Denny Hamlin wins at Phoenix; 3 of the 4 drivers racing for the 2019 title are from Joe Gibbs Racing

Joe Gibbs Racing has a 75 percent chance at the 2019 championship.

Denny Hamlin won Sunday at Phoenix to clinch a chance to race for the title in a week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He’s joined by teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. among the four finalists while Kevin Harvick, last week’s winner at Texas, will be the only non-JGR driver racing for the title.

It’s the first time three cars from one team have competed for the title in NASCAR’s current playoff format. And a win by either Busch, Hamlin or Truex would be the 19th of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing. That 19th win would be the most of any NASCAR team in modern NASCAR history and clinch the greatest team season in modern NASCAR.

Hamlin dominated Sunday’s race and kicked Joey Logano out of the top four in the process. Logano entered Sunday’s race in fourth in the standings and 20 points ahead of Hamlin. But Hamlin’s car took off and sprinted away from everyone — he built a 10-second lead at one point — in the final stage.

The only drama was a late caution with less than 10 laps to go when John Hunter Nemechek hit the wall because of a flat tire. Hamlin’s team put just two tires on his car. But the call worked out when Busch got around Ryan Blaney for second. Busch had four tires but couldn’t get to Hamlin’s bumper either out of dirty air, courtesy for a teammate or a combination of both.

“I pushed for all I had,” Hamlin said. “That’s all I got.”

Hamlin is the only one of the four drivers racing for the title next week who hasn’t won a title at all, let alone a title in this current NASCAR format. Harvick won in 2014, Busch won the 2015 title and Truex Jr. won the 2017 title.

Hamlin had Logano a lap down at the time of that late caution because of his third-stage speed. So Logano couldn’t do much to race for a better finish after that late restart. But since Hamlin started the day 20 points back of Logano he had to win the race. Logano had done enough throughout the race to force Hamlin to win if he wanted a chance at the championship.

And he did just that.

The win at Phoenix helps erase the sting of a previous Phoenix folly for the driver of the No. 11 car. Hamlin entered the 2010 fall race at Phoenix atop the points standings but finished 12th. That allowed Jimmie Johnson to cut Hamlin’s lead to 15 points and Johnson went on to win the championship for his fifth straight title.

Now Hamlin has a chance at redemption. It’s his second opportunity to race for the championship in this current format. Hamlin was one of the four drivers racing for the championship in 2014 but he finished seventh and third among the four title-eligible drivers.

Denny Hamlin is one of the four drivers racing for the 2019 championship. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Joey Logano unsure of what happened to car

Joey Logano went from winning the second stage of the race to going a lap down in the middle of the final stage. What the heck happened to Logano’s car? He can’t even explain it.

“I don’t know.  I have no idea,” Logano said. “It went from a really good car to a car that couldn’t stay on the lead lap with changing tires and a half pound of air. A lot of things don’t line up there. That doesn’t make any sense. The car shouldn’t do that, but it did and once we put tires back on it we got to where we could run competitive at least again, but we were so far back and I was running so hard trying to get back to [Hamlin] that we ended up using it up again.”

Logano finished ninth. Yes, ninth. Only eight cars were on the lead lap when the final caution came out. That’s how dominant Hamlin was during the 130 straight green-flag laps of the third stage.

Chase Elliott’s really bad third round

Chase Elliott made some NASCAR playoff history on Sunday. And it’s not the kind of history that you want to make. Elliott crashed out of the race because of a flat tire and finished 39th. That made him the first playoff driver to finish 30th or worse in each of the three races in the third round of the playoffs.

“It was really tough in traffic to catch guys and then pass and whatnot,” Elliott said. “But, I feel like we were in a good position to run solid. I'm not sure why we had a tire go down. I think that's what happened, at least; it seemed like it. It's unfortunate. Like I said, these last three weeks have been pretty rough. So, hopefully Homestead goes better and we can get prepared good for next season and get a good notebook for next year."

Full results

1. Denny Hamlin

2. Kyle Busch

3. Ryan Blaney

4. Kyle Larson

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Martin Truex Jr. 

7. Erik Jones

8. Clint Bowyer

9. Joey Logano

10. Brad Keselowski

11. Kurt Busch

12. Paul Menard

13. Matt DiBenedetto

14. Jimmie Johnson

15. Daniel Suarez

16. Chris Buescher

17. William Byron

18. Ryan Newman

19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

20. Ty Dillon

21. Daniel Hemric

22. Aric Almirola

23. Alex Bowman

24. Austin Dillon

25. Bubba Wallace

26. Ryan Preece

27. John Hunter Nemechek

28. Ross Chastain

29. JJ Yeley

30. Michael McDowell

31. Garrett Smithley

32. Bayley Currey

33. Landon Cassill

34. Joe Nemechek

35. Corey LaJoie

36. David Ragan

37. Reed Sorenson

38. Joey Gase

39. Chase Elliott

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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