No help. No problem.
Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman are the only drivers who can clinch Championship berths at Homestead in Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (3 p.m. ET on ESPN) regardless of how others finish.
Logano and Hamlin can both advance to Homestead with finishes of 11th or better, 12th with one lap led, or 13th with the most laps led.
Newman can qualify for Homestead by finishing ninth or better, 10th with one lap led, or 11th with the most laps led.
Of the three drivers, Hamlin has had the most success at Phoenix with one victory and eight top fives in 18 starts. He is coming off consecutive top 10 finishes in his last two races, the only Eliminator 8 driver to score top 10s in each of the two Eliminator Round races.
Newman is not far behind Hamlin’s pace with one win, eight top-five and 10 top-10 showings in 24 starts at the one-mile tri-oval. The Richard Childress Racing driver had his streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes snapped after a 15th-place showing at Texas.
Logano finished fourth at Phoenix in March and claims five top-10 finishes in 11 career starts there. He boasts the highest average finish in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season (5.3).
Despite not needing a win or even a top-five finish to advance to Homestead, Hamlin claims not being aggressive would hurt the three drivers’ chances of reaching Championship Round.
“I think as tense as eight drivers are going to be this weekend, cautious is going to make you finish about 17th,” Hamlin said. “There’s a lot of factors that track does not allow you to be conservative at.”