The knock on Denny Hamlin throughout his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career has been his lack of performing with his back against the wall. Hamlin changed the entire narrative about his career Sunday as he won the Bluegreen Vacation 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Hamlin was the dominant car in the final stage, and had about an eight second lead when a late-race caution re-racked things.
After taking just two tires under the caution, Hamlin would have to hold off his hungry teammate Kyle Busch for the win in the closing laps. Hamlin did just that for his sixth triumph of 2019. Now, he will join Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. in the Championship 4 next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Ryan Blaney finished an impressive third, while Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.
Truex ended up in sixth.
Erik Jones and Clint Bowyer were the highest non-Playoff contenders in seventh and eighth.
Joey Logano led 93 laps in the race and looked to be heading to a defense of his 2018 championship. But then, an air pressure adjustment on a final Stage pit stop made his car incredibly too tight. Logano would slip off the lead lap. He would claw back onto the lead lap for the finish, but he would finish ninth.
As a result, Logano has been knocked out of the 2019 Playoffs.
Brad Keselowski was 10th.
For Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott the championship chase is over for 2019.
Post-Race Stat Pack:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.