The NASCAR Playoffs begin this weekend at Las Vegas Motor-speedway for the round of 16. 16 drivers all with a shot to win NASCAR’s championship. With that being said let’s take a look at the 2018 playoff drivers.
16th seed #88 Alex Bowman from Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman has 12 top 10 finishes in the 2018 season, with two top 5’s, one pole at Daytona and has led 67 laps. 15th seed #48 Jimmie Johnson from Hendrick Motorsports. The seven-time champion comes into the 2018 playoffs with eight top 10’s, two top 5’s. Jimmie has only led 29 laps this season. 14th seed #10 Aric Almirola from Stewart-Haas Racing. Almirola earned a playoff point win a stage win at Chicagoland. Almirola has 10 top 10’s and one top 5. He has led 115 laps. 13th seed #11 Denny Hamlin has two stage wins this season and has three playoff points. 14 top 10’s, seven top 5’s, and three poles in 2018. He has led 307 laps on the season.
12th seed #42 Kyle Larson from Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson has five playoff points and three stage wins. Larson has finished in the top 10 14 times, along with eight top 5 finishes, with three poles. Larson has led 666 laps in 2018. 11th seed #3 Austin Dillon earned his playoff spot in the season-opening Daytona 500, which he won. He has five playoff points from the win. He only has four top 10’s, two top 5’s. Dillon has only led 23 laps in 2018. 10th seed #20 Erik Jones like Dillon earned his playoff spot by winning the July race at Daytona, which also means he has five playoff points. He has 14 top 10’s, six top 5’s, and has started off the first race of the playoffs by earning the pole in qualifying. Jones has led 88 laps in 2018. 9th seed #12 Ryan Blaney hasn’t reached the success of 2017, by winning but none the less in his first year in a team Penske car has made the playoffs once again. Blaney has 12 top 10’s, five top 5’s, and two poles. His five stage wins, also help out along with having seven playoff points. Ryan has led 586 laps in 2018.
8th seeded #9 Chase Elliott broke through in the win column at Watkins Glen. To go along with Chase’s first career win Elliott has posted 14 top 10’s, eight top 5’s, and one pole. He has also claimed three stage wins and has eight playoff points on the season. Chase has led 220 laps in 2018. 7th seed #41 Kurt Busch won at Bristol in August. His season totals include 17 top 10’s, four top 5’s, three poles, two stage wins, 14 playoff points, along with leading 477 laps. 6th seed #22 Joey Logano won at Talladega, and his season totals also include 18 top 10’s, seven top 5’s, three stage wins, 14 playoff points, and Joey has led 339 laps in 2018. 5th seed #14 Clint Bowyer returned to victory lane for the first time since 2012. Bowyer has won twice in 2018 at Martinsville and Michigan, to go along with 12 top 10’s, seven top 5’s, one stage win, 15 playoff points, and has led 488 laps in 2018.
The Top Four seeds in the 2018 NASCAR playoffs are:
4th seed #2 Brad Keselowski has two wins, each in the last two weeks at Darlington and Indianapolis. He also has 14 top 10’s, eight top 5’s, four stage wins, 19 playoff points, and has led 356 laps in 2018. Keselowski is on a hot streak at the perfect time. Is the 2012 champion of the series ready to make a run at championship number two?
3rd seed #78 Martin Truex Jr has won four times in 2018 at Auto Club, Pocono, Sonoma, and Kentucky. He also has 15 top 10’s, 15 top 5’s, five poles, seven stage wins, 35 playoff points, and has led 706 laps in 2018. The defending champion of the series, will look to repeat his performance, but knowing the team is shutting down at the end of the season, will that keep Truex out of contention for winning his second consecutive NASCAR Monster Energy Cup championship?
2nd seed #4 Kevin Harvick is the class of the field with seven wins coming at Atlanta, Las Vegas, ISM, Dover, Kansas, Loudon, and Michigan. Kevin also has 22 top 10’s, 19 top 5’s, two poles, 12 stage wins, 50 playoff points, and has led a season-high 1,220 laps in 2018. The 2014 champion has had a career year with his seven wins, the most ever in a season in his career. Will the one they call “the Closer” get championship number two in 2018.
1st seed #18 Kyle Busch has been their right behind Harvick in wins but the 2018 NASCAR Regular Season champion, has a shot to outduel Harvick. Busch a winner six times in 2018 at Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Charlotte, Chicagoland, and Pocono. Kyle also has 21 top 10’s, 17 top 5’s, four poles, five stage wins, 50 playoff points, and has led 1,116 laps in 2018. The 2015 champion of the series, looks set to get his second championship in 2018. Busch has won at every track on the circuit, and the playoff-opening race in his hometown of Las Vegas could mean big things for one Kyle Busch.
A quick glance of the rounds of the 2018 Playoffs. The round of 16 features the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor-speedway, Federated Auto parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, and the Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Roval. The playoff grid cuts to the round of 12 beginning at Dover, and also includes the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega and the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas. The round of eight begins with the First Data 500 at Martinsville, followed by the AAA Texas 500 at Texas, and concludes with the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. The Championship Four run for the title in the season finale in the FordEcoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18th.
For now, its NASCAR Playoff season, catch the opening race on Sunday from Las Vegas. A few drivers to keep an eye on for sure are Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, and possibly Erik Jones who starts from the pole.