NASCAR Playoffs recap: Cup Series, Championship 4

The Nos. 24, 5, 20 and 12 cars are staged on pit road at Phoenix ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series championship race.
Chris Graythen
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Editor’s note: With Champion’s Week in Nashville ongoing, will look back at every playoff round of the 2023 season in all three national series.

Championship 4: Phoenix Raceway, Nov. 5

Winner: Ross Chastain (race); Ryan Blaney (championship)

Key highlights: William Byron set the tone for the Championship 4 weekend by claiming the Busch Light Pole Award and leading each of the first 92 laps on his way toward winning Stage 1. Christopher Bell, making his second straight appearance in the title round, didn’t make it much further than that. A brake failure at Lap 109 sent his No. 20 Toyota into the Turn 3 wall and ended his shot at the 2023 championship. As Byron’s early speed faded, Ross Chastain moved to the front of the field — while Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Team Penske Ford roared to life. A late caution for a spin by Kyle Busch allowed Kyle Larson’s pit crew to work its magic as Larson leaped ahead of Blaney and stayed ahead of Byron ahead of the race’s final restart with 31 laps to go. But Blaney was able to charge back by Larson in a masterful battle. Chastain sailed to the race win after leading a race-high 157 laps, but Blaney sealed his first NASCAR Cup Series championship with a runner-up finish in the season finale.

Full race recap: Ross Chastain dominates Phoenix Cup finale; Ryan Blaney wins first championship

At-track photos: Best photos from Phoenix

Championship 4 finishes: Kyle Larson (third), William Byron (fourth), Christopher Bell (36th)

Ryan Blaney hoists the Bill France Cup with Steve Phelps.
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