The field is set.
With one playoff spot up for grabs in the Round of 8 finale at Phoenix Raceway, Brad Keselowski drove his way to the final spot in the Championship 4 at Miami. He will join the three drivers who already had clinched — Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick — in a first-to-the-line championship battle on Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Busch, the 2015 series champion, earned his spot in the Championship 4 by winning the Round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway. Harvick followed suit the next week, winning at Texas — Truex Jr. clinched a spot at Texas, too, on points.
Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson were eliminated after Phoenix. Keselowski entered the race 19 points ahead of Hamlin and 22 points ahead of Blaney. Ellliott and Johnson faced virtual must-win scenarios.
Hamlin erased all of Keselowski’s points lead following the second stage. Finishing second in Stage 1 and winning Stage 2 netted Hamlin 19 points, while Keselowski didn’t earn any stage points. That put the Joe Gibbs Racing driver in primo position to earn his way to Miami, but late contact with Chase Elliott ended his day early.
Elliott, meanwhile, led late before Matt Kenseth made the race-winning pass with 10 laps to go.
The four drivers advancing are:
Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Team Penske Ford
The four drivers not advancing are:
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Chase Elliott, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet