NASCAR Reveals Plans for 2022 Championship Weekend

Chase Elliott

Getty Chase Elliott celebrates at Phoenix.

The 2021 Cup Series season is running strong, but racing’s sanctioning body is making plans for the future. NASCAR announced on Tuesday, June 1, that the 2022 championship race will return to Phoenix. The trip will mark the third consecutive season that the schedule comes to an end in Arizona.

“We’re so proud of the fact that we get to host NASCAR’s biggest weekend, crowning those four champions and celebrating the series, our drivers, our teams,” track president Julie Giese said, per NASCAR.com. “It’s going to be a great event. We’re really looking forward to it and honored that we have the opportunity to host this once again.”

The championship weekend will take place Nov. 4-6, 2022. There will be four championship races on the stacked schedule, a list that includes the ARCA Menards Series West, the Truck Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Cup Series. Four champions will hold up trophies over the course of three days.


Championship Weekend Moved to Arizona for the First Time in 2020

Martin Truex Jr.

GettyMartin Truex Jr. races at Homestead-Miami.

Prior to 2020, the biggest race on the NASCAR schedule forced drivers to head to Atlanta and Florida among other destinations. Homestead-Miami Speedway served as the site of the championship race, starting in 2002 with Tony Stewart’s championship season. The Florida track continued to host the finale race until 2019, highlighting such names as Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch.

In 2020, however, NASCAR announced that the championship race would take place in Phoenix after nearly two decades at Homestead-Miami. The move coincided with $178 million in upgrades to the track facilities. NASCAR had an opportunity to showcase the new track on the schedule, but one of the former drivers did not want to see the championship race remain in Arizona.

“[The championship race] is about the event,” Harvick said prior to the 2020 season, per For The Win. “How many times have you had a crappy Super Bowl, but everybody goes to the Super Bowl because it is an event? That is what we need to create. I love that we are starting to mix it up. I think we need to mix it up more. … People don’t like the same thing. You have to keep their attention. It can’t just be about the cars racing on the race track.”

The move to Arizona brought with it the introduction of a new champion. Chase Elliott won his first Cup Series title after holding off Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin. Now he will try to go back-to-back in 2021 after punching his ticket to the playoffs with a win at Circuit of the Americas.


A Major Selling Point of Phoenix is the Fan Experience

Phoenix Raceway Fans

GettyKyle Busch signs autographs at Phoenix.

The one-mile track in Arizona has several features that make it a prime destination for the fans and the championship race. For example, the upgrades include the luxury suites between Turns 3 and 4 that offer complete views of the action on the track. There is also the massive hill at one end of the facility that provides a unique viewing experience.

“Not only is the weather amazing in Arizona in November, the experience at the race track is second to none,” Giese added. “We redeveloped the track a couple years ago and really made it about the fans. We reinvented that fan experience.

“It was all about immersing our fans into race weekend. I think what makes our sport so great anyway is the access, and just how much you can get into the sport when you’re at the race track and be part of it, for us it was taking that to the next level.”

The massive renovations to Phoenix also included the relocation of the start-finish line. The track designers moved it what used to be Turn 2. This particular spot has a reputation for wild passes and dive-bomb techniques, which only adds to the excitement at the end of races.

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