Championship 4 set following Round of 8 finale at Phoenix

Ross Houston
November 13, 2017

Hamlin is one of five drivers trying to secure the last open spot in next week's championship race.

First, the singularly happy one: Brad Keselowski. A win in that race, much like a win on Sunday, would have locked Elliott into the final round of the playoffs. And in doing so, he spoiled the title hopes of Chase Elliott.

Keselowski was the lowest finishing playoff driver, placing 17th.

Too expensive to land a competitive ride for next season, Kenseth has chose to take time away rather than drive a auto that can't win races.

Brad Keselowski took advantage of Denny Hamlin's DNF to punch his ticket to Homestead-Miami Speedway with Kyle Busch (win at Martinsville), Kevin Harvick (win at Texas) and Martin Truex Jr.

Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway ended with Matt Kenseth taking the checkered flag - a finish that was equally unexpected and ideal. The race was dominated by Denny Hamlin, who was unable to finish the race, yet still led 191 of the 275 laps he was on the track for.

Hamlin erased all of Keselowski's points lead following the second stage.

Brad Keselowski now holds the fourth spot heading into the race.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver would lead 19 laps after that incident, but fall into the clutches of Matt Kenseth and lose the lead.

Matt Kenseth won the checkered flag at the Can-Am 500 from Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon. He ran down Elliott and passed him easily to cruise to the 39th win of his career. Still, this win is a nice send-off for the former champion.

35 laps to go: Denny Hamlin's chances of advancing go up in smoke as his tire blows and his vehicle slams the wall.

Hamlin leads in the final 100 laps, though the cars have not yet pitted in the final segment. Hamlin ruined Elliott's chances at his first career victory in the Round of 8 opener at Martinsville, putting him into the wall in the final laps two weeks ago.

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