AVONDALE, Ariz. — Ryan Blaney has won the pole in his final chance to qualify for NASCAR's championship race.
Blaney turned a lap at 137.942 mph around Phoenix Raceway to take the top starting spot for Sunday's penultimate race of the playoffs. There is one slot available in the field of four that will race for the championship next week, and Blaney is one of five drivers chasing that spot.
Blaney bettered Denny Hamlin in Friday qualifying. Both playoff drivers need to win to grab the final spot in the finale.
"Our mindset coming into this weekend was really trying to win the race and sitting on the pole. My mindset doesn't change," Blaney said. "I still want to go try to win the race, so that's the mindset we've had all week and hopefully we can keep that and I think that's our goal."
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. have already locked up spots in the finale.
Kyle Larson, who has been eliminated from the playoffs, will start third.
He was followed in qualifying by playoff drivers Chase Elliott, Truex and Harvick.
Brad Keselowski was the lowest-qualifying playoff driver at 16th. He starts Sunday's race with an advantage in the point standings over the other four drivers trying to make it into the championship, but he has very little breathing room and a victory is his only sure bet to make the finale.