Joey Logano stormed into Phoenix last weekend with the idea of taking home a second NASCAR Cup Series championship, and he checked every box — taking the pole, dominating the race and winning the title.
Those wishing for a dramatic finish to the season — with four cars crossing the finish line side-by-side or one contender spinning another in the fourth turn to win — instead got Logano coasting to a victory and solidifying his stature as one of the sport’s elite drivers.
He ends the season holding the big trophy and, of course, sitting atop the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.
NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings
1. Joey Logano (No. 3 last week) — At only 32 years old, Logano figures to add more championships over the next decade on his way to a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
2. Ross Chastain (No. 1 last week) — Chastain’s “Hail Melon” Martinsville move will live in replays for years. His season was magical — and quite unexpected.
3. Chase Elliott (No. 4 last week) — No one won as many races this season as Elliott (five). His playoffs weren’t sensational, but it would have been interesting to see how he finished Sunday minus the contact with Ross Chastain.
4. Christopher Bell (No. 2 last week) — Bell won two “must-win” races in the playoffs but couldn’t score the third.
5. Kyle Larson (No. 5 last week) — Larson had 10 wins last season and three this year. He won a championship last year but didn’t this year. It will be interesting to follow how he rebounds next season.
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6. Ryan Blaney (No. 7 last week) — Blaney’s wacky season yielded 12 top fives (more than champion Joey Logano) and 17 top 10s (the 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 victory.
7. Denny Hamlin (No. 6 last week) — Hamlin ended another winning season without winning that elusive first championship.
8. William Byron (No. 8 last week) — Byron won twice (Atlanta and Martinsville) and enjoyed another season bouncing around the top level of the sport.
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9. Chase Briscoe (No. 9 last week) — Briscoe surprised many advancing through the playoffs and finished the year with a strong fourth at Phoenix.
10. Kevin Harvick (unranked last week) — The sport’s senior citizen and, at times, outspoken advocate and critic, didn’t shine in the playoffs but closed the year well with a fifth at Phoenix.
Dropped out: Daniel Suarez (No. 10 last week).