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Monday, 13 November 2017 00:13

Kenseth Wins at Phoenix, Keselowski Clinches Final Playoff Spot

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Kenseth Wins at Phoenix, Keselowski Clinches Final Playoff Spot Courtesy Toyota Racing Twitter (@ToyotaRacing)

Matt Kenseth picked up what might be his final career victory on Sunday.

Matt Kenseth won the Can-Am 500 from Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Kenseth chased down Chase Elliott in the closing laps, and he was able to get around the young driver to pick up his 39th career victory.

Kenseth, who is stepping away from the sport following next weekend’s season finale, said he was glad he could go out with a victory.

“I wasn’t sure I was quite ready for this to move on…it’s been an incredible journey,” Kenseth said.  “There’s no way you could write it any better than this…what a storybook ending.”

Needing a victory, Elliott raced hard to get to the front of the field to get into the final round of the playoffs.  With Kenseth’s victory, Elliott was eliminated from playoff contention.

After finishing second on Sunday, Elliott said he was disappointed to miss the championship round of the playoffs by one spot.

“We fought really hard today, and gave ourselves a chance,” Elliott said.  “I was telling my guys that I’ll get it right sometime.  We’ve had so many good opportunities, we’ve just got to close.”

Elliott made contact with Denny Hamlin on his way to the front, and the contact caused Hamlin to cut a tire and hit the wall.  The wreck ended Hamlin’s championship hopes, and it was the second time in this round that the two drivers got together.

Hamlin wrecked Elliott while the two raced for the win at Martinsville two weeks ago, and Elliott said he raced Hamlin the same way Hamlin chose to race him at Martinsville.

“I’m going to race guys how they race me and keep a smile on my face regardless,” Elliott said.  “Happy to race guys how they choose to race me…that’s the way I see it.”

Elliott’s runner-up finish allowed Brad Keselowski to make the final round of the playoffs as the final driver to the round of four. 

Keselowski said he hopes to go to Homestead with a fast enough car to compete with the dominant Toyotas of Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

“I don’t know if we’re the favorite by any means, but we’re going to go there and give it our best,” Keselowski said.  “It’s a tough competition, but to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”

“Hopefully we can be as fast as we were at Texas, maybe a little bit more, and we’ll have a shot at it.”

Unofficial results:

1. Matt Kenseth

2. Chase Elliott

3. Martin Truex Jr.

4. Erik Jones

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Jamie McMurray

7. Kyle Busch

8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

9. Aric Almirola

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

11. Ty Dillon

12. Joey Logano

13. Clint Bowyer

14. Austin Dillon

15. Paul Menard

16. Brad Keselowski

17. Ryan Blaney

18. Daniel Suarez

19. Kasey Kahne

20. Ryan Newman

21. Kurt Busch

22. Michael McDowell

23. AJ Allmendinger

24. Landon Cassill

25. Danica Patrick

26. DJ Kennington

27. Matt DiBenedetto

28. David Starr

29. Jeffrey Earnhardt

30. Joey Gase

31. Corey LaJoie

32. Derrike Cope

33. David Ragan

34. Kyle Weatherman

35. Denny Hamlin

36. Cole Whitt

37. Chris Buescher

38. Trevor Bayne

39. Jimmie Johnson

40. Kyle Larson

Bryan Nicodemus

My name is Bryan Nicodemus.  I'm from Pittsburgh, PA, and I am currently a sophomore at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.  I am majoring in Public Relations, and I hope to work in NASCAR someday.  Follow me on Twitter: @mmarkaholic55

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