Chase final four clinch scenarios

The battle for the Sprint Cup Championship starts here at Phoenix, as we decide the final four.

Going into Phoenix, the championship is as tight as its ever been. Eight drivers, 18 points, four advance, four get eliminated, and one race to decide their fate. That's how the Chase currently sits. Which drivers will battle for the championship next week and which will have their dreams shattered today? We will know in just a few hours.

Championship Standings

1. Joey Logano (#22) +13pts
2. Denny Hamlin (#11) +13
3. Ryan Newman (#31 +11
4. Jeff Gordon (#24) +1

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5. Matt Kenseth (#20) -1
6. Carl Edwards (#99) -1
7. Brad Keselowski (#2) -5
8. Kevin Harvick (#4) -6

Looking at the current standings, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick are all in a similar boat. The only way they can guarantee advancement is by winning the race. They could potentially make it into the final round via points, but they will need to beat those around them by a certain number of positions in order to make that a reality.

The leaders have breathing room, but not much

Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are tied for the points lead going into this race, which no one saw coming. If they finish 11th or higher, it doesn't matter what anyone else does. If they lead a lap, then 12th. If either of them lead the most laps, then they can finish as low as 13th.

Ryan Newman is the surprise up front, still hanging on with a chance to advance. If he finishes ninth or higher, he punches his ticket to Homestead ... 10th if he leads a lap or 11th is he leads the most laps. Below is where each Chaser starts today's race at PIR.

PIR Starting Positions

1. Joey Logano (#22) - 4th
2. Denny Hamlin (#11) - POLE
3. Ryan Newman (#31) - 20th
4. Jeff Gordon (#24) - 7th
5. Matt Kenseth (#20) - 5th
6. Carl Edwards (#99) - 13th
7. Brad Keselowski (#2) - 2nd
8. Kevin Harvick (#4) - 3rd

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Event Phoenix II
Track Phoenix International Raceway
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Ryan Newman , Carl Edwards , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano
Article type Analysis