Chase Grid and Clinch Scenarios
With only one race left in the Round of 8, here’s how the Chase Grid looks heading into Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway: Jimmie Johnson (clinched Championship 4 berth with win at Martinsville), Carl Edwards (clinched Championship 4 berth with win at Texas), Joey Logano (one point ahead of Matt Kenseth on the cutoff line), Kyle Busch (+1), Matt Kenseth (-1), Denny Hamlin (-2), Kevin Harvick (-18), Kurt Busch (-34).
Logano is ahead of Busch because his highest Round of 8 finish is second (Texas) compared to Busch’s highest Round of 8 finish of fifth (Martinsville and Texas).
Below are the Championship 4 clinch scenarios:
Logano (0 Wins, 4074 Points) – Would clinch on points with a second-place finish and at least one lap led. With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Kyle Busch (0 Wins, 4074 Points) - Would clinch on points with a second-place finish and the most laps led. With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
The following drivers can only guarantee a clinch with a win. The could also clinch on points with help:
Kenseth (0 Wins, 4073 Points)
Hamlin (0 Wins, 4072 Points)
Harvick (0 Wins, 4056 Points)
Kurt Busch (0 Wins, 4040 Points)
From Eight To Four: The Pressure Is On At Phoenix
After Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field will shrink from eight to four. Here’s how all of the drivers have fared at the one-mile Arizona track.
1. Jimmie Johnson (clinched Championship 4 berth with win at Martinsville) – In 26 starts at Phoenix, Johnson boasts four wins (second-most in track history), 15 top fives, 19 top 10s and a 7.9 average finish (best among active drivers). The No. 48 Chevrolet driver has not won at Phoenix since the track was repaved in 2011.
2. Carl Edwards (clinched Championship 4 berth with win at Texas) – Edwards has two wins, eight top fives and 13 top 10s in 24 starts at Phoenix. He finished runner-up at the one-mile track in March in an extremely tight finish where Kevin Harvick beat him to the stripe by .010 seconds – the closest margin of victory in track history.
3. Joey Logano (one point ahead of Matt Kenseth on the cutoff line) – In 15 starts at Phoenix, Logano claims no wins, three top fives, eight top 10s and a 14.0 average finish. Before finishing 18th at the one-mile track in March, he posted five consecutive top-10 finishes there.
4. Kyle Busch (+1) – Busch owns one win, five top fives and 14 top 10s in 22 starts at Phoenix. He has finished fourth in his last two races at the desert track.
5. Matt Kenseth (one point below Kyle Busch on the cutoff line) – In 27 Phoenix starts, Kenseth has one win, six top fives, 11 top 10s and a 16.3 average finish. His last top 10 in the Phoenix fall race was a seventh-place showing in 2010. Kenseth’s win came in 2002 from the 28th starting position – the furthest back in the field an active race winner has started.
6. Denny Hamlin (-2) – Hamlin claims one win, 10 top fives, 12 top 10s and an 11.0 average finish in 22 starts at Phoenix. The No. 11 Toyota driver finished third there in March and eighth last fall.
7. Kevin Harvick (-18) – Harvick boasts eight wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s and a 10.3 average finish in 27 starts at Phoenix. He has won six of the last eight races there and finished runner-up in last year’s fall race.
8. Kurt Busch (-34) – In 27 Phoenix starts, Busch claims one win, six top fives, 16 top 10s and a 13.4 average finish. He has placed no worse than seventh in his last 27 starts at the one-mile track.
With No One Locked In, All Eight Chase Drivers Have A Shot At The Championship 4 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series
All you have to do is win. Seems simple enough, but none of the remaining NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase contenders have captured a victory in the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas and Phoenix), and thus all eight have an opportunity to become one of the Championship 4 or be eliminated at Phoenix International Raceway in the Ticket Galaxy 200 on Saturday, November 12 (at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Current Four Chase Contenders In Position To Move On:
“Phoenix is an outstanding racetrack for Erik (Jones) and the No. 20 team as well as JGR as a whole,” said Chris Gabehart, crew chief of the No. 20 team. “Just like Texas, Erik has been strong each time he has raced there so we are really optimistic that we can punch our ticket to the finale in Homestead with a solid mistake-free day in the ‘Valley of the Sun.’”
A win is the best guarantee to clinch a spot in the Championship 4, but Jones can also clinch on points - with 36 Points (5th and no laps led, 6th and led at least one lap, 7th and led the most laps).
A win is the best guarantee to clinch a spot in the Championship 4, but if there is a winner who has already been eliminated or is currently in a transfer spot, Koch would clinch with a second-place finish. Koch could clinch on points with a new winner and help as well.
Current Four Chase Contenders In Position To Be Eliminated:
The following drivers can only guarantee a spot in the Championship 4 with a win. Each could also clinch on points with help.
Justin Allgaier (3,058) is currently the first driver outside the Championship 4 cutoff line in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. A single point separates Allgaier between moving on and being eliminated from the Chase, and it all comes down to this weekend at Phoenix.
Ryan Reed (3,054) has just one race left to make the Championship 4, and by sitting sixth in the Round of 8 Chase standings, five points back from fourth-place Blake Koch, the opportunity to move on is not out of reach.
Darrell Wallace Jr. (3,039) is currently seventh in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase standings, 20 points behind fourth-place Blake Koch and the Chase cutoff line. Wallace has skated by during the playoffs this season, posting an average finish of 16.6.
Brendan Gaughan (3,036) has a 23-point deficit to overcome to catch fourth-place Blake Koch and make it into the Championship 4. Gaughan is also in a must-win situation.
Three Championship 4 Spots Remain Entering Phoenix NCWTS Elimination Race
The pressure is on for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase drivers heading into Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 Chase elimination race at Phoenix International Raceway (10 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Johnny Sauter is the only driver assured a spot in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway next Friday after clinching a berth with his win at Martinsville, then blocking a transfer spot with another victory at Texas. Sauter is followed on the Chase Grid by William Byron (five points ahead of Timothy Peters on the cutoff line), Christopher Bell (+4), Matt Crafton (+1), Peters (one point behind Matt Crafton on the cutoff line) and Ben Kennedy (-13).
Below are the clinch scenarios for Friday’s race:
William Byron (0 Wins, 3052 Points) - Would clinch on points with 30 Points (3rd and no laps led, 4th and led at least one lap, 5th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Christopher Bell (0 Wins, 3051 Points) - Would clinch on points with 31 Points (2nd and no laps led, 3rd and led at least one lap, 4th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Matt Crafton (0 Wins, 3048 Points) - If there is a winner who has been eliminated or is currently in a transfer spot, would clinch on points with a 2nd place finish. With a win, would clinch a spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
The following drivers can only guarantee a spot with a win. They could still clinch on points with a new winner and help:
Timothy Peters (0 Wins, 3047 Points)
Ben Kennedy (0 Wins, 3035 Points)
Here’s how all of the drivers have fared at Phoenix:
Sauter – In seven starts at Phoenix, Sauter boasts three top fives, five top 10s and an 11.3 average finish. He has never won at the one-mile track.
Byron – Byron finished 31st in his lone start at Phoenix – his NASCAR national series debut – after wrecking out of the race on only the sixth lap.
Bell – Friday marks Bell’s Phoenix debut.
Crafton – In 15 starts at Phoenix, Crafton claims five top fives, 10 top 10s and a 9.7 average finish. His best showing at the one-mile track was a runner-up in 2014 – the same year he captured his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
Peters – In seven starts at Phoenix, Peters has one win and a fourth-place showing. Otherwise, he’s never finished better than 12th. His victory came in last year’s race. The No. 17 Toyota driver is the only Chase driver who has won at the one-mile track.
Kennedy – In two starts at Phoenix, Kennedy has finished 11th (2014) and 24th (2015).