This is the closest finish to a Sprint Cup Championship in the seven years since NASCAR went to this format. Jimmie Johnson finished fifth in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway while points leader Denny Hamlin finished 12th. Hamlin saw his lead over second-place Johnson shrink from 33 points to 15.
Carl Edwards won the race in Phoenix.
Hamlin's strategy to pit on lap 298 and not while the race was under caution at lap 224 ultimately cost him.
Johnson, the four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, did not lead a single lap in Phoenix. Meanwhile, Hamlin led a race-high 190 laps.
In the season standings, Kevin Harvick is third, 46 points behind Hamlin.