Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin divide stage wins in Phoenix playoff race

Staff Report

Joey Logano lunged to the lead at the start of Stage 2 and stormed to his 11th stage win of the Monster Energy Series season Sunday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

RELATED: Stage 2 results | Live standings

Logano’s Team Penske No. 22 Ford led 68 laps and was ahead by .940 seconds when the green-checkered flag flew at Lap 150.

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Stage 1 winner Denny Hamlin took second place after a fierce battle with Chase Elliott in Stage 2, fighting through a late-developing vibration on the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota. Elliott wound up finishing third as he faced a must-win situation to keep the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 team’s playoff hopes alive.

Eight drivers remain alive in the playoff hunt, and they made a clean sweep of the top eight at the second stage break. The field will be trimmed to the final four by the checkered flag. That Championship 4 group will compete for the title in next Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A total of 312 laps make up the scheduled distance in Sunday’s Round of 8 finale.

Driver

Team

Pts

1

Joey Logano (P)

Team Penske

10

2

Denny Hamlin (P)

Joe Gibbs Racing

9

3

Chase Elliott (P)

Hendrick Motorsports

8

4

Kyle Busch (P)

Joe Gibbs Racing

7

5

Ryan Blaney (P)

Team Penske

6

6

Martin Truex Jr. (P)

Joe Gibbs Racing

5

7

Kevin Harvick (P)

Stewart-Haas Racing

4

8

Kyle Larson (P)

Chip Ganassi Racing

3

9

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

2

10

Kurt Busch

Chip Ganassi Racing

1

STAGE 1

Denny Hamlin emerged with a Stage 1 win after a late-stage restart Sunday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Hamlin led just the final three of the 75 laps in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota, sealing his sixth stage win of the season. Chase Elliott jumped up to finish second in the stage in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet.

Kyle Busch won the Busch Pole Award in Saturday’s qualifying and kept up his speed early in the Bluegreen Vacations 500 by leading the opening 69 laps. Busch is targeting his third consecutive victory for the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team at the 1-mile Arizona track, but he was boxed in when Brad Keselowski and William Byron stayed out on older tires during the stage’s only caution period. He settled for third at the stage break

RELATED: Stage 1 results

Joey Logano took fourth and Kyle Larson fifth in a top-five sweep by postseason-eligible drivers. Eight drivers remain alive in the playoff hunt, and they were among the top 11 at the first stage break.

The lone caution period of the stage flew on Lap 66 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s No. 17 Ford crunched the outside wall in Turn 4. All the postseason contenders pitted, exiting in nearly the same order they entered.

Driver

Team

Pts

1

Denny Hamlin (P)

Joe Gibbs Racing

10

2

Chase Elliott (P)

Hendrick Motorsports

9

3

Kyle Busch (P)

Joe Gibbs Racing

8

4

Joey Logano (P)

Team Penske

7

5

Kyle Larson (P)

Chip Ganassi Racing

6

6

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

5

7

Ryan Blaney (P)

Team Penske

4

8

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports

3

9

Kevin Harvick (P)

Stewart-Haas Racing

2

10

Kurt Busch

Chip Ganassi Racing

1

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