Kyle Busch won the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway in suburban Phoenix.
Fortunately for the No. 4, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson worked their way to the front and removed any chance of Almirola getting into the Championship 4. "You know, I was just kind of contemplating if he got by me and got in front of me, then what's next, you know, but my first - always first and foremost is just go away".
Elliott appeared to be in a position to win the race as the laps wound down before a pit road speeding penalty sent him to the back of the field.
Harvick finished fifth to close a week in which his team was penalized for cheating.
He found himself racing late against Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Almirola for the fourth transfer spot to Homestead, but Busch was wrecked late and Almirola would have had to win the race to snatch the berth away from Harvick. When pit road opened, Kurt Busch led the field onto the lane.NASCAR held Kurt a lap because they saw the No. 41 Fusion pass the pace vehicle entering pit lane, which promoted Martin Truex, Jr.in the lead shortly before the stage end.
Johnny (Klausmeier) and all these guys fought their guts out and I fought my guts out inside the race auto and gave it everything we had. "I've got nothing good to say".
NASCAR stripped Harvick's automatic berth into the Cup champion ship race after his winning vehicle failed inspection following the win at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.
"I am surprised by this group", he said, reflecting on his season. Busch will certainly be aggressive, so it could pay off if he avoids a wreck or pit mistake.
California fires: Satellite pictures of fire from space - Aerial pictures of DEVASTATION
Firefighters are battling the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fire in Southern California. The fire had scorched more than 113,000 acres (45,729 hectares) and was 25 percent contained, officials said on Monday.
That put Harvick back in 30th and one lap down, and he had to work his way back to the front for the rest of the race. But he's a nine-time victor at this track, was fastest in practice, started on the pole and led the first 72 laps before his tire went flat. Stewart-Haas Racing used split strategy on the ensuing pit stop as Kurt Busch stayed on the track to move into second and Harvick pitted for new tires to restart sixth.
Kevin Harvick led the field to the start of NASCAR's final race to set the championship field. "Denny came out of nowhere and cleaned us out".
Joey Logano, the only driver already locked into next week's title race, was not bothered by the accusations against Harvick's team. Kyle Busch ran Truex down, passed the No. 78 and won Stage 2.During a green flag cycle woth about 80 laps remaining, Tanner Berryhill in Obaika Racing's No. 97 spun entering pit lane, causing a caution.
"It was pretty straightforward for us", Truex said.
With all due respect to Almirola, he just doesn't have the pedigree of the four who actually clinched the right to race for a championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Harvick leads the series with eight victories, but two were with illegal cars. He wound up 37th with an early exit, but didn't think it would hurt his momentum for the championship. "These things are out of your control, so it doesn't really knock your confidence down because there's not much you can do about it anyway". "Do what you can with what you got and be able to have an opportunity to be leading the race essentially on that last lap".
Logano believes he's the favorite to capture the title, because winning the opening race of this round to qualify for Homestead gave Team Penske two additional weeks to focus on the main event. The two were the most dominant drivers this season and will race next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title against reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.
Ultimately, racers drive to win, and the moment they lose that edge, they would probably tell you they don't deserve to race for a championship in the first place.
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