Legendary driver Mario Andretti gives sad Matt Kenseth the highest compliment possible

Credit Brian Lawdermilk  Getty Images

Kenseth passed Elliott with nine laps to go to deny Elliott his first win a chance to race for the championship.

Keselowski advances to the final round at the expense of Denny Hamlin, who had the best auto throughout much of Sunday's race. He will join the three drivers who already had clinched - Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick - in a first-to-the-line championship battle on November 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

35 laps to go: Denny Hamlin's chances of advancing go up in smoke as his tire blows and his auto slams the wall. Elliott could have advanced to the final round for a victory but ended in second place.

Elliott battered Hamlin's bumper with 43 laps to go, likely causing a tire rub to Hamlin's left-front.

Hamlin got out of the pits first to take the lead at the start of the second stage and maintained his advantage throughout the stage. Keselowski - who is racing Hamlin on points for the final spot - remains seventh. Scalding hot brake rotors from Chris Buescher's vehicle flew in between the SAFER barriers on the outside wall as Buescher had a mechanical failure that caused an accident.

The fourth driver eliminated from the playoffs was Blaney.

Poll Shows Alabama Race Tied After Allegations Against Roy Moore
Moore explained that he rejects calls for him to recuse himself from the Senate race because he "had nothing to do with this". It's too late for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore's name to be removed from the ballot, even if he wants to drop out.

After Lap 235 of 312: A caution from Trevor Bayne's Ford slamming the wall led to Denny Hamlin's first real problem Sunday. Hamlin hesitated pulling out of his pit stop, not getting a signal when pit service was completed. The issue cost Hamlin one spot, as Matt Kenseth edged Hamlin off pit road for the lead.

Chase Elliott got his revenge on Denny Hamlin by knocking him out of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday.

Hamlin leads in the final 100 laps, though the cars have not yet pitted in the final segment.

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

There was always going to be one delighted driver and four jealous ones when Sunday's playoff cutdown race finished, but now we know who falls into which category.

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