“Through the Field” is a seasonal column by Elliot Hicks. It follows the NASCAR season and provides broad driver analysis to support Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and NASCAR betting. Elliot is in his third season writing the column and sharing his perspective on life with the In-Between Media community. This week, he analyzes Ross Chastain’s risky move in the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville. He also shares his NASCAR DFS and betting picks ahead of Championship Weekend.
Life is all about making the right decisions but taking the calculated risks when you need to.
That’s about the simplest way to sum up Ross Chastain’s incredible decision. Going, putting it bluntly, absolutely balls (and car)-to-the-wall in the final corners at Martinsville during the Cup Series race, advancing the positions he needed to qualify for the Championship 4 at Phoenix.
Chastain knew he needed to gain two more positions, so he made the choice to slam into the wall at speed and ride around to pass the necessary cars. And unbelievably, it worked.
I’m sure that risk was calculated, and it was certainly drastic, but it paid off. The sacrifice of taking the hit and heavily damaging the car was worth it. So, too, are the big risks you can take in your life. May they work out as well as Chastain’s did.
With the NASCAR season wrapping up across all three series this weekend at Phoenix, here’s my pick for the champions.
NASCAR Cup Series: Christopher Bell
I can easily see any of the Championship 4 (Christopher Bell, Chastain, Chase Elliott or Joey Logano) winning this race. But Bell has had perhaps the most clutch performances in playoff history in 2022.
His No. 20 team needed to win to advance at both the Charlotte Roval and Martinsville, and they did it. The hot streak will continue, and Bell will be the 2022 champion.
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Noah Gragson
It’s a JR Motorsports trio, along with Ty Gibbs in the Xfinity Series Championship 4, and Noah Gragson will end his tenure at JRM with a title.
He’s been the most dominant driver all season and has performed more consistently than his teammates Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry. With that and Gibbs having a target on his back after his actions at Martinsville, Gragson will roll to the title.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Ben Rhodes
Ben Rhodes wasn’t the championship favorite last season, and he isn’t again this season, as he just barely scratched his way into the title race. But Rhodes has the consistency, drive and focus needed to win this race. Plus, he’s one of the veteran drivers in the series now. A second consecutive title will ascend him to become a series legend. If it’s not him, though, it will be his ThorSport teammate Ty Majeski.