Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, in three minutes:
Three things to watch
1. Six drivers remain in contention to join Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards in the Chase’s championship round next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin have legitimate shots if they don’t win Sunday. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch almost certainly need a victory to advance.
2. Austin Dillon didn’t exactly pull back from his animosity toward Harvick when asked about it Friday. It would take some serious nerves from Dillon (angry about an on-track incident with Harvick last week at Texas) to wreck Harvick, a Chase driver who hasn’t clinched a spot in the final four yet. Dillon was eliminated from the Chase after the second round.
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3. Alex Bowman has shown impressive speed in some of the eight races in which he’s filled in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bowman really has it this weekend, proving it by winning the pole.
▪ NASCAR didn’t even try to decipher the points scenarios needed for Harvick (18 out of fourth) and Kurt Busch (34) to advance to the final four. Suffice it to say Harvick and Busch’s only hopes are to win.
▪ Johnson (Texas in 2014 and ’15) and Earnhardt (Martinsville in 2014 and Phoenix in 2015) are the only non-Chase eligible drivers to win in the playoffs.
▪ Martin Truex Jr. hit the wall in practice Friday and will start at the rear of the field in a backup car. But Truex had the fastest car in Saturday’s first practice session (135.476 mph).
Three picks for your fantasy team:
Kevin Harvick: The next time he fails to advance in the Chase will be the first time he doesn’t advance in the Chase.
Jimmie Johnson: He’s won four times at Phoenix and would love to do again, possibly freezing Harvick out of a spot in the final four.
Denny Hamlin: Runs well at Phoenix and was third in the spring behind Harvick and Edwards.
He said it
“It’s a little bit silly.” -- Harvick, on the perception that it’s a given that he will win.
Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
Track type: 1-mile asphalt oval.
Race distance: 312 miles (502 kilometers), or 500 laps.
Green flag: 2:45 p.m.
Weather: Mostly sunny, high of 84. Zero percent chance of rain.
Radio: Motor Racing Network.