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Kenseth passes Elliott late for Phoenix win, Keselowski advances to title race

Kenseth passes Elliott late for Phoenix win, Keselowski advances to title race

Kenseth passed Chase Elliott with 10 laps remaining to win Sunday at Phoenix Raceway and deny Elliott the final berth in next week's championship race.

Brad Keselowski earned the final spot in the championship on points because a playoff-eligible driver did not win the race.

Elliott battered Hamlin's bumper with 43 laps to go, likely causing a tire rub to Hamlin's left-front. That put the Joe Gibbs Racing driver in primo position to earn his way to Miami, but late contact with Chase Elliott ended his day early.

Denny Hamlin's playoff hopes went up in smoke in Sunday's Can-Am 500 on Lap 274 after Elliott made contact with Hamlin's auto just under seven laps earlier.

After Lap 258 of 312: Denny Hamlin holds onto second place on the ensuing restart behind Matt Kenseth, but Chris Buescher's fiery crash in Turn 3 on Lap 253 brings out a red flag to fix the SAFER barrier.

Elliott finished second for the seventh time this season.

Too expensive to land a competitive ride for next season, Kenseth has chose to take time away rather than drive a auto that can't win races.

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The Kenseth win salvaged the day for Gibbs, which had a chance to get Denny Hamlin into the championship until his feud with Elliott cost him the chance. He led for 193 of 312 laps.

This left only one spot remaining for five drivers, but it was the No. 2 vehicle driver who punched his ticket with some help.

Stage 2: Hamlin dominated the second stage and cruised to a stage win without any fuss. That means Keselowski must finish ahead of Hamlin in the race results, and Keselowski finished Stage 2 in 13th.

The final 50 laps of Sunday's race were, uh, a bit wild and set up by a insane moment.

Jimmie Johnson, who qualified for the round of 8, had a tire go down on Lap 150 and hit the wall, ending his championship hopes.

In addition, Hamlin won the race off pit road and began Stage 2 as the leader.

"I raced him how raced me".