Joey Logano wins at Phoenix, advances to Championship 4 along with Kyle Busch

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Joey Logano and Kyle Busch were both winners in Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Logano won his 17th career Sprint Cup race while Busch finished second, advancing both drivers into the Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Logano will be seeking his first Sprint Cup championship, while Busch will be going for his second consecutive title.

Also in the Championship 4 will be Jimmie Johnson, who is seeking his seventh Sprint Cup crown — which would tie him with NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt — as well Carl Edwards. Edwards, like Logano, will be seeking his first championship.

“I’ve never felt this good about a win before,” Logano said of his first career Sprint Cup win at Phoenix. “There was so much on the line and everyone brings their A-game when it comes to winning championships and this team did it. Man, this feels so good.

“I had a good restart there at the end and holding off Kyle (Busch) to try to get this thing into Miami. We’re racing for a championship now. We did exactly what we had to do. We’ve got to go to Homestead and do the same thing. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”

Kyle Larson finished third followed by Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.

MORE: Statistics and results from Phoenix

MORE: Sprint Cup point standings after Phoenix

Just when it appeared that Matt Kenseth would win the race on Lap 318, he made contact with Alex Bowman, causing Kenseth to spin into the wall and see his championship hope come to an abrupt end.

Bowman had been tapped from behind by Kyle Busch, which caused Bowman’s car to wiggle, but it appeared Kenseth came down too soon in front of Bowman and the duo made contact.

Logano was scored as the leader at the previous scoring loop when the caution came out and would hold on during the ensuing restart.

Harvick, who won the first Sprint Cup championship under the new elimination format in 2014 and also reached the final round last season, fell short of his third consecutive appearance in the final round.

“That’s all you can ask, to go down swinging and that’s what we did,” Harvick told NBCSN.

Also falling short of reaching the championship round were Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch. As a result, only two of the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers will be in the final round, while Stewart-Haas Racing will have no representatives.

Sunday’s race was scheduled for 312 laps, but due to a caution on Lap 311 when Michael McDowell crashed, as well as Kenseth’s wreck on Lap 318, the event went an extra 12 laps of overtime for a total of 324 laps.

Substituting for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., pole-sitter Alex Bowman led the first 92 laps. That was quite a contrast as Bowman had led a total of just nine laps overall in his first 79 Sprint Cup career starts. Bowman eventually led a race-high 194 laps in the race.

After being at the front of the field from the green flag, Bowman finally yielded the lead on Lap 93 to Logano. Johnson then took the lead on Lap 120, Bowman regained it for one lap on Lap 133, and then Logano went back ahead when he beat all other cars off pit road during caution on Lap 134.

HOW LOGANO WON: When Matt Kenseth spun on Lap 318, Logano was declared the leader. Logano then held on through the ensuing restart on Lap 323 all the way to the checkered flag to reach the Championship 4 round for the second time in three years.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE? Runner-up Kyle Busch did what he needed to do to hold off Kevin Harvick and advance to defend last year’s championship. Also, kudos to Alex Bowman for his effort and Kyle Larson for their strong runs.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE? Kenseth saw his championship bid go up in smoke with his wreck on Lap 316. He finished 20th … Austin Dillon finished 39th, while Martin Truex Jr. finished last.

NOTABLE: Greg Biffle finished 16th in his 500th consecutive Sprint Cup race … Canadian driver D.J. Kennington finished 35th in his first career Sprint Cup race … Tony Stewart finished 15th in the second-to-last race of his Sprint Cup career.

QUOTE OF THE DAY No. 1: “I’m speechless right now.  I feel like I just won the Daytona 500 again. What a special day.” — Race winner Joey Logano.

QUOTE OF THE DAY No. 2: “We have to put our arms around Matt and let him know how much we care for him.” – Team owner Joe Gibbs on Matt Kenseth’s late wreck that eliminated him from the last round of the Chase.

WHAT’S NEXT: The season championship will be decided Sunday, Nov. 20, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Green flag is slated to drop shortly after 2:30 pm ET.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Results, point standings after Xfinity race at Richmond

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Christopher Bell led a race-high 120 laps to win the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway. It’s his second career Xfinity win.

Bell beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Noah Gragson, Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.

Elliott Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Click here for the race results.

Points

Elliott Sadler continues to lead the point standings through eight races. He has a 29-point lead over Bell.

Completing the top five is Tyler Reddick (-31 points), Daniel Hemric (-38) and Justin Allgaier (-48).

Click here for the point standings.

Christopher Bell wins Xfinity race at Richmond

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Christopher Bell fended off teammate Noah Gragson to break through and win his first Xfinity race of the year Friday night at Richmond Raceway.

Bell led the final 79 laps around the .75-mile track to score his second career win. He had finished in the top five in four of the first seven races this season.

“That was pretty special there, buddy,” Bell told Fox Sports 1. “Had to work for it. My teammate was really good and I knew throughout both practices that both of our cars were going to be really strong. Joe Gibbs Racing has been producing really, really fast Camrys for last couple of weeks and it’s really shown.”

Gragson placed second in his first career Xfinity start. He bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty early in the race.

He hounded Bell for much of the last 15 laps, but could never pull even with him.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Gragson told FS1 of his first series start at the short track. “I found a little something in the track, a little speed there at the end of the second stage on old tires. I kept it in my memory bank until the end and I told me team, ‘I got something, when it’s time to go tell me when.’ About 18 to go, I told them, ‘Can’t wait any longer, I don’t have any more patience.”

Gragson, who drives full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, led 10 laps.

The top five was completed by Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric.

With his third-place finish, Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Bell, Sadler, Tifft and Cindric will be eligible for the third Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Talladega.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Elliott Sadler, first stage win of season

MORE: Race results, points

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric earned his first career top five after starting from the rear for an unapproved adjustment … Matt Tifft earned his fourth career top five … Ryan Truex placed seventh to give Kaulig Racing its fourth top 10 of the year. It earned five last year … Jeremy Clements placed eighth, earning his first top 10 since he won at Road America in August.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After winning Stage 1, Daniel Hemric lost his right front tire with three laps to go in Stage 2, but made it to the end. He finished 29th, four laps down … Justin Allgaier spun after ramming into the back of Spencer Gallagher with 86 laps to go. Chase Briscoe was also received damage in the incident. Allgaier finished 14th. Briscoe placed 26th.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “My wife’s already spent it.” – Elliott Sadler to FS1 after winning the Dash 4 Cash bonus.

WHAT’S NEXT: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway at 3 p.m. ET on April 28 on Fox.

Starting lineup for Cup race at Richmond

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Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott will start on the front row for Saturday night’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway.

Truex won his third pole of the season.

The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Kyle Busch, who is trying to win a third consecutive race, qualified 32nd.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Martin Truex Jr. wins pole for Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

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Martin Truex Jr. qualified first for Saturday’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway, winning his third pole of the season.

Truex claimed the pole with a speed of 123.859 mph around the .75-mile track. The Toyota Owners 400 will mark Truex’s 450th Cup start. Truex had DNFs in the last two races.

“It’s definitely been a crappy two weeks,” Truex told Fox Sports 1. “But that’s part of racing. This team, I’ve got so much faith and confidence in them and everything we’re doing. You can’t let those kinds of things get you down. It was nothing we did, just circumstances. Just proud of the effort today.”

The pole matches Truex’s total from last year.

Chase Elliott qualified second (123.621 mph). The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Ryan Blaney will start 12th, followed by Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson.

Daniel Hemric will start 22nd in his first Cup start.

Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski both failed to advance out of the first round. Keselowski will start 28th and Busch will start 32nd.

“We didn’t make a mock run in practice and then we thought the spread would be about three tenths (of a second),” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “It wasn’t, it was faster than that. We only ran two laps trying to make sure we preserve out tires for later on deeper into the session. A bunch of those guys ran three laps and obviously we needed that third lap. It would have picked up. For some reason the tire here today, even in race trim, your fastest lap was the seventh lap. So just takes awhile for everything to come in. Just trying to short cut it a little bit and it didn’t work out for us.”

Click here for qualifying results.