Third at Phoenix International Raceway

Kurt Busch Gerald Wayne ‘Jerry’ Grant

The drama comes just two weeks after Hamlin ended Elliott's shot at a first win and a spot in the championship race.

A win in that race, much like a win on Sunday, would have locked Elliott into the final round of the playoffs.

Keselowski advances to the final round at the expense of Denny Hamlin, who had the best auto throughout much of Sunday's race. That pass meant Brad Keselowski was able to advance with a shot for the title to the November 19 championship race at Homestead along with Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

Larson led Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Martin Truex Jr.

Hamlin is one of five drivers trying to secure the last open spot in next week's championship race.

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Finish: Matt Kenseth passed Chase Elliott with 10 laps remaining at Phoenix Raceway for his first Monster Energy Cup victory of the season. Larson was eliminated from the playoffs when his engine blew at Kansas, but he can still play spoiler by stealing the stage points other drivers so desperately need.

Hamlin easily won Stage 2 and has pulled even with Brad Keselowski in points entering the final stage.

Stage 2 will end on Lap 150. A win would lock him into the championship race automatically.

Elliott battered Hamlin's bumper with 43 laps to go, likely causing a tire rub to Hamlin's left-front.

Chase Elliott: This is Elliott's seventh second-place finish without a win, and while he said after the race he hopes to eventually correct that closing issue, this loss will sting more than others with a championship berth on the line.

"I don't ever want to go through that again".

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