Kenseth Wins; Keselowski Earns Championship Berth; Johnson Out Title Chase
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Matt Kenseth may be going away, but he’s not doing it quietly.
Kenseth won for the first time this season in what could have been the second-to-last Cup race of his NASCAR career. Kenseth does not have a job lined up for next year and said he’ll take a break at the start of the season.
He passed Chase Elliott with 10 laps remaining to win Sunday at Phoenix Raceway and deny Elliott the final berth in next week’s championship race. Had Elliott hung on for the win, he would have qualified for the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Elliott finished second for the seventh time this season.
Brad Keselowski earned the final spot in the championship on points. Kenseth had already been eliminated from the playoffs.
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson won’t race for an eighth championship this season.
The reigning and seven-time NASCAR champion was eliminated from title contention Sunday after an accident at Phoenix Raceway. Johnson had a tire problem with one lap remaining in the second stage that caused his Chevrolet to slam hard into the wall.
He immediately drove his battered car to the garage.
Johnson was one of five drivers vying for the remaining spot in next week’s championship finale. He won a record-tying seventh championship last season and is trying to break the mark he shares with Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.