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NASCAR Cup Phoenix: Blaney claims title as Chastain wins season finale

Ryan Blaney claimed his first NASCAR Cup Series title by finishing second in the season finale at Phoenix, where Ross Chastain interrupted the championship battle to take victory.

Watch: Race Rewind: Champion crowned after late-race restart in Phoenix

Chastain was eliminated early in the Cup playoffs and led just one lap in the previous nine races, but his Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet led 157 of the 312 laps on Sunday. 

Chastain lost his lead during the final round of green flag pit stops, but repassed Kyle Larson on a restart with 30 laps to go to and held off a late charge from Blaney to earn his second win of 2023.

After Chastain took control of the race, Team Penske Ford driver Blaney and Larson's Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet engaged in a fierce battle for the runner-up position, which would decide the championship winner. Blaney finally emerged with the position with 19 laps to go.

It was the first time since the current playoff format debuted in 2014 that the champion did not win the season finale, not that it mattered a bit for Blaney who followed up Joey Logano's title last year to make it two in a row for team owner Roger Penske.

“Unbelievable year, unbelievable playoffs for us,” said Blaney, who fought back from sixth at the end of Stage 2. “To win back-to-back Cup titles for Penske, that’s so special.

“Having my family here, winning my first Cup title, I got emotional in the car. I’m not a very emotional guy.”

Larson ended up third in the race, his team-mate and fellow title contender William Byron was fourth after taking pole position and winning the opening Stage, while Stage 2 winner Chris Buescher (RFK Ford) rounded out the top five.

Final title contender Christopher Bell was knocked out of contention when he blew a brake rotor and slammed the wall on lap 108, causing extensive damage to his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, Worldwide Express Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, Worldwide Express Chevrolet Camaro

Completing the top-10 were Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick in his final Cup race, Denny Hamlin, Michael McDowell and Bubba Wallace.

Asked what was going through his mind in the final laps, Blaney said: “No yellow, I didn’t want a caution. Once I got to the white [flag], felt pretty good about it.

“It’s just about getting there, finishing it off. Didn’t want a yellow. Everyone kept it straight.

“I want to shout-out also Kyle and William, that was fun racing those guys all day, and [Christopher] Bell, unfortunately he broke.

“Racing those two guys at the end, racing clean, that’s what racing is all about. It was a lot of fun.”

NASCAR Cup Phoenix Race Results

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Pits Points Retirement
1 United States R. Chastain TrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 312

2:52'01.133

  7 57  
2 United States R. Blaney Team Penske 12 Ford 312

+1.230

2:52'02.363

1.230 7 35  
3 United States K. Larson Hendrick Motorsports 5 Chevrolet 312

+3.273

2:52'04.406

2.043 8 34  
4 United States W. Byron Hendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 312

+5.349

2:52'06.482

2.076 8 33  
5 United States C. Buescher RFK Racing 17 Ford 312

+5.784

2:52'06.917

0.435 8 47  
6 United States M. Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 312

+5.864

2:52'06.997

0.080 8 41  
7 United States K. Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 4 Ford 312

+6.336

2:52'07.469

0.472 7 47  
8 United States D. Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 312

+8.928

2:52'10.061

2.592 7 29  
9 United States M. McDowell Front Row Motorsports 34 Ford 312

+10.238

2:52'11.371

1.310 7 28  
10 United States B. Wallace 23XI Racing 23 Toyota 312

+12.237

2:52'13.370

1.999 7 37  
11 Mexico D. Suarez TrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 312

+12.486

2:52'13.619

0.249 7 26  
12 United States A. Dillon Richard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 312

+13.028

2:52'14.161

0.542 7 25  
13 United States A. Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing 10 Ford 312

+13.649

2:52'14.782

0.621 7 24  
14 United States R. Preece Stewart-Haas Racing 41 Ford 312

+14.097

2:52'15.230

0.448 7 23  
15 United States B. Keselowski RFK Racing 6 Ford 312

+15.443

2:52'16.576

1.346 7 24  
16 United States C. Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 312

+15.687

2:52'16.820

0.244 7 21  
17 United States A. Bowman Hendrick Motorsports 48 Chevrolet 312

+16.544

2:52'17.677

0.857 7 20  
18 United States J. Logano Team Penske 22 Ford 312

+16.921

2:52'18.054

0.377 7 19  
19
C. Hocevar Legacy Motor Club
42 Chevrolet 312

+18.293

2:52'19.426

1.372 7    
20 United States E. Jones Legacy Motor Club 43 Chevrolet 312

+19.063

2:52'20.196

0.770 7 21  
21
T. Gibbs Joe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 312

+19.381

2:52'20.514

0.318 7 16  
22 United States T. Reddick 23XI Racing 45 Toyota 312

+20.573

2:52'21.706

1.192 7 15  
23 United States R. Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing 47 Chevrolet 312

+22.719

2:52'23.852

2.146 6 14  
24 United States C. Briscoe Stewart-Haas Racing 14 Ford 312

+22.777

2:52'23.910

0.058 6 13  
25 United States K. Busch Richard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 311

+1 Lap

2:52'15.794

1 Lap 7 12  
26 United States H. Burton Wood Brothers Racing 21 Ford 311

+1 Lap

2:52'29.017

13.223 6 11  
27 United States J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing 15 Ford 311

+1 Lap

2:52'31.478

2.461 6    
28 United States T. Dillon Spire Motorsports 77 Chevrolet 310

+2 Laps

2:52'25.007

1 Lap 6 9  
29 United States J. Haley Kaulig Racing 31 Chevrolet 310

+2 Laps

2:52'26.842

1.835 6 8  
30 United States T. Gilliland Front Row Motorsports 38 Ford 309

+3 Laps

2:52'25.369

1 Lap 6 7  
31 United States C. Lajoie Spire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 308

+4 Laps

2:52'07.612

1 Lap 6 6  
32 United States A. Allmendinger Kaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 308

+4 Laps

2:52'11.240

3.628 6 5  
33 United States B. McLeod Live Fast Motorsports 78 Chevrolet 306

+6 Laps

2:52'06.113

2 Laps 7    
34 United States R. Newman Rick Ware Racing 51 Ford 305

+7 Laps

2:52'29.981

1 Lap 8    
35 United States A. Cindric Team Penske 2 Ford 301

+11 Laps

2:52'22.663

4 Laps 7 2  
36 United States C. Bell Joe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 108

+204 Laps

57'42.423

193 Laps 4 1 Accident

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