RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 09: Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 Mountain Dew Chevrolet,, Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW Chevrolet,, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Hurricane Harvey Relief Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald's Chevrolet, Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, pose for a photo after making the playoffs following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on September 9, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The championship race at Homestead has been as intense as we expected so far


When the playoffs started, Kyle Larson was considered to be one of the favorites to win the championship.

But Larson ran into trouble in the Round of 12, and he was eliminated from the postseason. However, he's returned to championship form during the first two stages at Homestead as he won both opening stages of the championship race.

Martin Truex Jr. led the Championship 4 after two stages, but Kyle Busch passed him soon after the final stage began.

Busch's day nearly came to an end after a miscue on heading into pit road.


Related: Even if he doesn't win Homestead, Dale Jr. is already a big winner

Truex finished second in Stage 2, followed by Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. All four drivers in the Championship 4 were in the top five, but they're chasing Larson heading into the final stage.

All four drivers have been near the lead throughout the race. They've mostly been conservative, but expect more strategy and fireworks in the final stage.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s entering the final stage of his full-time career, and it's been an uneventful race for him thus far. It has not been an uneventful race for Danica Patrick in her last race as a full-time driver as she crashed into the wall. Her day ended in Stage 2.