Matt Kenseth was in the Chase finale, and then he was suddenly out

— -- AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Kenseth stood by his car and tried to remain calm after he saw a potential victory and Chase for the Sprint Cup championship berth vanish in a wreck in NASCAR overtime Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kenseth was leading and in control of the Can-Am 500 when the caution came out for a Michael McDowell wreck with less than two laps remaining.

On the ensuing restart, he tried to cut in front of Alex Bowman and ended up crashed.

"Is there anything I can do or say right now to make it better?" Kenseth said. "The only thing I can really do or say right now is make things worse. I'm really trying not to do that."

But it was pretty clear that it was a devastating night for Kenseth, who won a championship in 2003 and still seeks another in a career that likely has only a few more years left.

"'Disappointed' would put it lightly," Kenseth said. "It finished our season. Five minutes before that, it looked like we were going to have a chance to go race for a championship."

Kenseth's spotter, Chris "Crazy" Osborne, took the blame for the accident, saying he had cleared Kenseth to the inside.

"It's a team effort," Kenseth said. "We win as a team; we lose as a team. I can't blame Chris. I didn't really see what happened. He said I was clear, so I started looking toward the corner. I got turned around.

"Things happen in a hurry. I don't know if Alex just drove in there in front of me or I wasn't clear."

Bowman was apologetic but didn't think he did much wrong. Kyle Busch was critical, saying that Bowman chopped down on him, so he tagged Bowman, who then was in position to be inside Kenseth when Kenseth thought he was clear.

"There is not really anything I can do when the spotter clears you and I'm inside of you," Bowman said. "I hate that it happened. It's very disappointing. I never would intentionally do that. I was just running my line and got turned sideways by the 18 [of Kyle Busch] and the next thing I know the 20 [of Kenseth] is driving across my nose.

"It's unfortunate. I don't think many people will be that hung up on it. If people were going to be that hung up on it, he'd be down here screaming at me now."

Kenseth wasn't screaming much. He was devastated.

"It probably hurts more in a way, but what are you going to do?" Kenseth said. "You don't know how many chances you are going to have [to win another championship]. We had a really good car and a really good chance."

Xfinity Series: A close call with lug nuts

Elliott Sadler advanced to the championship but will be without his crew chief after NASCAR officials found two loose lug nuts after the race at Phoenix.

The penalty for having them loose is a $10,000 fine and a one-race crew chief suspension. Sadler crew chief Kevin Meendering likely will be replaced by Ryan Pemberton.

If three lug nuts were loose -- meaning with a lug not touching the wheel -- Sadler would have been docked 35 points and missed the cut. Both Sadler and Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton said there never was discussion of a third lug nut loose.

"It's going to be tough, man," Sadler said. "No driver wants to go to Homestead with a chance of legitimately winning a championship and not have your right-hand man sidekick with you.

"But we still have a chance to go win it. We can't count ourselves out."

Sadler now has a shot at the title along with Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier.

Jones leads the finalists with four wins this season; Sadler has three.

"Everybody is going to be on top of their game, and you just have to do what you can to have a fast car and be up there running with them and then put yourself in a position to a least have a chance at it," Jones said.

Suarez, who has an average finish of 3.1 in the Chase, is optimistic.

"There are a lot of people that are going to start thinking about how cool it is going to be," Suarez said. "I have to think about how I'm going to make it happen. I have to do the work, and that's exactly what I'm going to do."

Allgaier doesn't have a win this year but still has a shot at the title.

"We all four have run together all [year] long," Allgaier said. "Homestead is going to be no different."

Advancing to the owners championship were the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team ( Matt Tifft to drive at Homestead), Team Penske No. 22 ( Ryan Blaney) and the Suarez and Sadler cars.

Camping World Truck Series: Three veterans, one rookie

While three veterans ( Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters) and one rookie ( Christopher Bell) advanced into the championship hunt, the driver with six wins this year -- rookie William Byron -- didn't advance as his engine blew while leading with 11 laps left at Phoenix.

Byron will move from Kyle Busch Motorsports to join JR Motorsports next year as a Hendrick development driver.

"I would never take back the wins we've had," Byron said. "It's gotten me to a new level, it's gotten this team to a new level with confidence and performance.

"I would never trade those. Those were awesome moments for my team. I was hoping to share another one of those tonight, and it just didn't happen."

Sauter, with two wins and a second-place finish in the semifinal round, has to feel like a favorite.

"I'd like to think [we're the ones to beat]," he said. "Anything can happen. ... You're going to have to go down there and be aggressive and also be a little bit smart."

Crafton has won two titles and seeks a third. Crafton: "I don't think there's anybody that has an advantage, it's whoever has the best truck and the best man will win that night."

Peters is looking for his first title.

"We've been lucky a lot of times and maybe finished some races that we probably shouldn't have," he said. "Homestead is a pretty decent track for us, so [we're] looking forward to going down there and seeing what we've got."

Bell also is looking for his first title and got in thanks to Byron's engine failure.

In the owners championship, it will be the Byron (the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 9 team made it in because the Red Horse Racing team of Peters didn't make the owners Chase), Sauter, Crafton and Bell trucks.