The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series takes its final break before the regular season finale.
After its returns to action, it’s 11 consecutive weekends of action as the field gets set for the playoffs.
With only six drivers having scored wins this season, there is still plenty in play.
At this point, the race winners are one race away from securing a spot in the postseason.
This should make the fight even more interesting on a race-by-race basis.
Drivers at the other end of the table are in a close battle for the final spots above the cutoff.
As the championship picture becomes clearer, it’s possible to make some early guesses on which drivers are in the hunt.
Joey Logano is in great shape to retain his championship.
The Team Penske could become the first driver to repeat as a champion since Jimmie Johnson in 2010.
While #22 has a single win in 2019, his consistency has been impressive.
Logano leads all drivers in stage points with 136, eight ahead of Kevin Harvick.
Kyle Busch has been at the top of the standings for most of the early rounds.
The 2015 Cup Series champion has three wins, tied with Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski.
Busch had an amazing start, scoring three wins and six top 3 finishes in the first eight races.
While he hasn’t made the trip back to victory lane since #18 still leads the standings.
The Joe Gibbs driver has only missed out on a top 10 result once.
For another year, Busch is a strong contender to make it to the top 4 at Homestead.
Martin Truex Jr. now seems at home with Joe Gibbs Racing.
It took him nine races to visit victory lane, but Truex has been on a roll since.
The 2017 champion has three wins in his last five starts, including his first two stage victories.
Closing out this too-early top 4 is Chase Elliott.
Following his breakout year in 2018, the Hendrick Motorsports driver is doing even better in 2019.
After struggling in the early rounds like the rest of the team, Elliott has four consecutive top 5 finishes.
This includes his first win of the season, at Talladega.
Hendrick has the necessary know-how to fight for championships.
Should Elliott continue to lead the team’s charge, #9 is a strong candidate for a spot at Homestead.
Kevin Harvick is right in the hunt as well.
The 2014 champion might be winless this season, but his consistency has been enough to remain near the top.
Harvick has the second most stage points in 2019 and has only missed out on the Final Four once.
Brad Keselowski is tied with Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. for the most wins this season.
He trails teammate Joey Logano in stage wins, with four.
Consistency, on the other hand, has been a major issue for the 2012 champion.
Excluding his wins, Keselowski has finished inside the top in only three occasions.
While the Team Penske driver is always a strong contender, he has only made it to the Final Four once.
At the start of the season, Denny Hamlin looked like a great pick for the championship.
The Joe Gibbs driver picked up two wins and had the 11th place as his worst result through eight races.
His form has taken a nosedive since then, however.
Hamlin failed to get back in the top 10, dropping from third to seventh in points.
His playoff record isn’t particularly great either, having made it to the Final Four once since the format’s introduction.
Even so, he is already doing better than last year.
Hamlin closed out a season without a single win for the first time since moving to a full-time ride.
Now if you are after a real dark horse, then Alex Bowman might be the pick.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver has a career-best four consecutive top 10 finishes.
This includes a run of three straight runner-up finishes.
Bowman has only been outscored by teammate Chase Elliott during that stretch, proving Hendrick’s strength.
This could turn out to be #88’s breakout season.
The odds for the Cup Series Championship will be updated as soon as they are made available by the sportsbooks. We have however previously covered the early odds for the Cup Series Championship Winner. Check it out.
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