Matt Kenseth in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota obtained his first Monster Energy Cup Series victory of the season by winning the Cam-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.
This race just might be the second to last cup race for Kenseth in his fabulous NASCAR career. “Just one more race left and everybody dreams of going out a winner,” said Kenseth after the race.
The No. 20 passed Chase Elliott with 10 laps remaining on Sunday to achieve the win by 1.207 seconds. Thus knocking Elliott out of the final four drivers to qualify for the championship finale next Sunday in Homestead-Miami Speedway. Elliott has finished in second place for the seventh time this season.
Kenseth led 60 laps of the 312 to achieve is 39th career victory in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series racing. The 45 year old has had a solid career and currently plans to take a break from competition.
Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski will join Truex, Harvick and Kyle Busch who are all vying for the championship title in next Sunday’s Ford Eco Boost 400 in Miami. Both Busch and Harvick clinched their berths with wins in the Round of 8, while Truex, the regular season champ, advanced on points.
Elliott, Blaney, Hamlin and Johnson were all eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs by their finishes. Hamlin’s exit from the final four was the most dramatic when he crashed into the wall on Turn 3 on Lap 275 ending his day and hopes. Both Hamlin and Elliott competed aggressively all day and repeatedly made contact.
The two drivers apparently settled their differences today in the Round of 8 two weeks ago in Martinsville, where Hamlin made contact with Elliot sending him spinning out from the lead with a 27th place finish. The crash opened the door for Keselowski to have a shot at the championship next Sunday who qualified on points.
Jimmie Johnson the seven time champion just continued to have bad luck and race car troubles toward the end of the season which ranked him last among the final top eight postseason drivers.
The season finale will take place next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway for all the marbles. The highest finishing driver of the four remaining contenders will be declared this years 2017 champion. Race fans should expect to witness a tremendous season ending thrilling NASCAR race next weekend in Florida.