Phoenix Clinch Scenarios – By the Numbers

The Sprint Cup Series travels to Phoenix International Raceway this Sunday to compete in the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, the final race of the Eliminator Round. After the completion of this event, only four drivers will remain standing. The final four will travel to Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22 for the final battle of the Chase to determine the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.

Clinch scenarios for Phoenix – Regardless of the finish of any other drivers:

1) Jeff Gordon is the only driver that has clinched a spot in the Championship 4 after his win at Martinsville Speedway. He has two wins, three poles and 12 top-five finishes at Phoenix with a third-best driver rating of 100.5.

2) Kyle Busch (+11 points above the cutoff line) can secure his berth with a finish of third or better; fourth and at least one lap led, or fifth and most laps led. His stats at Phoenix include one win, two poles, three top fives, 12 top 10s and a driver rating of 96.6 (sixth-best).

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3) Kevin Harvick (+10) needs to finish second or better; third and at least one lap led; or fourth and most laps led. Harvick will attempt to claim his fifth straight checkered flag at the one-mile track. If successful, he will join the elite company of NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (7 consecutive wins at Richmond) and Darrell Waltrip (Bristol-7 and North Wilkesboro-5) as the only drivers to win at least five straight races at a single track.

4) Martin Truex Jr. (+7) can control his destiny with a win at Phoenix. Truex’s past performance at Phoenix ranks him at the bottom of the eight contenders, but he is experiencing the best season of his career. If he can continue the trend and advance to the championship round, his stats indicate that he is one of the best at Homestead. He has three top fives, seven top 10s and has led 108 laps in 10 starts with the second-highest driver rating of 106.6.

5) Carl Edwards (-7 below the cutoff line) is another driver that can control his destiny with a win at Phoenix. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has two wins, seven top fives, 12 top 10s and has won three pole awards in 22 starts at Phoenix. Edwards is coming off a top-five finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

6) Brad Keselowski (-19) needs a win at Phoenix to control his destiny. He did everything right at Texas, posting a 145.0 driver rating, the highest rating a driver can achieve without winning a race.  But he came up short and finished runner-up to non-Chaser Jimmie Johnson. Keselowski has four top fives, six top 10s and one pole at Phoenix with a best finish of third in March 2014. .

7) Kurt Busch (-28) can also take control of his destiny with a win at Phoenix. He finished fifth at Phoenix in March, has one win (2005), six top fives and 14 top 10s at this track. This is his best season since 2009 but in all likelihood, only a win will secure Busch a berth in the championship round.

8) Joey Logano (-63) can ONLY advance to the Championship 4 with a victory at Phoenix. He has never won at Phoenix, but this has been a year of firsts for Logano,   claiming victories at four tracks this season where he had never won before, Daytona, Watkins Glen, Charlotte and Talladega. With a driver rating of 87.6, 14th best, Logano cannot afford any mistakes at Phoenix.

Tune in Sunday for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET to watch the action unfold and discover who will join Jeff Gordon as four drivers advance to fight for the Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead Nov. 22.

 

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