NASCAR Playoff Race #9: Can-Am 500 | Bonehead Picks

Playoff Race #9: Can-Am 500 (Phoenix)

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The Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway is the hot spot for the final race of the Round of 8, and only one spot is left to grab. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are locked in on wins while Martin Truex Jr (fifth) earned his spot after racking up so many points. There are five playoff drivers looking to earn their way by winning at Phoenix. Ryan Blaney won the pole which is his second of the season while Harvick (starting sixth) swept both Saturday practices. Chase Elliott (fourth) was fastest on Friday.

Harvick has the most wins at Phoenix with eight, and with five of those wins has finished in the top ten in the last eight including a sixth place finish in the Spring. Jimmie Johnson (twelth) had some early success with four before 2010, and has had some success afterwards. Since his last win, Johnson has finished in the top ten in nine of the last fifteen overall. During that span, Johnson had led a combined 246 laps while he led 630 with the four wins he has earned.

Kyle (eighth) and Denny Hamlin (second) are the only other two playoff drivers with wins at Phoenix. Kyle’s only win came in 2005 in his rookie season and has finished in the top five in the last four overall. He finished third in the Spring race while leading 114 laps. Hamlin’s only win came in the 2012 Spring race, and has finished in the top ten in five of the last six races. This will be the fourth time that Hamlin will start up front at Phoenix.

Non-playoff winners: There are six different winners and the one with the most is Dale Earnhardt Jr (fourteenth) with three. Junior’s last win came at this time two years ago which was shortened by rain. He missed last season’s Fall race but finished 14th in the Spring. Ryan Newman (eighteenth) won twice including the Spring race where he snapped his winless streak of 127. Newman led the final six laps when everyone else pitted. Kasey Kahne (17th), Matt Kenseth (7th), Joey Logano (9th) and Kurt Busch (15th) each have one win.

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