The regular season is now behind us. The 10 race Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Throw out everything before this weekend as it’s a brand new season.
But, the common theme of the drivers from this past weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was, the Championship 4 is wide open and that you can’t afford to have a bad race at any point in the playoffs. The hole will be too big to overcome.
That makes Sunday’s race so crucial. You don’t want to get off on the wrong footing.
Denny Hamlin has seven top six finishes in his last eight starts on the season. But, he hasn’t had a top five in Vegas since 2015. Four of his last five finishes have been 10th or worse.
Erik Jones has one top 10 finish in four tries on the 1.5-mile track but five top four finishes in his last eight tries on the season too.
Clint Bowyer has one top 10 finish in Vegas in his last eight tries. That was a 10th place run in 2017. He’d led 17 total laps there but none since 2012. He does have three straight top seven finishes on the season though.
Chase Elliott has crashed out in three of his five Vegas starts with all resulting in finishes of 34th or worse. He was ninth back in March and has four top 10 finishes in his last five starts on the season.
William Byron’s best finish is 16th in three tries. Alex Bowman’s is 11th. Ryan Newman has just one top 10 in his last five Vegas starts but does have five top 13’s in his last seven tries.
On the flip side to all of this, Kyle Busch has three straight top seven finishes on his hometrack. Kevin Harvick has four top seven’s in his last six tries. Martin Truex Jr. has five top eight’s in his last six there. Aric Almirola has finishes of 10th, sixth and seventh respectively in three tries at Vegas with Stewart-Haas. Brad Keselowski won this race last year and finished second in the spring race. He hasn’t finished worse than seventh in his last eight tries. Joey Logano won the spring race and has seven straight top 10’s. Ryan Blaney has four top seven finishes in his last six. Kyle Larson has three top three finishes in his last four.
See where this could go?