Rookie Report: Can-Am 500
By Dominic Aragon
November 14, 2016
AVONDALE, Ariz.—All five Sprint Cup Series rookie-of-the-year candidates were among the 40 starters in the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway Sunday.
Below is a breakdown of how each fared.
No. 21 Ryan Blaney
Blaney started in eighth for the second consecutive race.
Blaney finished eighth, his ninth top-ten finish of 2016.
He will enter the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway 20th in driver’s points, tied at 797 points with A.J. Allmendinger.
No. 24 Chase Elliott
Elliott started third, the highest of the rookie-of-the-year candidates. He finished ninth, his 17th top-ten finish of 2016.
Elliott sits tenth in points entering the finale. If he can finish top-ten in driver’s points this season, he will become the first driver since Denny Hamlin in 2006 to finish inside the top-ten in points as a rookie.
No. 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt
Earnhardt started 35th, the lowest of the rookie-of-the-year candidates, in his 21st start of the season.
In his first Sprint Cup start at Phoenix, Earnhardt was the first rookie to fall off the lead lap before the lap 40 mark.
Earnhardt finished 33rd, six laps down.
“I wish we could have gotten the 34 there at the end,” he said. “We put a set of scuffs on it and killed that last run there towards the end.”
Earnhardt remains 41st in points after Phoenix.
No. 34 Chris Buescher
Buescher started Sunday’s race 30th, eventually finishing 32nd, six laps down.
He will enter the season finale 16th in driver’s points.
No. 44 Brian Scott
Scott started 33rd, finishing 30th, five laps down.
Scott will enter the season finale 32nd in driver’s points. Scott needs to pick up seven points to pass Dale Earnhardt Jr in 31st.