Big Win in Phoenix for Exiting Driver

It’s the final race in the NASCAR season before championship weekend when the Monster Energy Cup Series runs the Can Am 500 from Phoenix Raceway.

Phoenix_Raceway_1989By us44mt – originally posted to Flickr as Phoenix Raceway 1989, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4065657

After winning races in Martinsville and Texas, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have locked in a spot in the final four. Martin Truex Jr is also in the final four after amassing a huge 76 point lead over the remainder of the field. Five drivers – Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, and Denny Hamlin – are competing for a chance to be that final driver to compete for the championship in Miami.

After three rounds of qualifying Ryan Blaney wins the pole and will bring the field to green. This is Blaney’s second career pole.

Ryan_Blaney_Road_America_2015By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901129

The starting lineup for the Can Am 500:
Ryan Blaney
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Matt Kenseth
Kyle Busch
Joey Logano
Daniel Suarez
Erik Jones
Jimmie Johnson
Jamie McMurray
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Kurt Busch
Brad Keselowski
Kasey Kahne
Ryan Newman
Paul Menard
Clint Bowyer
Austin Dillon
Aric Almirola
AJ Allmendinger
Danica Patrick
Trevor Bayne
David Ragan
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ty Dillon
Matt DiBenedetto
Chris Buescher
Landon Cassill
Corey LaJoie
Joey Gase
David Starr
D.J. Kennington
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Kyle Weatherman
Derrike Cope

Stages one and two of the race are 75 laps each with stage three lasting 162 laps for a total of 312 laps for 500 kilometers of racing.

Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and edges out Denny Hamlin for the lead. The drivers get three wide behind him.

Lap four Ryan Blaney holds on to the lead with Chase Elliott is second and Denny Hamlin in third.

Lap six Ryan Blaney has a lead of about a third of a second on Chase Elliott.

Lap 12 Chase Elliott gets around Ryan Blaney to take over the lead of the race with Denny Hamlin in third.

Reporting a tight issue, Ryan Blaney falls to third after Denny Hamlin passes him for second.

Lap 21 Denny Hamlin challenges Chase Elliott for the lead. Kyle Larson is in third place. There are 37 cars on the lead lap. Ryan Blaney has fallen back to sixth place.

Lap 26 Denny Hamlin passes Chase Elliott for the lead but using the cross over move, Elliott retakes the lead of the race…but the battle continues as Hamlin passes to take the lead and pulls away.

Lap 30 Denny Hamlin is in the lead. Chase Elliott has fallen to third after Kyle Larson passes him for second.

Lap 32 there are 35 cars on the lead lap with leader Denny Hamlin over half a second in front of Kyle Larson. Pole sitter Ryan Blaney continues to fall through the field.

Lap 42 Denny Hamlin has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Kyle Larson. There are 30 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 46 Denny Hamlin has increased his lead to nearly two seconds on Kyle Larson with Chase Elliott in third over three seconds behind.

Fifty laps in, Denny Hamlin has a lead of over a second on Kyle Larson with 28 cars on the lead lap. All 40 cars are still on the track.

Lap 53 Denny Hamlin’s lead is now two seconds over Kyle Larson.

Lap 64 Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race but his lead is down to less than a second on Kyle Larson with Chase Elliott in third and Kevin Harvick in fourth. There are 24 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 67 Kyle Larson has pulled to within a quarter of a second behind Denny Johnson.

Lap 68 Kyle Larson passes Denny Hamlin for the lead of the race.

Five laps to go in stage one….Kyle Larson leads with Denny Hamlin in second and Chase Elliott in third.

With three laps remaining in the stage, Kyle Larson’s lead on Denny Hamlin is nearly half a second.

Kyle Larson wins stage one by half a second.

Kyle_Larson_at_the_Daytona_500(1)By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38678934

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Kyle Larson
Denny Hamlin
Chase Elliott
Matt Kenseth
Kevin Harvick
Kyle Busch
Erik Jones
Martin Truex Jr
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson

Denny Hamlin wins the race off of pit road with Matt Kenseth coming out second.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 87 and edges out Matt Kenseth for the lead of the race.

Kyle Busch passes Matt Kenseth to take over the second place spot with Denny Hamlin nearly a second ahead..

Lap 89 the top four are Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Matt Kenseth.

Lap 93 Denny Hamlin has a lead of over half a second on Kyle Larson with Matt Kenseth in third.

Lap 104 Denny Hamlin has a lead of over a second on Matt Kenseth.

Kyle Larson brings his car down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop with a suspected engine issue.

Lap 112 Denny Hamlin continues to lead the race by over a second and a half on Matt Kenseth with Kyle Busch in third. Kyle Larson is the only car off the track.

Kyle Larson is out of the race with a blown engine.

Lap 116 Denny Hamlin has nearly a second and a half lead on Matt Kenseth.

Lap 124 Denny Hamlin is out in front with a lead of less than a second on Matt Kenseth with Kyle Busch in third. There are 21 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 130 Denny Hamlin’s lead is back up to over a second on Matt Kenseth with Kyle Busch over three seconds behind.

Lap 139 Denny Hamlin continues to dominate with the lead of the race.Lap 145 Kenny Hamlin leads with Matt Kenseth in second followed by Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr.

Denny Hamlin wins stage two as the caution flag comes out when Jimmie Johnson hits the wall after blowing a tire.

Jimmie Johnson takes his car to the garage and is out of the race and ending his bid for a chance at a record breaking eighth championship.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Denny Hamlin
Matt Kenseth
Erik Jones
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Newman
Chase Elliott
Clint Bowyer

Denny Hamlin wins the race off of pit road with Matt Kenseth in second.

Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 159 and edges out Matt Kenseth for the lead with Kenseth in second and Kyle Busch in third.

Lap 166 Denny Hamlin has puled out to a half second lead on Matt Kenseth with Martin Truex Jr in third and Kyle Busch in fourth. There are 21 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 171 the top five is Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr, Erik Jones, and Kyle Busch.

Lap 177 Denny Hamlin has a three quarter second lead on Matt Kenseth with Martin Truex Jr in third.

Lap 181 Denny Hamlin has increased his lead to just under a second over Matt Kenseth.

Lap 194 Denny Hamlin has a one second lead on Matt Kenseth with Martin Truex Jr in third.

/Lap 200 Denny Hamlin has a led of just under a second on Matt Kenseth with Martin Truex Jr in third over a second and a half behind. Erik Jones and Kevin Harvick fill out the top five.

Lap 205 Kenny Hamlin continues to lead the race.

With stage three lasting 162 laps, the drivers cannot make it on a single fuel run and will have to make a pit stop for fuel.

Lap 214 Kenny Hamlin is in the lead with Matt Kenseth in second. Third place driver Martin Truex Jr is concerned about his tires and is not pushing Kenseth for the second place stop…yet.

Kyle Busch is reporting a very loose condition after fighting tight conditions earlier in the race.

Ryan Blaney has been reporting a grinding issue in his breaks and is now reporting a vibration when he uses the brakes.

Brad Keselowski is reporting some handing issues with his car.

Lap 224 Denny Hamlin has a lead of over two seconds on Matt Kenseth.

Lap 227 Dale Earnhardt Jr brings his car to pit road with a flat tire. The track stays green.The caution flag comes out on lap 229 when Trevor Bayne hits the wall hard with a flat tire.

Denny Hamlin has led 192 laps of the race so far.

Matt Kenseth wins the race off of pit road with Denny Hamlin coming out in second.

The jack dropped on Denny Hamlin’s car and he left pit road before the crew had completed their work. Hamlin may have a loose lug nut on one of his tires.

With 77 laps remaining in the race, Matt Kenseth brings the field down for the green flag restart and holds on to the lead.

The caution flag comes out with 74 laps remaining in the race for debris on the track – a hose is lying on the racing surface. Dale Earnhardt Jr is the “lucky dog”.

Matt Kenseth chooses the outside line for the restart with only 69 laps remaining in the race and edges out Denny Hamlin to hold on to the lead of the race.

Martin Truex Jr passes Denny Hamlin to take over second place.

With 67 laps remaining in the race Martin Truex Jr challenges Matt Kenseth for the lead but Kenseth holds on and Denny Hamlin gets back around Truex Jr to retake second place.

The caution flag comes out with 61 laps to go when Chris Buescher hits the wall after a tire issue when the brake rotor exploded.

There is a fire with thick black smoke between the safer barrier and the concrete wall.

NASCAR officials quickly extinguish the fire.

NASCAR has displayed the red flag in order to make an inspection of the fire and extinguish a second fire that erupted.

After a short delay under red flag conditions NASCAR displays the caution flag and the cars begin moving. Once pit road opens several of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Matt Kenseth brings the field down for the green flag restart with 54 laps remaining and holds on to the lead of the race.

Chase Elliott passes Denny Hamlin for second place.The caution flag come out with 51 laps remaining when Cole Whitt hits the wall.

Matt Kenseth brings the field down for the green flag restart with 48 laps remaining in the race. Kenseth gets out in front as Chase Elliott and Martin Treux Jr battle it out for second.

Forty five laps to go, Matt Kenseth is in the lead with Martin Truex Jr in second and Denny Hamlin in third with Chase Elliott on his bumper.

Chase Elliott puts the bumper to Denny Hamlin and gets past Hamlin for third. Denny Hamlin brushes the wall and has a smoking tire. In the race at Martinsville, Hamlin wrecked Elliott and there is still some bad blood between the two drivers.

Denny Hamlin is beginning to fall back a bit in the field. Hamlin brings out the caution flag when he blows a tire and gets into the wall. The crowd cheers when Hamlin wrecks.

Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Denny Hamlin is out of the race…and out of the playoffs.

The top five are Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, and Ryan Blaney.

With only 31 laps to go Matt Kenseth brings the field down for the green flag restart. Kurt Busch has damage to his car but the track stays green.

With Matt Kenseth in the lead, Chase Elliott battle Martin Truex Jr for second.

With 28 laps to go, Chase Elliott passes Matt Kenseth for the lead. Elliott has finished a race six times this season.

Twenty six laps to go, Chase Elliott is in the lead with Matt Kenseth in second three quarters of a second behind and Martin Truex Jr in third.

Nineteen to go, Chase Elliott is in the lead by nearly a second on Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr in third. There are 18 cars on the lead lap.

Fifteen to go, Chase Elliott has a half second lead on Matt Kenseth with Martin Truex Jr in third. Erik Jones and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.

With only eleven laps to go Matt Kenseth has caught Chase Elliott and is challenging for the lead.

Matt Kenseth passes Chase Elliott for the lead with only nine laps to go.

Seen to go, Matt Kenseth has a lead of over half a second on Chase Elliott.

Brad Keselowski is reporting overheating issues.

Five to go and Matt Kenseth is pulling away from Chase Elliott with a lead of nearly a second.

Three to go, Matt Kenseth holds on to the lead by nearly a second on Chase Elliott.

Matt Kenseth takes the white flag. He has not won a race in Phoenix in 15 years. Without a ride for next season Matt Kenseth wins the race.

And for the seventh time this season, Chase Elliott comes in second place. This is Kenseth’s first 2017 win.

Matt-kenseth-bristol-2009By Rick R. Duncan – Flickr: matt-kenseth, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14140357

And the final driver in the final four is…Brad Keselowski!

The unofficial results of the Can Am 500:
Matt Kenseth
Chase Elliott
Martin Truex Jr
Erik Jones
Kevin Harvick
Jamie McMurray
Kyle Busch
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Aric Almirola
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Ty Dillon
Joey Logano
Clint Bowyer
Austin Dillon
Paul Menard
Brad Keselowski
Ryan Blaney
Daniel Suarez
Kasey Kahne
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch
Michael McDowell
AJ Allmendinger
Landon Cassill
Danica Patrick
D.J. Kennington
Matt DiBenedetto
David Starr
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Joey Gase
Corey LaJoie
Derrike Cope
David Ragan
Kyle Weatherman
Denny Hamlin
Cole Whitt
Chris Buescher
Trevor Bayne
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Larson

Next week it all comes to a climax when a new Monster Energy Cup champion is crowned in Miami.


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