Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Martin Truex Jr. to start fifth in Phoenix, Jones 11th

NASCAR at Phoenix 2017 Qualifying Results: Ryan Blaney Wins Pole Position Preview: the NASCAR Cup Race at Phoenix
Noah Ferguson | 14 November, 2017, 13:17

The semifinal round of the Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs concludes Sunday at Phoenix Raceway where the Can-Am 500 will determine the final participate in next week's championship final.

In the final round, Blaney covered the one-mile distance at Phoenix Raceway in 26.098 seconds (137.942 mph) to edge Denny Hamlin (137.936 mph) by.001 for the top starting spot in Sunday's Can-Am 500, the final race in the Playoff's Round of 8 (on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET). Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will break from Row 2 as the Cup Championship Playoffs' Round of 8 reaches its conclusion.

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"I felt lucky that we were running good enough to win the race", he said. The weight of winning is at its height for the five eligible drivers that are vying for the one available spot to race for the Cup championship trophy at the Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship.

"I really don't know when that started to happen", he said.

"It just proves to the people who thought I was a bad guy that he would do the exact same thing under the same circumstances", Hamlin said. "I'll just have to figure that out and figure out what we need to do to go faster".

Keselowski's lackluster qualifying effort, won't change Hamlin's approach to the race. Along with Keselowski who will start P16, both were the only remaining playoff drivers to qualify outside the top 10. "I didn't think they were going to qualify that great, but they typically race pretty well here".

"I$3 got here and I'm like, 'Man, it's just a week away".

"We stuck with the plan all weekend and we were right there all day".

This may be the last race before the big finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but the narrative heading into the race is not based exclusively on who will win and become NASCAR's newest champion. Elliott trails by 49 points, with defending and seven-time series champion Johnson 51 points behind.

Getting the fourth pick of pit stalls should help.

When told that Harvick has picked Truex as the favorite, Truex cut off the question before waiting to hear what Harvick even said. "We'll take advantage of that and try to go get 'em on Sunday". He will line up on the inside of Row 6 next to Jimmie Johnson. Had Elliott hung on for the win, he would have qualified for the championship finale.

"I feel like I nearly need to apologize because I've got a pregnant wife, I'm retiring and I just feel like I'm going to break down any minute", he said.

"So, could have been better, but I don't know if we could have had the pole". So picking up to fifth, I was happy with that.

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