Quick, who had Cole Custer and Austin Dillon the the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs this year? You’re lying if you said you did. But, here we are heading close to the end of the regular season in the Cup Series and both have won in consecutive weeks to clinch berths into the postseason.
Just eight races remain in the regular season, including Thursday nights at the Kansas Speedway. With what’s left ahead of us, we’re headed to a wild finish.
We have the Daytona road course and oval left. We have a 1.5 mile track on Thursday night to where we’ve had a different race winner on all 1.5 mile tracks this season. Do we keep this shock winner trend going? Either way, with where we stand now, we know two big teams will miss the playoffs.
A Hendrick Motorsports car (William Byron) and Joe Gibbs Racing car (Erik Jones) are currently out. Even if both make it in, they’d have to knock out one or both SHR wildcard cars, a JGR car, a Hendrick car, a Ganassi car and/or a Wood Brothers car.
Something has to give.
You also can’t count out Tyler Reddick who’s in 18th right now either. Then, what happens if a fluke winner comes too?
“Honestly, it’s going to be tough,” Byron said of making the playoffs. “We just have to find speed first. We’re not really running good at all and we’ve got to figure that out. We’ve just got to figure it out and figure it out quick before the fall.”
Byron has never won a Cup race before and trails his teammate Jimmie Johnson by two points for that final spot. He’s 0-for-90 right now.
Do you want to have to bank on ending that to make the playoffs?
Erik Jones is only 2-for-126 in victories. He’s 24 points out. He said a few weeks ago that he’s not a 16th place car and he’s right, he’s not. But, he’s 19th though. He has to win, but he also needs stage points and solid finishes too.
“Obviously, we need to get some points, especially with two winners the last two weeks that have been from outside the Playoff picture,” Jones said. “That kind of changes things for us. We’ll keep rolling, but a decent day for us.”
Johnson, hasn’t won since June 2017. Clint Bowyer is in 15th and hasn’t won since 2018.
These are your bubble guys. But, do they elect for stage points or just go for wins and let it all shake itself out?
Kansas is a good opportunity for some guys, but the wildcard battle may be one for the ages now.