A Look at the Current Field For the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs - Predictions and Odds
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series stops for its final break before the playoffs.
With only two races left, nine drivers have already secured their spot in the postseason.
Seven are still in play, although that number will be much lower for the regular season finale.
Some well-known drivers are still fighting for their spot in the playoffs.
The most notable one, without a doubt, is Jimmie Johnson.
For the first time in his career, the seven-time champion is in real danger of missing out on the playoffs.
Johnson is the only driver in the series’ history to have taken part in every single edition of the postseason since the format’s inception.
Now let’s take a look at the current nine-car field and the driver’s chances at winning the championship.
The current points leader, Kyle Busch is also the favorite to win his second crown.
The Joe Gibbs driver has been fairly dominant in 2019.
Busch only missed out on the top 10 four times this season.
His record in the playoffs is also solid, with four Final Four appearances in five years.
That being said, Busch only has one win at Homestead, which, unsurprisingly, came during his title-winning campaign in 2015.
Busch’s record at Miami could be a problem in the final round of the championship fight.
The reigning Cup champion, Logano has relied on consistency this season.
He is second in points despite having only scored two wins.
On the other hand, the Team Penske driver’s seven stage wins are second only to Kyle Busch’s nine.
Logano will likely feature among the contenders once again, and is a strong Final Four candidate.
The 2018 champion has three Final Four appearances and usually shows up well in the playoffs.
It took 20 races for Kevin Harvick to score his and Stewart-Haas’ first win of 2019.
After bringing his long drought to an end, the 2014 champion quickly added a second victory.
It’s fair to say that Harvick finally looks like a championship contender after the slow start.
The Stewart-Haas driver is tied with Kyle Busch for the most Final Four appearances.
Harvick has a worst finish of fourth at Homestead since the playoff’s introduction in 2014.
His record at Miami makes him an even stronger candidate for the crown.
Could 2019 finally be Denny Hamlin‘s year?
After dealing with rumors about leaving Joe Gibbs Racing due to a winless 2018, he bounced back in great fashion.
Hamlin ended his winless streak in style by scoring his second career Daytona 500 victory.
The 2010 runner-up has added two wins since then and is in great form at the moment.
Hamlin carrier a bad reputation when it comes to title fights, mainly because of his defeat in the 2010 championship.
He only has one Final Four appearance, which came in 2014, the first year of the new format.
On the other hand, Hamlin has a very good record at Homestead.
A two-time winner, the Joe Gibbs driver scored the pole-position in three of the last four races at Miami.
If he does manage to survive the Final Four cut, #11 could be a sneaky good pick for the championship.
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr. is arguably the safest pick for the actual championship.
The Joe Gibbs driver won the championship in 2017 and narrowly missed out on the title last year.
Truex has three Final Four appearances and usually steps up his games during the playoffs.
His only win at Homestead came in 2017, but judging by his 2018 performance, a repeat could be on the cards.
If Truex manages to avoid trouble during the playoffs, he will likely enter Homestead as the favorite.
The current postseason format hasn’t been particularly kind to Brad Keselowski.
The 2012 champion faced early exits during the Round of 12 twice in five years.
Keselowski only has one Final Four appearance, which came in 2017.
The Team Penske driver has a poor record at the Round of 8’s tracks, with only two wins.
That has turned out to be his biggest challenge to get into the Final Four.
Keselowski’s record at Homestead isn’t particularly good either, with only three top 5 finishes in 11 starts.
In other words, the 2012 champion doesn’t look like a great pick for the championship battle.
What can we expect from Chevrolet?
If the Bowtie steps up its game, then Chase Elliott could show up as a genuine contender.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver has been the manufacturer’s top performer for most of the season.
Elliott is the only Chevy driver to have scored multiple victories in 2019.
His four stage wins are good enough for third, tied with Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.
Elliott finished best-of-the-rest in 2016 with a fifth place in the final standings.
A year later, after scoring wins both in the Round of 12 and Round of 8, Elliott narrowly missed out on a spot in the Final Four.
He does not have a very good record at Homestead, with a best finish of fifth in three starts.
However, his ability to step up in the postseason can’t be ignored.
Keep an eye on #9 – he has the best shot at the championship among the outside runners.
Kurt Busch signed a one year deal with Chip Ganassi for 2019.
After leaving Stewart-Haas, many expected the 2004 champion to retire.
Instead, Busch showed that he still has plenty left in the tank.
The elder Busch brother has battled with Chase Elliott all season for the number one spot among Chevrolet drivers.
Kurt beat his younger brother to score a win at Kentucky, which qualified him for the postseason.
That being said, he is, at best, a very long-shot for the championship.
Busch’s best results under the current format are three appearances in the Round of 8.
He also has two Round of 16 eliminations and never made it into the Final Four.
It’s been a breakout season for Alex Bowman.
After a difficult start, much like his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, things finally went the right direction after Talladega.
Bowman put together an impressive sequence of four consecutive second place finishes.
His first win finally came just over a month after that.
But that’s as far as Bowman’s season will go.
Don’t expect much more from him in the playoffs other than surviving the first round.
2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship Winner Odds
|Busch, Kyle||+350||Bet Now|
|Truex Jr. Martin||+400||Bet Now|
|Harvick, Kevin||+450||Bet Now|
|Hamlin, Denny||+600||Bet Now|
|Keselowski, Brad||+850||Bet Now|
|Logano, Joey||+850||Bet Now|
|Eliott, Chase||+900||Bet Now|
|Busch, Kurt||+2000||Bet Now|
|Larson, Kyle||+2000||Bet Now|
|Blaney, Ryan||+2000||Bet Now|
|Bowman, Alex||+2500||Bet Now|
|Jones, Erik||+2500||Bet Now|
|Suarez, Daniel||+4000||Bet Now|
|Almirola, Aric||+5000||Bet Now|
|Bowyer, Clint||+5000||Bet Now|
|Byron, William||+5000||Bet Now|
|Johnson, Jimmie||+6600||Bet Now|
|Newman, Ryan||+8000||Bet Now|
|Dillon, Austin||+30000||Bet Now|
|Stenhouse Jr, Ricky||+40000||Bet Now|
|DiBenedetto, Matt||+50000||Bet Now|
|Menard, Paul||+50000||Bet Now|
|Buescher, Chris||+100000||Bet Now|
|Hemric, Daniel||+100000||Bet Now|
|Preece, Ryan||+200000||Bet Now|
|Dillon, Ty||+250000||Bet Now|
|Wallace, Bubba||+250000||Bet Now|
|McDowel, Michael||+300000||Bet Now|
|Ragan, David||+300000||Bet Now|
|LaJoie, Corey||+500000||Bet Now|
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