Denny Hamlin continued to pad his playoff point cushion as he grabbed the Stage 2 win in the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday.
Hamlin remained fourth among Round of 8 playoff drivers in “points as they run” and is in position to advance to the Championship 4 next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stage 2 ended under caution as Jimmie Johnson brought out the yellow flag on Lap 149, one lap before the scheduled end of the stage.
It was Hamlin’s fourth stage win of the season.
Johnson, who was running just outside the top 10, brought out the caution one lap before the scheduled end of Stage 2 on Lap 149, with a blown right tire that forced the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet into the wall. He sustained significant damage to the right side of the car, and headed straight to the garage.
Keselowski, who held the fourth playoff spot heading into the Phoenix race, was the lowest-finishing playoff driver in the stage after Johnson, at 13th place.
Kyle Larson exited the race from second place on Lap 104 with an engine problem. This is his fourth consecutive race that he has not finished this season.
The race is scheduled to end on Lap 312.
|1.||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||10|
|2.||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||9|
|3.||Erik Jones||Furniture Row Racing||8|
|4.||Martin Truex Jr.||Furniture Row Racing||7|
|5.||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||6|
|6.||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||5|
|7.||Jamie McMurray||Chip Ganassi Racing||4|
|8.||Ryan Newman||Richard Childress Racing||3|
|9.||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||2|
|10.||Clint Bowyer||Stewart-Haas Racing||1|
Kyle Larson took the lead on Lap 68 of the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, holding on to win his sixth stage of the season when Stage 1 concluded on Lap 75.
Larson led a charge of four non-playoff drivers finishing in the top 10 of Stage 1.
Denny Hamlin, who held the lead for 41 laps from Lap 28 to 67, finished second in the stage. With his finish in Stage 1, he jumped to just above the cutoff line to advance to the Championship 4 next week in Homestead-Miami Speedway in “points as they run.” Hamlin entered the race 19 points behind Keselowski for the final spot in the Championship 4. He earned nine points in Stage 1, while Keselowski earned zero.
Chase Elliott finished third in Stage 1, followed by non-playoff driver Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.
Ryan Blaney, who began on the pole, dropped back to 14th by the end of Stage 1.
Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time champion, currently is eighth among the Round of 8 drivers, and finished 10th in Stage 1.
Stage 2 ends on Lap 170 of the 312-lap race at the 1-mile track.
|1.||Kyle Larson||Chip Ganassi Racing||10|
|2.||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||9|
|3.||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||8|
|4.||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||7|
|5.||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||6|
|6.||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||5|
|7.||Erik Jones||Furniture Row Racing||4|
|8.||Martin Truex Jr.||Furniture Row Racing||3|
|9.||Ryan Newman||Richard Childress Racing||2|
|10.||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||1|