Denny Hamlin knifed around Brad Keselowski for the lead with two laps remaining in the opening Stage of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Hamlin wouldn’t look back as he took the Stage win over Chase Elliott.
Kyle Busch had led every lap in the opening Stage of the Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, until a caution came out late in the Stage on lap 66.
The caution brought the field to pit road and everybody except Brad Keselowski and William Byron came in.
This handed the lead to Keselowski.
On the restart with three laps remaining, Busch was in the lane that didn’t get going and as a result, his shot at a Stage win was gone. Busch would finish the Stage in third.
Joey Logano got around two cars in the final turn to finish the Stage in fourth. While Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five in Stage 1.
Keselowski hung on to finish sixth in the Stage, while Ryan Blaney, Byron, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch also scored Stage points for finishing inside the top-10 in Stage 1.
Martin Truex Jr., who is locked into the Championship 4 next weekend, was the only championship contender who didn’t finish inside the top-10 of Stage 1.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.