New winners and contenders shine in 2022 NASCAR Cup Series

There was much talk about parity to start the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season and the number of new winners and weekly top contenders is providing plenty of evidence to back that up.

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With the new debut of the Next Generation race car and its radical technology change, it seemed a prime opportunity was at hand – at least for a while – for a more level playing field throughout the field.

In four races so far, the Cup Series has seen two first-time winners and even though established Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won the other two races, there have been plenty of new faces in contention for wins.

Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway saw both – as Chase Briscoe earned his first career victory after struggling through a difficult rookie season in 2021.

Chastain and Reddick remain strong

In addition, for the second consecutive race, Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick both finished in the top-10 and both are in the top-14 of the series standings.

Chastain, driving his first season for Trackhouse Racing, ended up second on Sunday, one week after finishing third at Las Vegas. He sits 14th in points.

“That was so much fun to get to race like that at this level,” Chastain said. “Trackhouse Racing believes in me. These people, they believed in me early in the season whenever stuff wasn’t going great. If we can keep putting these together, that’s so cool to race with Tyler and Chase.

“That’s everything I’ve ever wanted. … We came up one spot short. But I’m so happy.”

For Reddick, Sunday’s race was his third consecutive where he has run up front.

At Fontana, Calif., two weeks ago, he won both stages in the race before getting caught up in an accident in the final stage. He was finished seventh last weekend at Las Vegas and ended up third Sunday at Phoenix.

Reddick has jumped from 33rd to ninth in points in four races.

“It was a lot of fun. Great to claw back from the hiccup we had earlier in the race,” Reddick said. “Everyone on this team did a really good job all day. One little miscue that took us from second to 12th (a long pit stop due to an issue on the left-side of car).

“My pit crew did an amazing job, had a good restart at the end to put ourselves in position. Nice way to recover from a mistake that late in the race – battling for the win. Great day.”

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Reddick said he did everything he could on the final restart with three of 312 laps remaining to catch Briscoe for the lead.

“I thought we got a good launch considering all things going right there into (Turn) 1. I know about how deep I could drive it in Turn 1 all day,” he said. “I thought I got pretty good heat in the tires. I still overstepped it. I couldn’t have drove it any deeper than I did.

“I still thought I was going to get him in the fence. Chase was able to drive it off in there, clear high (and) take the lead.”

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