Tha Sports Junkies 101

Phoenix Preview: Who Will Make the Championship 4?

Photo by Zachary Pennington via Flickr


With Kevin Harvick’s win in Texas, both himself and Martin Truex Jr. will join Kyle Busch in the Championship 4 at Homestead. Only 1 spot remains heading into the Phoenix elimination race. With this in mind, who will be the 4th championship contender? Let’s take an in-depth look at the remaining 5 drivers in the Playoffs and their chances at Phoenix.

Brad Keselowski (+19)

The 2012 champion is currently above the cut line by 19 points. While he may not have a win at Phoenix, a solid run will secure his position in Homestead. However, Brad will be eliminated if anyone below him in points wins at Phoenix. Keselowski and the 2 team are far from safe heading into elimination weekend.

Denny Hamlin (-19)

1 career win and 445 laps led at Phoenix should have Hamlin confident this weekend. But, his team has been lacking in execution compared to his Toyota counterparts. While Hamlin was 1 lap away from winning Martinsville, Texas was an up-and-down day for team 11. At a 19 point deficit, Hamlin is looking at a must-win or major troubles for Keselowski in order to advance. The Virginia driver did make the Championship 4 in 2014 and finished 3rd in points.

Ryan Blaney (-22)

So far this Playoff season, Ryan Blaney has been the underdog story. With Round of 8 finishes of 8th and 6th, Blaney has shattered all expectations of the ‘sophomore slump.’ In 2017, Blaney has 1 win, 14 top 10s, and 290 laps led. However, at 22 points below the cut line, Blaney is in all but a must-win scenario if he wants to make the Championship 4.

Chase Elliott (-49)

After the agonizing loss in Martinsville, Chase Elliott was able to rebound with a solid 8th-place run at Texas.  Elliott’s stats at Phoenix are in his favor. In 3 starts at the Arizona track, he has 2 top 10s, an average finish of 9.7, and 106 laps led. But due to the dismal 27th-place finish 2 weeks ago, Elliott must win his way to championship contention in Miami.

Jimmie Johnson (-51)

The 7-time champion had a shockingly disappointing day in Texas after an average day at Martinsville. His 2 finishes were 12th and 27th, respectively. This lack of performance or execution has Johnson and the 48 team facing elimination in Phoenix. His only hope at making the Championship 4 again is to win Phoenix, which he has done 4 times before.

Don’t miss this weekend’s Playoff elimination action at Phoenix International Raceway. The Can-Am 500 will be live on Sunday, November 12. Coverage will be on NBC, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.