — and sometimes they don’t. As far as his 2022 goes, it sure feels like the risks weren’t worth it. A 26th place finish in the standings along with only one race where he finished in the top five means it’s back to the drawing board in 2023.
Brad Keselowski – 24th place, 629 points
It’s been 10 years since Keselowski last held NASCAR championship gold, back in 2012. This season, Keselowski failed to win a single race and notched only one top-five finish. Keselowski himself is cognizant of how he and his team underperformed this year, just two seasons removed from nearly capturing the title again, as evidenced by a lengthy Twitter post that included the words, “This year hasn’t been easy.” It’s been a tough pill for him to swallow, but there’s always next year. Keselowski has proven himself to be champion once before, and he still has the skillset and desire to do it again.
Kyle Busch – 13th place, 2224 points
As one of the names synonymous with NASCAR, Busch constantly has a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, a 13th place finish isn’t what Busch and his team had in mind for 2022. This caps three straight years where even the most ardent of Kyle Busch fans have to admit that he did not reach the expectations that have been thrust upon one of the faces of the sport. Only one win and eight top-five finishes won’t get the job done.
Daniel Suarez – 10th place, 2272 points
As one half of Trackhouse Racing — along with fellow teammate Ross Chastain — 2022 can be considered an absolute success for Suarez and for his race house in general. Two drivers finishing in the top 10 is impressive in its own right, but when such a young race house accomplishes it, it becomes infinitely more impressive. It seems like Pitbull knows a thing or two about putting together a pretty darn good team of drivers, huh?
As successful as 2022 was, the sky's the limit for Suarez. And since he’s the first Mexican-born driver to win a race in NASCAR history, all eyes will be on him in 2023.
Ryan Blaney – 8th place, 2354 points
Blaney followed up a promising 7th place finish in 2021 with an 8th place finish this year, which is likely a mild disappointment for him and his team. In the offseason, Blaney needs to fine-tune his strategy, which has led him to an impressive 12 top-five finishes this year — but zero checkered flags. That’s a ratio that won’t lead to any championships unless some changes are made.
Kyle Larson – 7th place, 2354 points
The winner of the 2021 title, Larson was one of the favorites to repeat in 2022. Unfortunately, despite his three wins in the series, he found himself largely on the outside looking in. At only 30 years of age, Larson is just now entering the prime of his racing career — and although he couldn’t pull off a repeat title win, the competitor who many NASCAR fans believe to be one of the most gifted natural drivers in history is an early favorite to take home the big one in 2023.
Chase Elliott – 4th place, 5009 points
During Sunday’s race, Elliott took his destiny into his own hands — but wound up costing himself the championship. Midway through the final race in Phoenix, his Chevy spun out after coming into contact with Ross Chastain’s car, spiraling him out of control and out of title contention. But 4th place overall in the standings can only be considered a success, as his league-leading five wins showed the world that he is one of the most dominant drivers in the sport. At 26 years old, Elliott, arguably the most popular driver in all of NASCAR, is approaching the most productive years of his young career.
Ross Chastain – 2nd place, 5034 points
Let’s be clear: Despite not taking home the championship, Ross Chastain’s season was a massive success, bringing a 2nd place trophy home to Trackhouse Racing, showing the entire world that they are a racing house to be reckoned with. The “Watermelon Man” logged an unheard-of 15 top-five finishes to go along with two wins this season in his bid to make history. Although he came up short this year, he’s already emerged as one of the early favorites to bring home the NASCAR title in 2023 — and it seems like he’s already looking ahead to the next year:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We came up a little short. The effort was there and I can’t wait to do it again next year with the boys and girls <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamTrackhouse?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamTrackhouse</a>! Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamChevy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamChevy</a> and all our great partners. <a href="https://t.co/sI2iQneZ1d">pic.twitter.com/sI2iQneZ1d</a></p>— Ross Chastain (@RossChastain) <a href="https://twitter.com/RossChastain/status/1589407121652985858?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 6, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Joey Logano – 1st place, 5040 points
We don’t want to say Logano made it look easy, but on Sunday in Phoenix, Logano pretty much made it look easy! With a total of 5040 points that included four wins, he captured the 2022 title at NASCAR Championship Weekend.
What a year it’s been for Logano: In addition to becoming one of the breakout stars of “Race For the Championship,” he’s cemented his status as one of the most outspoken and aggressive drivers in all of NASCAR both on and off the track. Congratulations to Joey Logano. We'll see what ends up happening in 2023, but we wouldn't be surprised to see him repeat.
You can catch up on past episodes of “Race For The Championship” on Peacock right now.