In the blink of an eye the 2022 NASCAR season has come to an end. Zane Smith captured his first Truck Series title after finishing 2nd in 2020 and 2021. Ty Gibbs beat the JR Motorsports brigade to win the Xfinity Series championship. Finally, Joey Logano became a two-time Cup Series champion after dominating the finale at Phoenix.
Since 2020, NASCAR has traveled to Avondale, Arizona for the final race of the NASCAR playoffs at Phoenix Raceway. NASCAR had previously crowned its champion at Homestead dating back to 2003. On that day in 2020, Chase Elliott drove away with the title, but many NASCAR fans seemed to like the racing at Phoenix. It was nice to have some change.
Phoenix Raceway will host the season finale once again in 2023, and some of us are starting to get antsy. Fans on social media have described the racing at Phoenix as “boring”. Browsing social media channels, many are wanting the championship race to return to Homestead Miami after the 2023 season. Let’s go through the pros and cons of Phoenix Raceway.
Pro: Newly refurbished venue
Back in 2018, Phoenix Raceway underwent a $178 million dollar renovation. These changes moved the start finish line to the new grandstand and a total flip of the track layout. The venue also is clean and has exciting vantage points for fans to watch the race and enjoy a NASCAR event, including the mountain side that holds breathtaking views of the race track. NASCAR reported that this year's NASCAR Cup Series finale sold out. If NASCAR see’s that an event reaches ticket capacity then they are more than likely to keep the event where it is on the schedule.
Con: Fans are wanting a different finale race
Most NASCAR fans are starting to despise NASCAR’s cookie cutter schedule for the playoffs. In 2023, we have the exact same Playoff schedule, and drivers and fans are starting to complain. With the 2023 schedule having little to no change to the 2022 schedule, this can cause fans to lose interest. Homestead Miami, was a fan favorite track that seemed like a championship race.
Pro: Great Restart Action
The most exciting part about Phoenix in most fan opinions is the exciting 4 wide restarts diving into turn 1. Drivers use the entire track, all the way to the pit wall sometimes. We saw Zane Smith clear Ben Rhodes for the Truck title by using the whole track. Last season, we watched Daniel Hemric win the Xfinity Series championship by a late race restart.
Con: Boring after restarts
While the restarts are exciting, Phoenix is a very flat track and the action tends to die down after 5-10 laps. Also, drivers don’t tend to have issues leading to cautions at this track, to lead to more of the exciting restarts. This can lead viewers to change the channel to a football game being broadcasted at the same time or just losing viewership entirely.
Pro: Quick race
This race flies by fast. The Season Finale at Phoenix is the 2nd shortest race of the year. The 300 mile event is entertaining in the aspect that it feels like an F1 event. F1 is alway an hour and a half, and a NASCAR event in this structure is around the same feeling.
Con: Why Phoenix?
It seems like NASCAR wants to appeal more to a West Coast audience with the LA clash and the project to reconfigure Auto Club. But why Phoenix Raceway. The 1 mile oval was reconfigured in 2018, and NASCAR spent a lot of money on it recently. Could it be that it's the newest NASCAR track? Phoenix is the most out of the way track in the NASCAR circuit. Why not have an event in a more neutral site for more current fans.
Where should the finale be?
In my opinion we should have a rotation of tracks for the Season Finale. It should switch between these tracks:
Homestead Miami Speedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Where do you think the Season finale should be? Let us know on Twitter @burnoutsports_ !!
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