Championship 4 crew chiefs treating this weekend like any other in the season

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 08: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and crew chief Paul Wolfe talk on the grid during practice for NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 08, 2022 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

The four championship-eligible NASCAR Cup Series crew chiefs spoke with the media on Friday: for the most part presenting a very calm decisive air.

Of the four, Phil Surgen, crew chief on the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet driven by Ross Chastain, will be making his crew chief debut in the Championship 4, although he has worked as an engineer on a championship-eligible car before.

“It’s exciting, obviously we work our whole lives, careers to be here,” said Surgen, whose No. 1 Chevrolet was quickest in Friday’s one and only NASCAR Cup Series practice but qualified 25th for the race – slowest among the Championship 4.

“Try to treat it as any other race weekend. For us, all the goals are the same, we want to show up, be the fastest, win the race. In that regard, it’s very similar to every other week.”

The other three crew chiefs – Paul Wolfe (Joey Logano), Alan Gustafson (Chase Elliott) and Adam Stevens (Christopher Bell) – have not only competed in the Championship 4 Round previously but have all won NASCAR Cup Series championships.

Wolfe, who won a championship trophy in 2012 with then-Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski, comes in with the most opportunity to prepare for Phoenix since Logano was the first Championship 4 qualifier. And it was rewarded. Logano won the pole position for the race on Friday and will lead the field to green.

“Obviously, we have had a lot of time,” Wolfe said. “We’ve tried to make the most of that. As you know, seems like there’s never enough time in the day when you’re preparing for any race. The extra couple weeks was nice.

“We had a good plan. I think Team Penske as a whole and I was very pleased with how our teammates stepped up and were able to help us and work together.”