Phoenix NASCAR: Hamlin saves title bid with win, Logano eliminated

Jake Nichol
Hamlin saves title bid with win, Logano eliminated
Hamlin saves title bid with win, Logano eliminated

Denny Hamlin survived a late restart in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix to claim his sixth win of the season and secure a spot in the championship shootout.

He will go up against Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick for the title at Homestead next weekend, with reigning champion Joey Logano among those eliminated at the penultimate round.

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After dominating the third stage of the 312-lap event, Hamlin held a 10-second lead on Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Busch with just a handful of laps to run when a caution was thrown due to John Hunter Nemecheck hitting the wall.

Hamlin's pace had been such that only seven cars were left on the lead lap. He led the septet into the pitlane, where his crew fitted his Toyota Camry with just left-side tyres, the #11 emerging just ahead of Ryan Blaney and Busch.

On a three-lap sprint to the line, Hamlin was untroubled as he secured JGR's 18th win in 35 Cup races in 2019, and himself passage to the finale at Homestead next Sunday - an outcome that had looked unlikely after his crash at Texas a week ago.

Polesitter Busch ran strongly throughout the race and will also advance via his points tally - his result and Truex's Martinsville win meaning JGR will have three of the four drivers in title contention, with Stewart-Haas Racing's Harvick the only interloper.

Blaney was edged out by Busch on the late restart to claim third for Team Penske's Ford Mustang with Kyle Larson the highest Chevrolet Camaro finisher in fourth for Ganassi. Both drivers had been championship contenders heading to Phoenix but were eliminated.

With their places already secure in the championship race, Harvick and Truex had quiet runs to fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of Erik Jones and Clint Bowyer.

Hamlin saves title bid with win, Logano eliminated
Hamlin saves title bid with win, Logano eliminated

After winning the second 75-lap stage, reigning Cup champion Logano was looking good in his bid to advance through to Homestead but his race fell apart during the third stage.

The champion's #22 Mustang dropped through the pack, lacking in pace, with Logano describing his car as "tight" post-race.

Had Hamlin not won the race, then Logano would have taken his place, but the Penske driver could only manage a ninth-place finish ahead of team-mate Brad Keselowski and cannot defend his 2018 title.

Chase Elliott's slim hopes of a spot in the final title showdown were ended early on when he crashed into the barrier in his Hendrick Chevrolet.

Race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Laps

Gap

1

Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

312

2h48m00.s

2

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

312

0.377s

3

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Ford

312

1.365s

4

Kyle Larson

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

312

1.401s

5

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

312

1.947s

6

Martin Truex Jr.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

312

2.174s

7

Erik Jones

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

312

2.361s

8

Clint Bowyer

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

312

2.458s

9

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Ford

312

3.199s

10

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

312

5.351s

11

Kurt Busch

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

312

5.524s

12

Paul Menard

Wood Brothers Racing

Ford

312

5.954s

13

Matt DiBenedetto

Leavine Family Racing

Toyota

312

6.041s

14

Jimmie Johnson

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

312

6.495s

15

Daniel Suarez

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

312

6.795s

16

Chris Buescher

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

311

1 Lap

17

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

311

1 Lap

18

Ryan Newman

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

311

1 Lap

19

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

311

1 Lap

20

Ty Dillon

Germain Racing

Chevrolet

311

1 Lap

21

Daniel Hemric

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

311

1 Lap

22

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

310

2 Laps

23

Alex Bowman

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

310

2 Laps

24

Austin Dillon

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

309

3 Laps

25

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Richard Petty Motorsports

Chevrolet

308

4 Laps

26

Ryan Preece

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

307

5 Laps

27

John Hunter Nemechek

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

307

5 Laps

28

Ross Chastain

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

307

5 Laps

29

J.J. Yeley

Rick Ware Racing

Ford

306

6 Laps

30

Michael McDowell

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

306

6 Laps

31

Garrett Smithley

Petty Ware Racing

Chevrolet

304

8 Laps

32

Bayley Currey

Rick Ware Racing

Chevrolet

304

8 Laps

33

Landon Cassill

StarCom Racing

Chevrolet

303

9 Laps

34

Joe Nemechek

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

296

16 Laps

35

Corey LaJoie

Go FAS Racing

Ford

294

18 Laps

36

David Ragan

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

261

Suspension

37

Reed Sorenson

Spire Motorsports

Chevrolet

226

Brakes

38

Joey Gase

MBM Motorsports

Toyota

170

Engine

39

Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

165

Accident

Playoff standings

Pos

Driver

Points

1

Denny Hamlin

5000

2

Kevin Harvick

5000

3

Martin Truex Jr.

5000

4

Kyle Busch

5000


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