A playoff driver in a must win situation starts the weekend off right

Chase Elliott's only realistic hope to move on to the final four is a win in Phoenix. That being his obvious goal, he started the weekend off right by putting in the fastest time in practice, barely edging out the man who has been dominating the season, Martin Truex Jr.

Elliott's practice speed of 137.368 mph was just faster than Truex's 137.242. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five. They are all playoff contenders and, with the exception of Truex and Busch who have clinched already, will be racing for a spot at Homestead.

If this is any indication of how qualifying might go, most of the contenders will be right up front, which will make for a drama filled race on Sunday.

Related: Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson only have one shot at avoiding some unfortunate history