With two races to go and seven points separating the top two in the championship battle, the title contenders will likely step up in the clutch. So it might be a tad difficult for anyone in the field to play spoiler.
But not impossible.
Reigning champion Brad Keselowski believes he can outrun anyone in the field, any given weekend and has proven he won’t settle for second in Chase races. Keselowski already has one win and four top-10 finishes in this year’s Chase races. He goes into Phoenix with the third-best average finish at the track among active drivers since 2011.
Denny Hamlin has the best average finish at PIR since 2011, and won at the track in 2012. Hamlin comes into Phoenix with three consecutive top-three finishes. Since his rookie year Hamlin has never gone winless in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and has stated that he would like to keep that streak alive and build momentum for 2014.
Kasey Kahne has been mathematically eliminated from title contention, making him a potential spoiler to this year’s title contenders in the final two races. Prior to this season, Kahne was the last spoiler to win a Chase race. That win came at Phoenix in 2011 with Team Red Bull. Kahne would like nothing more than to join his Hendrick teammates at the front of the field and pick up his third win of the season.