Two months ago, 16 drivers had hopes of winning this year's Sprint Cup Series championship, but now, just four of them remain in the Chase, as they will battle for title in Sunday's season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After the first round in the Chase, the Challenger Round, A.J. Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, the 2004 series champion, and Greg Biffle were eliminated from title contention.
Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most-popular driver, Jimmie Johnson, the six-time and defending Sprint Cup champion, and Kasey Kahne were knocked out of the playoffs following the Contender Round.
This past Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon, the four-time series titleholder, as well as former Cup champions Matt Kenseth (2003) and Brad Keselowski (2012) failed to advance in the elimination race of the Eliminator Round.
Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, the winner at Phoenix, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman are the final four. None of these drivers has won a championship in NASCAR's premier series in the past. Four teams -- Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske -- and all three car manufacturers -- Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota -- are represented.
Hamlin, Harvick, Logano and Newman had their points reset to 5,000 each for Homestead, and the highest finisher among the four there will win the title.