Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship Round 2014: Who made it

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After Sunday’s great penultimate run at Phoenix International Raceway, one thing emerged a certainty: A first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will be crowned after next week’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman will battle it out for the championship. That means all three major manufacturers will also be represented: two cars for Chevrolet and one each for Ford and Toyota.

Unfortunately for them and their fans, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards all fell short and have been eliminated from the one-race, winner-take-all battle at Homestead.

We present the four drivers who will race for the championship next Sunday in south Florida:


Harvick won Sunday’s race to assure he would be in the championship race. The way the final standings broke down, Harvick was essentially in a win-or-else scenario.

If he had not won, Harvick likely would have been eliminated and Gordon would have advanced. Mathematically, Harvick and Gordon tied in points, but Harvick gets the advancement nod by virtue of the win.

It was Harvick’s sixth career win at PIR and his third Cup victory in a row on the mile-long track.

“Wow, I guess that’s what it feels like to hit a walk off (home run) in the extra innings there,” Harvick told ESPN in Victory Lane. “Everyone’s done a great job and we’re going to Homestead.

“I could tell we were probably going to have to win because everyone was running up in the front of the pack that we were racing against.

“This place has been phenomenal for me personally and for this team this year. And to do that in front of all your almost hometown fans and all the people that have been rooting for me since the mid-90’s is unbelievable.

“I think this says a lot about our team, we’ve been through a lot this year, put our backs against the wall, we put it in victory lane and we get to on.”


Newman made a move that likely would have made the late Dale Earnhardt proud.

Needing to finish one position higher than where he was heading into the final lap of the race, Newman punted Kyle Larson into the wall between Turns 3 and 4, thus earning the one position that was the difference between him making and not making the Chase.

Newman ultimately finished 11th in the race, and becomes the only driver of the four finalists to still have not won a race this season He couldn’t have cut it any closer Sunday.

“I just gave it my all,” Newman said. “They paved it down there, I guess, for a reason. They didn’t make any rules to say we couldn’t use it (the bump and run on Larson).

“It was a great team effort today. We didn’t have the race car, had horrible restarts and didn’t have track position when we needed it. But in the end, we fought back hard and did what we had to as clean as I possibly could.

“I wasn’t proud of (punting Larson), but I’ll do what I’ve got to and I could do this next week. … I think if he was in my position, he probably would have done the same thing.”


Although you probably wouldn’t know it by his sixth-place finish in Sunday’s race, Logano had numerous issues to contend with.

He fell off the lead lap twice, was penalized when the fuel can failed to disengage in time and wound up in an opposing driver’s pit stall, missed at least one attempt at a lucky dog – and yet still managed to advance to the championship round.

“When those situations happen, you have to try and stay calm, which is hard to do because there’s so much on the line,” Logano said. “I wasn’t mad at anybody, I was just frustrated trying to get up through the field.

“This team deserved to be in the final four and proved it throughout this whole Chase and this whole year. I’m glad to be sitting here, going for it and we’re going to have some fun next week.”


Much like Logano, Hamlin had his share of problems as well in the race, but somehow he and his No. 11 team found a way to overcome them.

Hamlin was the pole-sitter and led the first 24 laps before things started going south. He also fell off the lead lap twice, but still was able to rally back and finish fifth, punching his ticket to the championship round.

“What a crazy day,” Hamlin said. “You just think about what all went to be and that it wasn’t meant to be. We just had to keep fighting. This team just continued to battle and now we’re in it.

“This is a good week for us to go relax and get ready for a championship weekend at Homestead-Miami.”

Hamlin is an immediate favorite going to Homestead, as he has two wins there, including last year’s season finale.

“We have a lot of confidence,” Hamlin said. “Our (recent) test went real, real well down there.”

At the same time, there will be no gimme’s, and Hamlin is the first to know that.

“It’s going to be hard against the 31 (Newman), 4 (Harvick) and 22 (Logano),” he said. “I can tell you there’s no give-up. We just kept battling and battling back. I’m proud of our team and this is redemption and hopefully we’re able to capitalize next week.”

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IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.