Kyle Busch is not yet locked into the Championship 4, but his pole position for Sunday's playoff race at Phoenix should help in his quest to seal his contention in next week's championship race at Homestead.
Busch earned the pole for the Phoenix race on Saturday when he beat Joey Logano (second) and teammate Denny Hamlin (third), the two drivers behind him in the championship points standings.
Martin Truex Jr., who along with Kevin Harvick already has secured a place among the Championship 4, will start fourth at Phoenix.
The other playoff drivers — Harvick (seventh), Ryan Blaney (10th), Kyle Larson (fifth) and Chase Elliott (sixth) — also will start in the top 10 on Sunday.
The winner of the Cup Series playoff race at ISM has gone on to win the championship four times. Jimmie Johnson did it in three consecutive years from 2007-09, and Harvick did it in 2014. Johnson also has the worst finish in the Phoenix playoff race among drivers who went on to win the title; he finished 38th en route to his 2016 championship, barely worse than Logano's 37th-place finish at ISM last season.
NASCAR starting lineup at Phoenix
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
John Hunter Nemechek
What time does the Phoenix playoff race start?
Start time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: NBC
9. Erik Jones
The 2:30 p.m. ET start time for the race in Phoenix on Sunday is the last of four such start times for the Cup Series playoffs this season.
As for the TV channel, the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend is on NBC for the sixth time this year. As part of NBC's TV deal with NASCAR for the 2019 season, NBC was slated to show seven of the final 20 races of the season, with the other 13 scheduled to be shown on NBCSN. The network's broadcast crew consists of Rick Allen, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte in the booth, with Marty Snider, Dave Burns, Kelli Stavast and Parker Kligerman reporting from pit road.
In addition to the TV coverage on NBC, Sunday's race in Phoenix is available via live stream on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com.