NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 set after Martinsville

Jared C. Tilton |  Getty pictures


Jared C. Tilton | Getty pictures

Three of the four Championship 4 places were up for grabs when they took part in Sunday’s Round of 8 elimination race at Martinsville Speedway, but now the field is ready for next Sunday’s season finale.

Take a look at which four drivers in the 8th lap advanced to the championship race on November 7 at Phoenix Raceway (15.00 ET, NBC, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR) and which four drivers were eliminated from the title race.

RELATED: Race Results | Pictures on the field

WINNER

Alex Bowman pushed Denny Hamlin off the road with six laps left and held Kyle Busch back in NASCAR Overtime to win Sunday in Martinsville, forcing the final three Championship 4 spots to be won by points. Bowman, a non-playoff driver in the quarterfinals, got the sixth Cup Series victory of his career, with four of those victories coming this season. Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott are set to race for a championship next week at Phoenix Raceway.

WHO IS WITH

Kyle Larson (two wins), Chase Elliott (points), Denny Hamlin (points) and Martin Truex Jr. (points) are all on their way to Phoenix next week with a chance to fight for the championship. Larson was the only driver locked in before the Martinsville race after his victory at Texas Motor Speedway to open the quarterfinals. His victory last week at Kansas Speedway prevented others from winning a spot ahead of Martinsville. Elliott officially got his place in Championship 4 after his second stage victory Sunday in Martinsville. Hamlin’s 24th place in Martinsville and Truex’s fourth place on Sunday made it to a Hendrick Motorsports vs. Joe Gibbs Racing final.

WHO IS OUT

Kyle Busch (minus-3), Brad Keselowski (minus-8), Ryan Blaney (minus-20) and Joey Logano (minus-42) were eliminated from the championship after Sunday’s race in Martinsville. Hard day for Team Penske as all three of their drivers failed to reach Championship 4. Meanwhile, Busch could not catch up with Bowman and will miss Championship 4 for the second year in a row. Keselowski will miss one last title chance with Team Penske when he switches to Roush Fenway Racing as driver next year. Blaney has yet to reach a Championship 4, despite 2021 being without a doubt his best season as a Cup driver. Logano continues its pattern of doing Championship 4 for even, not odd years.

STATISTICS OF PHOENIX

Kyle Larson
Start: 14
Best finish: Second (spring 2017)
Top five: 5
Top 10: 8
Average start: 7.3
Average finish: 11.6
Led laps: 72
DNFs: One (engine: autumn 2017)

Chase Elliott
Start: 11
Best finish: First (autumn 2020)
Top five: 4
Top 10: 7
Average start: 4.7
Average finish: 11.2
Led laps: 402
DNFs: One (crash: autumn 2019)

Denny Hamlin
Starter: 32
Best finish: First (twice, latest in autumn 2019)
Top five: 15
Top 10:19
Average start: 9.8
Average finish: 10.8
Led laps: 854
DNFs: One (crash: autumn 2017)

Martin Truex Jr.
Starter: 31
Best finish: First (spring 2021)
Top five: 5
Top 10:13
Average start: 11.9
Average finish: 15.4
Led laps: 187
DNFs: Four (crashed: spring 2020; crashed: autumn 2016; engine: autumn 2012; overheating: autumn 2008)

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