The battle to make the playoffs is heating up. Drivers have only 10 more races to secure their spot as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Daytona. Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliot, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray, and Trevor Bayne are all fighting for one of the final 6 remaining spots in the playoffs. They can’t all fit.
Busch, Elliot, Hamlin, and McMurray are all but locked in, although, a surprise win at a place like Daytona could spoil one their parties. Such an upset could easily come from Trevor Bayne. Not only did Bayne win the Daytona 500 in 2011 but also, his team Rousch Fenway Racing has shown tremendous speed at restrictor plate races recently. In fact, the RFR stable is almost a favorite to win, especially after Ricky Stenhouse Jr narrowly defeated a sullen Kyle Busch at Talledega earlier this season.
Another upset win could be nabbed by Daniel Suarez or Erik Jones at places like Kentucky, Michigan, or Indianapolis. Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing have shown a lot of speed at these tracks recently and these young guns could steal a W. Suarez and Jones have an incredible amount of talent, but will they be able to dig their way out of their points hole?
Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer sit just inside the top 16. One bad race could push them out. That’s where NASCAR veteran and champion Matt Kenseth sits right now. All three drivers could easily grab a win before the playoffs start. They all drive for some of the hottest teams in NASCAR right now. Logano and Bowyer have a knack for places like Daytona, Logano is even racing in the Xfinity series race Friday night. It would be a real surprise of one of these guys to miss the playoffs but it might just happen.
The playoff picture might be clear as day after the Coke 400 at Daytona, or it could be as clear as mud. that is the nature of restrictor plate tracks. Only time will tell who makes and who misses the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Although I can tell you it’s going to be a wild final 10 races.