The Round of 12 is set for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. This, as I wrote about before the playoffs even began, may be among the toughest of the three rounds to advance.
You have 12 drivers represented by five different organizations. Three of the five organizations have three different cars each. But, it’s the organization with just one car remaining that’s championship eligible that’s the most intriguing.
We’ve had five straight years with five different Cup champions from five different teams.
Kevin Harvick won with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. Kyle Busch won with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015. Jimmie Johnson won with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016. Martin Truex Jr. won with Furniture Row Racing in 2017 while Joey Logano won with Team Penske last year.
SHR, JGR, HMS and Penske are all represented in the Round of 12. If this streak is going to continue, Kyle Larson and his Chip Ganassi Racing organization will be crowned champions next month at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
What a feat that would be too.
Larson, hasn’t been to victory lane in the last 75 races. In a day and age where winning rewards champions in NASCAR, the odds of him getting to Homestead to compete for a championship are likely riding on that winless streak coming to an end before then.
It very well could too.
Larson, has seven top eight finishes in his last nine starts on the year to go along with a third place run at Dover back in May. That’s the first race of the second round. He also has four top 10 finishes in his last five Dover starts as well. At Kansas, the site of the Round of 12 cutoff race, Larson was fourth and eighth respectively in the last two spring races and third in last year’s playoff race.
If he can get to the Round of 8, all bets are off. If he can get to Homestead? Game over. That track favors his driving style.
He’d have to beat Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who have made four Championship 4 appearances in five years. Joey Logano has three himself. Among the last few years, JGR, Penske and SHR have hogged the Championship 4. Maybe Larson can get Chevy to their first final round appearance since 2016.