Kyle Busch wins in Phoenix, Harvick keeps hopes alive

Speedcafe.com

Monday 12th November, 2018 - 2:48pm

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Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch has qualified for NASCAR’s Championship 4 by winning the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix as Kevin Harvick rallied from a lap down to rescue his title hopes.

Harvick and Martin Truex Jnr both earned a Playoff spot at Homestead-Miami on points after a tumultuous week for the former, who lost the benefit of his win in Texas seven days prior due to a technical infringement which also dropped him perilously close to the cutline.

He was looking good to put that right in Phoenix until his #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford picked up a flat with just laps remaining in Stage 1 of the race.

Harvick had led every lap from pole but ceded first position to Chase Elliott moments before the problem became apparent and then dropped off the lead lap.

He took the restart for Stage 2 in 29th position but made light work of moving into the free pass position, which paid off when Joey Logano’s left-rear tyre went down and pitched the #22 Team Penske Ford into the wall.

Logano was classified 37th at the end, but was already safe by virtue of his win in Martinsville.

Harvick went on to finish the stage in fourth position and the eventually race in fifth.

Elliott won Stage 1 and held the same position for the restart, but for less than a lap as Kurt Busch got past in the #41 Ford.

Clint Bowyer’s championship hopes came to a jarring end on Lap 133 when he too lost a tyre and the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford ended up in the wall, having been running inside the top 10.

Kurt Busch, who had by then been leading for 50 laps, responded to the Caution caused by his team-mate by dropping into pit lane but passed the Safety Car in doing so and was penalised.

Truex Jnr (#78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota) inherited top spot by staying out but was soon passed by eventual stage winner Kyle Busch.

The latter remained on-track in the stage break and led until Lap 225 when Elliott, who had pitted between stages, got by.

However, he was penalised only a handful of laps later for speeding in pit lane as he attempted to take advantage of a Caution, leaving Brad Keselowski out in front in the #2 Team Penske Ford.

That was until a red flag on Lap 264 when Ricky Stenhouse Jnr clouted the wall and his #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford dropped oil on the circuit.

The subsequent restart accounted for Kurt Busch’s and Elliott’s seasons after Denny Hamlin (#11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) made side-to-side contact with the former as they battled for the lead.

Kurt Busch hit the wall then spun down and damage Elliott’s #9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, bringing an end to the afternoon for Car #41 while Elliott could only finish three laps down in 23rd.

Kyle Busch overtook Erik Jones not long after the race got going again and the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was not headed thereafter.

Keselowski finished half a second back in second position and Kyle Larson (#42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) took third.

Fourth was not enough for Aric Almirola (#10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford) to advance but 14th was for 2017 champion Truex Jnr.

The 2018 champion will be decided at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend (November 16-18 local time).

Replay: Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Elliott crash

Race highlights

Results: Can-Am 500, Phoenix Raceway

Pos Num Driver Make Laps Led Status
1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 312 117 Running
2 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 312 32 Running
3 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 312 0 Running
4 10 Aric Almirola Ford 312 0 Running
5 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 312 73 Running
6 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 312 0 Running
7 6 Matt Kenseth Ford 312 0 Running
8 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 312 0 Running
9 24 William Byron Chevrolet 312 0 Running
10 43 Bubba Wallace Chevrolet 312 0 Running
11 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 312 0 Running
12 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet 312 0 Running
13 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 312 0 Running
14 78 Martin Truex Jnr Toyota 312 8 Running
15 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 312 0 Running
16 34 Michael McDowell Ford 311 0 Running
17 20 Erik Jones Toyota 310 11 Running
18 37 Chris Buescher Chevrolet 310 0 Running
19 13 Ty Dillon Chevrolet 310 0 Running
20 38 David Ragan Ford 310 0 Running
21 32 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 310 0 Running
22 95 Regan Smith Chevrolet 310 0 Running
23 9 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 309 16 Running
24 15 Ross Chastain Chevrolet 309 0 Running
25 72 Cole Whitt Chevrolet 309 0 Running
26 00 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 308 0 Running
27 7 DJ Kennington Chevrolet 306 0 Running
28 51 Cody Ware Chevrolet 306 0 Running
29 21 Paul Menard Ford 303 0 Running
30 88 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 285 0 Crash
31 97 Tanner Berryhill Toyota 283 0 Crash
32 41 Kurt Busch Ford 272 52 Crash
33 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jnr Ford 262 0 Crash
34 12 Ryan Blaney Ford 237 3 Radiator
35 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 133 0 Crash
36 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 96 0 Crash
37 22 Joey Logano Ford 95 0 Crash
38 23 JJ Yeley Toyota 88 0 Oil leak
39 66 Timmy Hill Toyota 40 0 Oil leak

Standings

Pos Driver Pts Gap Starts Wins Playoff pts
1 Joey Logano 5000   35 2 15
2 Kyle Busch 5000   35 8 55
3 Martin Truex Jnr 5000   35 4 38
4 Kevin Harvick 5000   35 8 54
5 Chase Elliott 2320 -2680 35 3 0
6 Kurt Busch 2318 -2682 35 1 0
7 Aric Almirola 2316 -2684 35 1 0
8 Brad Keselowski 2309 -2691 35 3 0
9 Ryan Blaney 2278 -2722 35 1 0
10 Kyle Larson 2256 -2744 35 0 0
11 Denny Hamlin 2252 -2748 35 0 0
12 Clint Bowyer 2242 -2758 35 2 0
13 Austin Dillon 2219 -2781 35 1 0
14 Jimmie Johnson 2217 -2783 35 0 0
15 Erik Jones 2207 -2793 35 1 0
16 Alex Bowman 2196 -2804 35 0 0
17 Ryan Newman 747 -4253 35 0 0
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jnr 680 -4320 35 0 0
19 Paul Menard 680 -4320 35 0 0
20 Daniel Suarez 667 -4333 35 0 0
21 Jamie McMurray 664 -4336 35 0 0
22 AJ Allmendinger 585 -4415 35 0 0
23 William Byron 574 -4426 35 0 0
24 Chris Buescher 571 -4429 35 0 0
25 David Ragan 507 -4493 35 0 0
26 Michael McDowell 484 -4516 35 0 0
27 Ty Dillon 467 -4533 35 0 0
28 Bubba Wallace 455 -4545 35 0 0
29 Kasey Kahne 358 -4642 25 0 0
30 Matt DiBenedetto 357 -4643 35 0 0
31 Trevor Bayne 287 -4713 21 0 0
32 Matt Kenseth 237 -4763 14 0 0
33 Regan Smith 156 -4844 10 0 0
34 Corey LaJoie 141 -4859 22 0 0
35 Cole Whitt 132 -4868 13 0 0
36 Gray Gaulding 119 -4881 20 0 0
37 Jeffrey Earnhardt 110 -4890 17 0 0
38 Kyle Weatherman 32 -4968 6 0 0
39 Harrison Rhodes 24 -4976 6 0 0
40 Blake Jones 21 -4979 3 0 0
41 Mark Thompson 15 -4985 1 0 0
42 Cody Ware 11 -4989 4 0 0
43 Derrike Cope 8 -4992 3 0 0
44 Chris Cook 6 -4994 1 0 0
45 Tomy Drissi 5 -4995 1 0 0
46 Danica Patrick 2 -4998 1 0 0
47 Alon Day 1 -4999 1 0 0
48 Stanton Barrett 1 -4999 1 0 0
49 Hermie Sadler 1 -4999 1 0 0
50 Brendan Gaughan 0 -5000 4 0 0
51 Justin Marks 0 -5000 3 0 0
52 DJ Kennington 0 -5000 10 0 0
53 David Gilliland 0 -5000 1 0 0
54 Ray Black Jnr 0 -5000 1 0 0
55 JJ Yeley 0 -5000 17 0 0
56 Landon Cassill 0 -5000 28 0 0
57 Ross Chastain 0 -5000 33 0 0
58 Joey Gase 0 -5000 8 0 0
59 Parker Kligerman 0 -5000 4 0 0

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