By finishing first and second in the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch joined Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards in the Championship 4 competing for the title in Homestead. That doesn’t tell half the story however of a dramatic conclusion to a crucial race.
Matt Kenseth had looked like he was going to occupy one of the 2 remaining Chase spots, leading most of the final stages of the race, with Joey Logano and Kyle Busch set to go to a tiebreaker on points. Just before Matt Kenseth was set to take the white flag however, the caution came out for a crash by Michael McDowell, and suddenly we had an overtime situation.
Kenseth led on the restart, but Alex Bowman, who had earlier led over 190 laps in a superb performance, spun his tires from 2nd, and tried to block from Kyle Busch heading into turn 1. Contact was made, sending Bowman too quickly into the corner, and straight into Kenseth, who had been told by his spotter that he was all clear. Kenseth was left in the wall and out of the Chase, whilst Logano and Busch got through the carnage to take the top 2 spots.
Behind them, Kyle Larson finished an excellent 3rd, whilst teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, who both had to win to make the final 4, just missed out in 4th and 5th. Bowman eventually finished 6th after his late dramas, with Denny Hamlin’s 7th place finish not enough to see him through to Homestead.
Ryan Blaney picked up his first top 10 in 8 races in 8th, whilst fellow rookie Chase Elliott picked up the 17th top 10 of his superb debut season in 9th. Rounding out the top 10 was Paul Menard with a solid effort for Richard Childress Racing.
For the final 4 drivers, each has a story to tell as to why they should be crowned the 2016 champion next weekend.
Jimmie Johnson aims to create history by tying Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty on 7 championships. Kyle Busch will look to defend his 2015 title. Joey Logano will look to make up for the heartbreak of missing out last year after a dominant season and finally, Carl Edwards will look to win the crown he lost on a tiebreaker in 2011 to Tony Stewart in perhaps the most dramatic Sprint Cup race ever.
It all makes for what promises to be an exciting and memorable conclusion to the 2016 season.
Image – NASCAR.com
|Top 10 Results||Championship 4|
|1. Joey Logano
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Larson
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Kurt Busch
6. Alex Bowman
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Ryan Blaney
9. Chase Elliott
10. Paul Menard