Hamlin eliminated from playoffs, Keselowski advances


He will be trying to keep Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson behind him all day. That pass meant Brad Keselowski was able to advance with a shot for the title to the November 19 championship race at Homestead along with Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

Elliott finished second Sunday, failing to advance to the title race but was asked about nudging Hamlin out of the way.

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch already had spots in the final round with wins in the last two races, while Martin Truex Jr. had enough points to clinch prior to this event.

Keselowski is running in 14th and must pass Hamlin on the track to get the final spot in the championship race.

In total, Toyotas held the top five spots at the end of Stage 2.

Elliott kept his cool at Texas but with his spot in the title race on the line, Elliott tagged Hamlin, then passed Matt Kenseth for the lead with just under 40 laps to go.

50 laps to go: Chase Elliott passes Denny Hamlin for second place on the restart before Cole Whitt's vehicle slams the wall with 51 laps remaining, bringing out another caution.

Stage 1: Kyle Larson hung around the front of the pack for most of the first stage, but he finally passed Hamlin with a couple to go to win Stage 1. Finishing second in Stage 1 and winning Stage 2 netted Hamlin 19 points, while Keselowski didn't earn any stage points. He led for 193 of 312 laps. The 10 points he earns for that, plus the nine he received for coming second in Stage 1, closed the entire points gap that Keselowski had coming into the race.

Jimmie Johnson, who qualified for the round of 8, had a tire go down on Lap 150 and hit the wall, ending his championship hopes.

Matt Kenseth won the checkered flag at the Can-Am 500 from Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

In addition, Hamlin won the race off pit road and began Stage 2 as the leader.