Joey Logano leads halfway at Phoenix in last race to determine Chase Championship 4 field

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Joey Logano is in the lead at the halfway point (156 laps) of Sunday’s scheduled 312-lap Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Pole-sitter Alex Bowman is second, followed by Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin.

Substituting for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bowman led the first 92 laps. That is quite a contrast as Bowman had led a total of just nine laps overall in his first 79 Sprint Cup career starts coming into Sunday’s race.

Bowman yielded the lead on Lap 93 to Joey Logano, who is seeking not only his first career win at Phoenix but also a berth in the Chase championship race. Logano has led 50 laps at the halfway point.

Jimmie Johnson took the lead on Lap 120, but Logano regained it when he exited pit road in front under caution on Lap 133.

The penultimate race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship will determine the final two drivers that will join Johnson and Carl Edwards in the Championship 4 title race — the Ford Eco-Boost 400 — next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Six drivers are battling it out for the final two spots.

The race wasn’t even one lap old when the first mishap occurred. Kyle Larson made slight contact with Logano and spun. Logano did not appear to suffer any damage. Trevor Bayne spun trying to avoid Larson and did not make contact. All three cars were able to continue.

Another incident occurred on Lap 81 when Ryan Newman got into the rear of Larson’s car as both drivers attempted to enter pit road. Damage to both cars was minor.

Both Martin Truex Jr. and Johnson have been penalized for passing the pace car under caution while entering pit road.

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