Joey Logano won a wild Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in overtime Sunday, clinching a spot in next week’s NASCAR Chase championship round.
Also advancing was reigning champion Kyle Busch, who finished second and makes it on points. Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards, who won the first two races of the Chase semifinals, had already been assured of spots in the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Matt Kenseth, the leader as the race went into overtime, saw his hopes of advancing vanish when he and Alex Bowman hit each other in Turn 1 on the restart. Kenseth, along with Logano, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, were within one point of each other entering the race.
Kyle Larson, a non-Chase driver, finished third. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, who both needed to win to make the championship round, finished fourth and fifth.
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Bowman, the pole winner who was driving as a substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr., went on to finish sixth. Hamlin was seventh.
When Kenseth and Bowman wrecked in the first turn of the restart of overtime, Logano jumped to the front and went on to win.
How the NASCAR Chase drivers fared:
1. Joey Logano (4,118 points)*: Was on shaky ground late in the race to advance on points, but took over the lead in overtime to clinch his spot with the victory.
2. Kyle Busch (5 behind)*: Benefited from wreck involving Kenseth and Bowman in overtime, finished second and made the final four.
3. Denny Hamlin (11 behind): His seventh-place finish wasn’t enough to move him into the final four. Ultimately came up six points shy of Kyle Busch.
4. Matt Kenseth (24 behind): Couldn’t have had a more frustrating finish, wrecking while leading the race in overtime. He ended up 21st and out of the final four.
5. Kevin Harvick (25 behind): Needed to win at a place that he often dominates (eight career victories), but ended up fourth and out of contention.
6. Jimmie Johnson (40 behind)*: Already clinched spot at Homestead, but clearly frustrated with NASCAR for calling a rare pulling-up-to-pit penalty. That put him way behind and he finished 38th after going to garage later to replace his radiator.
7. Kurt Busch (42 behind): Started 34 points out of fourth and his fifth-place finish wasn’t nearly enough for him to advance.
2. Carl Edwards (47 behind)*: He knew he was already headed to Homestead, so a routine afternoon was all he needed. He finished a routine 19th.
*clinched spot in championship round
▪ Johnson said he would talk with NASCAR for a full explanation about the pulling-up-to-pit penalty, in which he passed the pace car on pit road while leading the race. Johnson said he was under the impression that was allowed as the race leader. Martin Truex Jr. was also penalized for the same infraction.
▪ Logano’s Mooresville-based Penske Motorsports is on the verge of winning the NASCAR Cup championship after the team’s Simon Pagenaud also won this season’s IndyCar title. Winning that double would be quite an accomplishment for the organization, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
▪ Bowman’s sixth-place finish was the best of his short career. He’s been driving as a fill-in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (out with a concussion), but has said he has no offers for a full-time ride for next season. Bowman will drive again next week at Homestead for Earnhardt, who has said he expects to return for the 2017 season-opening Daytona 500.
▪ Rookie Ryan Blaney, who drives for the non-charter Wood Brothers Racing, finished eighth. That’s his ninth top-10 of the season.
They said it
“This feels so good. I’ve never felt this good about a win before. We’re racing for a championship now.” – Logano.
Three tweets from Sunday’s race:
Ford EcoBoost 400
Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.
When: 2:30 p.m., Sunday.
Radio: Motor Racing Network.