Championship 4 set following Round of 8 finale at Phoenix

Kurt Busch Gerald Wayne ‘Jerry’ Grant

Elliott held off Martin Truex Jr.to take the runner-up spot, but it wasn't enough to advance to the Championship Four of the playoffs next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Denny Hamlin's playoff hopes went up in smoke in Sunday's Can-Am 500 on Lap 274 after Elliott made contact with Hamlin's auto just under seven laps earlier. Hamlin hesitated pulling out of his pit stop, not getting a signal when pit service was completed.

Hamlin and Chase Elliott were racing for third place in the final 50 laps, as each put the bumper to the other.

Hamlin starts second, Elliott fourth, Johnson 12th and Keselwoski 15th.

The fourth driver eliminated from the playoffs was Blaney.

Brad Keselowski now holds the fourth spot heading into the race.

But Kenseth's auto came to life within the final 15 laps. This left only one spot remaining for five drivers, but it was the No. 2 auto driver who punched his ticket with some help. Keselowski finished 16th, and while Chase Elliott finished second, Keselowski's points advantage proved enough.

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Fire crews later successfully extinguished the blaze on the pipeline, which belongs to the state-run Bahrain Petroleum Co. The UAE on Saturday condemned the terrorist explosion and expressed its solidarity with the kingdom. .

Championship contender Jimmie Johnson's chances of an eighth Cup Series title ended with a right-front tire problem that sent him into the wall with one lap remaining in the second stage.

Also helping Hamlin's cause: He won the race off pit road and will begin the final stage as the leader.

The Manchester High School graduate finished second to Kyle Larson in the opening stage, earning nine bonus points.

Larson took the lead with a pass of playoff driver Denny Hamlin, who led 40 of the stage's 75 laps.

Through Stage 1, Hamlin is on track to punch his ticket to Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"Our mindset coming into this weekend was really trying to win the race and sitting on the pole my mindset doesn't change", said Blaney. Keselowski ran outside the top 15 the entire stage and did not earn any points.

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