AVONDALE, Ariz. (WFXR/AP) — A week after clinching a spot in the Championship 4 with a win at Martinsville, Ryan Blaney captured the NASCAR Cup Series title, finishing ahead of Kyle Larson, William Byron and Christopher Bell.

The driver of the No. 12 car earned his first Cup championship and the second consecutive for Team Penske after Joey Logano won in 2022. He’s the first Ohio-born driver to win the Cup title. It was an amazing finish for Ford Performance, which struggled most of the season but came on late with Blaney, who won two of the final five playoff races.

“What a year,” a tearful Blaney said after finishing second to Ross Chastain. “Congrats, RP. Thanks for giving me a shot.”

Blaney placed second behind Ross Chastain, who captured the checkered flag at Phoenix Raceway. It’s the first time a non-Final Four driver won the season finale since the format was introduced in 2014.

Larson and William Byron finished third and fourth for Hendrick Motorsports, while Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing finished last in the 36-car field with a broken brake rotor. They were the only four drivers eligible for the title Sunday and the championship was guaranteed to the highest finisher of the group.