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Chase Elliott finishes his season in fourth after a late-race incident at the championship race
Chase Elliott drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6, 2022, in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

For the third consecutive season, Chase Elliott was part of the Championship Four and had a chance to secure the NASCAR Cup Series title, surviving an up-and-down playoffs this year to feature in the decisive race alongside Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain and Joey Logano.

With a strong qualification at Phoenix Raceway to start in fifth position last Sunday, Elliott looked to bring the championship trophy back to Dawsonville for a second time. 

Back home, scores of locals eagerly made their way to the watch parties at the Dawsonville Pool Room and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

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But the 2022 edition of the championship race was dominated in near wire-to-wire fashion by pole-sitter Logano, who would go on to win his second career Cup Series title. 

Elliott, whose race had been solid — if unspectacular — for the opening 150 laps, needed to make something happen to improve track position. Despite the starting position of fifth, he spent the first half of the race between sixth and 10th. 

Around lap 153, crew chief Alan Gustafson called on Elliott to pit early in the cycle to have fresher tires against others who would not pit before the end of Stage Two.

That would prove to be a positive decision, as Elliott managed to move from the back all the way to 12th at the end of the stage and would not need a long pit stop during the stage caution.

As a result, he took the restart out of pit road in sixth position and looked for room to move up. Within a couple laps of that restart, however, a major incident triggered another restart soon after.

With the green flag waving yet again, Elliott and Chastain tussled for position as the cars went up to four-wide around the first corner. 

Elliott searched for an angle and attempted to slide himself across the nose of Chastain’s car in the hopes that he would lift.

But Chastain did not relent and maintained his position, spinning Elliott into the wall.

While the resulting damage did not take Elliott out of the race completely, it was enough to effectively end his chances of racing back up the field into contention. 

“Proud of my team for the effort they had put in this weekend,” Elliott said. “I felt like we got our car a lot better throughout the race. For that, I think we should be proud.”

At the end of the race, Elliott finished 28th, with Bell in 10th and Chastain in third behind Logano.