Championship contenders Ross Chastain And the Christopher Bell Both led their way to Championship 4. Bale took the checkered flag in two races to win or be eliminated, and Chastain submitted Video game action defies the odds in Martinsville.
But how will they do in Phoenix?
as I did Joey Logano and Chase ElliottI separate the regular season statistics from the cut-off statistics. I include the absolute numbers as well as the driver’s rank compared to my other full-time drivers.
Green squares indicate the driver’s rating in the top five on the scale, while the scales in which the driver is rated between six and 10 are shaded in yellow. Anything from the top ten is red.
Chastain’s aggressive drive made headlines, as well as a few foes, during the season. He lowered his profile over the summer before riding the wall at Championship 4 in Martinsville. Phoenix enters with 150 Cup Series starts, the second smallest number of starts a driver has entered in a Championship race.
Chastain’s performance this year is uniformly mixed. For example: he celebrated his first two wins in his career in Kuta and Talladega, but he is the only driver in the fourth championship who has not won a playoff race.
His four-run power in the top five near the start of the season gave way to seven runs in 15th or worse in the playoffs. But his last three endings were two seconds and four.
The statistics for the Chastain loop data are similarly inconsistent. Although he improved from the regular season to the playoffs in some areas, he moved on to others.
In qualifying, Chastain leads the Championship 4 drivers in the finishing position and running position; However, he was last in the green flag speed and restarted the speed.
The restart speed stats are alarming because the fall Phoenix race has averaged a 3.8 alert in the last leg since 2017. Chastain ranks 3.3 positions worse in restart speed and then lower than the other three drivers.
Chastain has the second-largest penalty shootout among the contenders in the tournament with eight penalty shootouts. The 30-second penalty kick in the Indy GP to shorten the track is a good reminder that not all of Chastain’s options work as well as in Martinsville.
The most disturbing aspect of Chastain’s stats is how much communication is on the right track. He has 15 accidents and 2 tie spins Kyle Bush For the most accidents that require caution this season. In addition, he was involved in half a dozen other accidents that did not cause warnings but got in the way of his positioning on the right track.
Compounding this concern is the number of drivers who hold a grudge against Chastain. Even if all they do is race him hard, this is another challenge in an already tough battle.
Chastain finished second in Phoenix in the spring. Chastain has never won a Phoenix, but none of the Championship 4 drivers have ever won in Phoenix in a Next Gen car either.
Since this is only the third season of the full-time Cup series for Bale, I assumed he was the youngest of the four contenders. He’s actually about a year older than him Chase ElliotWho is the youngest in the tournament 4.
Bale needed only 107 trophies to start reaching Championship 4, breaking Elliott’s record of 184 starts. Making Chastain in only 150 times pushes Elliott to third.
Bell is one of the drivers that has evolved into a next generation car. He started the season with two DNFs, finished 10th in Las Vegas, then two more times 23rd and worse. That forced him to spend the first half of the season climbing out of the resulting points gap.
Bale won his only race of the regular season in New Hampshire In mid-July. That’s positive for his championship performance because New Hampshire is a good comparison track for Phoenix.
Only six more times has the driver avoided a qualifying elimination by winning. Bale is the only driver to have done so twice in one season. Escape from these holes is impressive, but not going into them is better.
Bell owns six DNFS, with two in the last nine races. That’s less than the season’s record of nine, but most important of all is 4 championship drivers. He also has the most penalty kicks (12) out of the four drivers competing for the championship.
The averages of the Bell ring data show a clear improvement in absolute numbers and rank. In the playoffs, Bell makes the top five in every metric displayed except for running center. There it ranks sixth.
Bale drove more laps in the nine races of the playoffs than he did in the 26 regular season races. But he comes second overall in the rounds that lead in qualifying to Kyle Larsonwho drove 328.
If Christopher Bell wins in Phoenix, Adam Stevens will become the only active crew chief of the three-time Cup Series champion and only the fifth crew chief to win titles with multiple drivers.
Phil Surgeon He concludes his second full-time year as head of the Cup crew. Seventy-one of his 88 starts were with Ross Chastain. If Car #1 wins, Sorgen will become the 45th different championship-winning crew chief in the series.