Who’s hot, who’s not entering 2022 NASCAR playoffs

With the final 4 races during the final month of the regular season now behind, one has to wonder in a season of unpredictability, can the momentum gained in August translate over to a deep playoff run?

We’ve seen this in all sports before. Whomever is on a hot streak coming into the postseason are usually the ones to triumph in the end.

Last year, Kyle Larson had 3 top 3 finishes over the final 4 weeks of the regular season.

In 2020, Chase Elliott had 3 top 5’s over the final 4 races.

In 2019, Kyle Busch had 3 top 6’s in the same stretch.

In 2018, Joey Logano had 3 top 10’s including 2 top 4’s over the final 3 weeks.

For 2017, Martin Truex Jr. had just 2 top 10’s and 1 top 5 over the final 4 week stretch, but prior to those 4 races he had three straight top 3’s.

In 2016, Jimmie Johnson had 3 top 11’s.

For 2015, Kyle Busch had 4 top 11’s including 3 straight top 8’s to close the regular season out with but on the grander picture, he had 6 top 2 results over the final 11 weeks.

Finally in 2014, Kevin Harvick had 2 top 10’s, both in the top 5 in this stretch.

Moral of the story is, you better be on top of your game at this point, especially at Michigan which was the 1st race in this stretch. Harvick was 2nd in this race in 2014. Busch was 11th in 2015, Johnson was 6th in 2016, Truex Jr. was 2nd in 2017, Logano was 10th in 2018, Busch was 6th in 2019, Elliott was 7th and 9th in the two races run in the doubleheader weekend in 2020 while Larson was 3rd last year.

None of the eventual champions were worse than 11th in this race including 3 of them in the top 3.

Playoff finishers in this past year’s race in the top 11: Kevin Harvick (1st), Denny Hamlin (3rd), Joey Logano (4th), Martin Truex Jr. (5th), Ryan Blaney (6th), Kyle Larson (7th), Alex Bowman (9th) and Chase Elliott (11th).

What made this year’s final 4 week stretch challenging is you have a high speed 2 mile oval, a short track (.75 miles), a road course and a superspeedway.

The top drivers that are hot during this stretch:

  • Joey Logano – 4th, 6th, 3rd, 12th
  • Kevin Harvick – 1st, 1st, 12th, 20th
  • Denny Hamlin – 3rd, 4th, 20th,
  • Chase Elliott – 11th, 5th, 4th, 25th
  • Kyle Larson – 7th, 14th, 1st, 37th
  • Ryan Blaney – 5th, 10th, 24th, 15th
  • Tyler Reddick – 29th, 31st, 7th, 2nd (4 top 5’s last 14)
  • Christopher Bell – 26th, 2nd 8th, 36th
  • Martin Truex Jr. – 6th, 7th, 23rd, 8th (not in playoffs oddly enough)

Who’s Not:

  • Daniel Suarez – 25th, 19th, 5th, 24th
  • William Byron – 12th, 11th, 22nd, 34th (0 top 10’s last 10, 1 in last 18, 0 top 5’s in last 18)
  • Alex Bowman – 9th, 20th, 14th, 14th (1 top 10 last 12, 0 top 5’s in last 15)
  • Austin Cindric – 37th, 12th, 13th, 3rd (2 top 10s last 7)
  • Ross Chastain – 24th, 18th, 21st, 33rd (Each of last 6 are 18th or worse)
  • Kyle Busch – 36th, 9th, 32nd, 10th (2 top 10 last 11, last top 5 1st weekend of June)
  • Chase Briscoe – 20th, 23rd, 25th, 31st (0 top 10’s last 12)
  • Austin Dillon – 13th, 16th, 17th, 1st (1 top 5 (win at Daytona) in last 16, 2 top 10’s in last 14)

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