In the Rear View: 2022 Nascar Season
The 2022 NASCAR season was a wild one. Spawning 19 different winners and 5 first time winners, it proved to be an exciting season even with some controversy. This controversy being the safety concerns with the new Gen 7 car that debuted this season in the cup series. We saw many health issues arise from the car, most notably causing the concussions of 2 drivers. These drivers were Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman and in Kurt Busch’s case, it would cause him to retire from full time competition starting in
2023. However, the 2022 season is still considered a success with the average TV ratings going up for the sport.
Let’s take a closer look at the champions across the main 3 series of NASCAR for the 2022 season.
Cup Champion: Joey Logano
After not being talked about for what seemed like most of the season, Joey Logano came through to win his second cup championship this year. Driving in the #22 car for Team Penske, Logano was consistently fast all year long. However, he did not have as many wins as others and many people did not believe he was a threat to take the championship. Logano won when it mattered however, snagging a win at Las Vegas to lock himself into the final four, then winning the championship race at Phoenix out pacing the talk of the series Ross Chastain. This championship moves Logano into the elite status of drivers to win multiple cup titles, further cementing his hall of fame case for whenever he decides to call it a career.
Xfinity Champion: Ty Gibbs
One of the elite prospects in the NASCAR world, Ty Gibbs silenced all the doubters and won his first championship. Grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, Ty will drive the #18 car for his grandfather’s team in the cup series next season following the departure of Kyle Busch for Richard Childress Racing. Gibbs out paced Noah Gragson, Josh Berry and Justin Allgaier at the championship race in Phoenix and made a lot of people upset along the way.
Truck Champion: Zane Smith
After not having a job following the 2021 season, Zane Smith pulled through and won his first truck title in 2022. Driving for the #38 Front Row motorsports truck, Smith pulled away in a spectacular last lap thriller at the truck title race in Phoenix. Zane Smith, now having proved himself to be a winner, will start to run some more cup races for Front Row Motorsports, starting with the Daytona 500 in February.
Looking ahead to the 2023 season, NASCAR will look to continue their popularity. Ross Chastain’s wallride at Martinsville got a lot more eyes on the sport and they will look to capitalize on it. Many things have not been decided yet for the next season, but we do know of 2 new venues they will race at. The first being the Chicago Street race on Independence Day weekend, being the first street race NASCAR has had in decades and brings the sport back to a large Chicago market. The other race being the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro speedway, bringing the sport back to a local grassroots market like Wilkesboro. NASCAR has a lot to work with but needs to worry about the safety of their drivers first as they plan to improve the safety within the Gen 7 cars. Overall, NASCAR is trying to reach the popularity they had in the early 2000s and reach a new younger demographic of fans. This season was a step in the
right direction, but they still have ways to go.