Matt Kenseth won the checkered flag at the Can-Am 500 from Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon. He will join the three drivers who already had clinched - Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick - in a first-to-the-line championship battle on November 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
There was always going to be one delighted driver and four jealous ones when Sunday's playoff cutdown race finished, but now we know who falls into which category. Hamlin hesitated pulling out of his pit stop, not getting a signal when pit service was completed.
Elliott confronted Hamlin on the cool-down lap at Martinsville and the two were heated after the race.
Elliott battered Hamlin's bumper with 43 laps to go, likely causing a tire rub to Hamlin's left-front. Elliott took the lead shortly after Hamlin's blown tire and pulled away from Kenseth.
Larson took the lead with a pass of playoff driver Denny Hamlin, who led 40 of the stage's 75 laps.
Pole-sitter and playoff driver Ryan Blaney led the first 10 laps before losing the lead to Elliott.
Not long after winning the opening stage, Larson wound up in the garage, retired from the race because of an engine issue.
Stage 2 will end on Lap 150. Sunday's victory could easily be the last of his career, and next weekend's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway could be his last altogether.
Hamlin stays out, as does Kenseth (first), Elliott (fourth), Blaney (fifth) and Keselowski (seventh). That means Keselowski must finish ahead of Hamlin in the race results, and Keselowski finished Stage 2 in 13th.
Andretti is the only driver to ever win NASCAR's Daytona 500, IndyCar's Indianapolis 500 and Formula 1's world championship, so he has a little experience in NASCAR. Ryan Newman won the most recent race at Phoenix in March 2017.