November 20, 2017

NASCAR at Phoenix 2017 Qualifying Results: Ryan Blaney Wins Pole Position

14 November 2017, 11:53 | Henrietta Morgan

Credit Chris Trotman NASCAR via Getty Images

Credit Chris Trotman  NASCAR via Getty Images

Where: Homestead-Miami Speedway, a 1.5-mile, paved oval in Homestead, Florida. In 2005, NASCAR added a second Phoenix race-date to the calendar in the Spring, with Kurt Busch winning the first Spring race for Roush Racing. He's won seven races this year, been the most dominant driver all season and has three wins in these playoffs. Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Harvick have already guaranteed their spots in the final round of the playoffs. "I'll just have to figure that out and figure out what we need to do to go faster".

The race had seven cautions for 41 laps and one red flag for five minutes.

Dale Earnhardt only two races away from writing the end to his career, and the veteran driver is getting a bit emotional. Martin Truex the only one who has not. Kyle Larson qualified third, with Elliott fourth and Truex fifth.

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All Kevin Harvick has to do is finish ahead of three other racers next Sunday to win his second career NASCAR championship.

"We really tried today to qualify better here", said Truex.

With the Playoff field set to be trimmed from eight drivers to four after the race at Phoenix, both Blaney and Hamlin are below the cut line. The driver who scores the best finish among the four finalists will be crowned the NASCAR Cup Series champion. Elliott and Johnson are forty-nine and fifty-one points respectively behind Keselowski and are realistically in a must-win position if they want to make it to the championship four. If a non-playoff driver wins the Can-Am 500 the final slot will go to the playoff driver who's amassed the most points within the round.

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is coming to a close with one final ride through the desert before heading South to the sunny skies of Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Kyle Busch is in a similar no-pressure situation to Harvick.

Kyle Busch: His win at Martinsville two weeks ago earned him a spot in Homestead, but since then he finished 19th at Texas and seventh at Phoenix. He said the team celebrated as if it might be his last win. There's every chance that his #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team could put him in position to lead a lot of laps again on Sunday.

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This may be the last race before the big finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but the narrative heading into the race is not based exclusively on who will win and become NASCAR's newest champion. Elliott led a number of laps and took the stage two win at Phoenix back in March, if luck is on his side and he has the auto underneath him, Elliott could very well get to victory lane and fight for a championship against all the adversity he has faced thus far in 2017.

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