Kyle Busch broke away after a late restart to win the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix on Sunday, closing out the third round of the NASCAR playoffs and setting up a star-studded Championship 4 for next weekend.

Kyle Busch NASCAR playoffs
Kyle Busch won in Phoenix to clinch his spot in the Championship 4 round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. (Image: Kelvin Kuo/USA Today Sports)

The win was Buschs eighth of the NASCAR Cup Series season, and his second of the playoffs.

Win Sets Up Dream Championship 4 for NASCAR

Buschs win was obviously huge for him, as it outright guaranteed that he would make it through to the Championship 4. But by preventing someone who was sitting outside the top four spots from grabbing a win, Busch also locked the other leaders into the final round of the playoffs.

That means that Busch will be joining Joey Logano, who picked up an automatic spot by getting the first win of the round at Martinsville. The final two spots went to Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, who reached the championship finale on points.

Busch said that the win should give him and his team a boost heading into the final race of the season.

Being able to do what we did here today was certainly beneficial, Busch said after the race. I didnt think we were the best car, but we survived, and we did what we needed to do today. Its just about getting to next week, and once we were locked in, it was All bets are off, and its time to go.

Truex finished in 14th place, and while that may not be the kind of result he was hoping for, it earned him more than enough points to ensure that none of the other playoff drivers would pass him for a qualifying spot.

Its exciting for us, I think, to be in this position again, Truex told reporters. This is our third trip to Homestead in four years, which I think is something were all really proud of as a group.

Harvick Finishes Strong to Overcome Penalty

Harvick was in a more precarious position. Though it looked like he had clinched a spot in the final four last week by winning at Texas Motor Speedway, a penalty for an illegal rear spoiler not only took away the automatic advancement, but docked him enough points to move Kurt Busch to within three points of him in the standings heading into Sunday.

But despite a flat tire that knocked him out of the lead after 73 laps, Harvick was able to finish in fifth place, comfortably reaching the Championship 4.

That was really the turning point in our day, to not have everything go right, Harvick said afterwards. We got ourselves back in contention there, and were going in the right direction and wound up just finding a spot at the end to just survive there and get to the finish.”

The only thing that could have gone wrong for Harvick was having one of the other four playoff drivers grab a win and an automatic spot in the final on Sunday. That possibility was still alive even late in the race, as Aric Almirola was lined up against Busch, who could have eased off to try to get Almirola into the final, knockout out Harvick.

I did think about it, Busch told reporters. But Im here to win the race. They always want it to play out naturally.

Almirola was one of four drivers eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, along with Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, and Clint Bowyer.

Next weeks Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway closes out the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season. The highest finisher among the Championship 4 drivers will earn the series championship, even if they do not win the race outright.