And then there were four: Here are your NASCAR Cup Championship contenders

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November 10, 2019 08:50 PM

And then there were four: Here are your NASCAR Cup Championship contenders

JGR occupies three of the four spots

Greg Engle

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Two of the four drivers were already locked in prior to Phoenix; the other two were decided Sunday in Phoenix.

For the first time in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series Playoff history, a single team will have three of the four drivers in the Championship finale at Homestead.  Three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers will face off against Kevin Harvick to decide who will be the 2019 Cup champion.
Two of the four drivers were already locked in prior to Phoenix. Martin Truex Jr. won the race that opened the Round of 8 at Martinsville, and Kevin Harvick secured his spot last week with a win at Texas.
Kyle Busch was a pretty good bet on points but when the green flag waved in Phoenix Sunday morning, so was defending Cup champion Joey Logano,  who started the day above the cut line on points.
Denny Hamlin would have none of that. A week after a spin at Texas left him with a finish of 28th, and a loss of 44 points that saw him fall below the cut line, Hamlin was on a mission in Phoenix Sunday.
Mission accomplished.  Hamlin took the lead on lap 73 and never looked back, leading a race high 143 laps and winning his way into the season finale and a chance to win the title.  He’s just the second driver to enter Phoenix below the cut line and win his way into the title field. And he’s also the only driver among the four who has not won a Cup title.
That should make for an interesting race at Homestead, and a worthy champion.

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, takes the green flag to start the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on March 9, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Sights from the NASCAR action at ISM Raceway Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019

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Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 09, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, is congratulated in Victory Lane by team owner Joe Gibbs after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with the winner’s decal on his car in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway on November 09, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/monster-energy-nascar-cup/and-then-there-were-four-here-are-your-nascar-cup-championship

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