Championship 4 Lineup Set for Homestead as Joey Logano Wins Phoenix

The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup‘s Round of 8 comes to an end with the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Coming off of a rain-shortened Carl Edwards victory in Texas, two spots remain in the Championship 4 in Homestead. Standing in for Dale Earnhardt Jr.Alex Bowman would start the race on the pole in his home state of Arizona. At the conclusion of an exciting race, with the Championship 4 lineup set, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves on to Homestead to decide the 2016 Cup champion.

Championship 4 Lineup Set for Homestead as Joey Logano Wins Phoenix

Race Recap

The race would begin with an accident, as Kyle Larson makes contact with Championship 4 hopeful Joey Logano and spins. This would be an early scare for Logano as he fights for a chance to compete for his first championship. Bowman would go on to dominate the early portion of the race, not surrendering the lead until lap 94 to Logano. A failed attempt for Bowman to retake the lead would allow Jimmie Johnson, locked into the Championship 4 after winning Martinsville, to fight for the lead. After a debris caution with Johnson leading, he would be penalized for passing the pit car going into the pits. This would allow Bowman to retake control of the race, as Phoenix favourite Kevin Harvick finally moves into the top ten around the 200 lap mark.

More cautions and pit strategy would see Bowman fall back and allow Chase drivers such as Denny Hamlin to compete for a spot in the Championship 4. With 40 laps remaining, the top six drivers were all fighting for a spot in the championship battle in homestead: Matt Kenseth, Logano, Kurt BuschKyle Busch, Hamlin, and Harvick. As Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and Logano dominate much of the late race, it would be up to Bowman to catch up and spoil the Chase party. With two laps remaining, Michael McDowell would bring out the yellow with an accident. The first attempt at overtime would see Bowman wrecking Kenseth while trying to block Kyle Busch as Kenseth’s spotter told him he was clear. This accident would mark the end of Kenseth’s championship hopes. With Kenseth and Bowman out of the way, Joey Logano would claim the victory in Phoenix, advancing to Homestead.

Can-Am 500 Top 10

  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

Championship 4: Homestead Preview

For the first time in the history of Sprint Cup elimination Chase rules, Kevin Harvick has been eliminated from championship contention. This is welcome to the remaining drivers, as Harvick is a strong force at Homestead. The final four features two previous champions in Johnson and Busch. Johnson stands to win his seventh championship, tying Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most titles in Cup Series history. Busch is looking to defend his 2015 title in Homestead, as Edwards and Logano look to claim their first.

Logano will enter the season finale with the greatest momentum. However, Johnson is the most proven champion of the group. Busch is never one to back down from a chance to shine, and Edwards has much to prove after a team change. In conclusion, each driver has very strong and clear reasons why they should and could claim the 2016 Sprint Cup. The Chase elimination format brings each of these individual stories and characters into a final battle. Phoenix was an exhilarating race just to qualify for the championship round. With Homestead deciding the championship, look for an even more exciting battle for the title.

Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship 4 After Phoenix

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Carl Edwards
  4. Kyle Busch