Matt Kenseth wins, but Brad Keselowski advances to championship — NASCAR at Phoenix

Credit Brian Lawdermilk  Getty Images

Credit Brian Lawdermilk Getty Images

35 laps to go: Denny Hamlin's chances of advancing go up in smoke as his tire blows and his vehicle slams the wall. He advances into the final round of the Chase at Homestead, and will race for the championship. As a result, Hamlin, like Elliott, was eliminated from the playoffs.

Hamlin starts second, Elliott fourth, Johnson 12th and Keselwoski 15th. Scalding hot brake rotors from Chris Buescher's auto flew in between the SAFER barriers on the outside wall as Buescher had a mechanical failure that caused an accident.

Hamlin stays out, as does Kenseth (first), Elliott (fourth), Blaney (fifth) and Keselowski (seventh). He led for 193 of 312 laps. Hamlin hesitated pulling out of his pit stop, not getting a signal when pit service was completed.

Hamlin leads in the final 100 laps, though the cars have not yet pitted in the final segment.

Busch, the 2015 series champion, earned his spot in the Championship 4 by winning the Round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway. Which will be hard to do, particularly in the case of Blaney who will at least start the day P1 since he is on the pole.

Johnson crashed on Lap 150 and has been eliminated from contention. Elliott kept his cool at Texas but with his spot in the title race on the line, Elliott tagged Hamlin, then passed Matt Kenseth for the lead with just under 40 laps to go. Keselowski finished 16th, and while Chase Elliott finished second, Keselowski's points advantage proved enough. Blaney finished the stage in 13th.

In total, Toyotas held the top five spots at the end of Stage 2.

Championship contender Jimmie Johnson's chances of an eighth Cup Series title ended with a right-front tire problem that sent him into the wall with one lap remaining in the second stage. He also led more than half of the opening stage.

Matt Kenseth won the checkered flag at the Can-Am 500 from Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Needing a win to advance to the Championship Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19, Hamlin took his vehicle to the garage. Keselowski ran outside the top 15 the entire stage and did not earn any points.

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