Cleat Geeks

Pole Position Prophecies: The Playoff Picture So Far

With Kevin Harvick finally getting his first victory of the 2017 season that means 10 of the playoff spots have been filled leaving only 6 spots left and 10 races to go in  the regular season for those without a win to lock in a spot in the playoffs. So the question is: which drivers have the best chance to secure a playoff spot, and which drivers have a challenge ahead of them?

Drivers in Good Position: Of the drivers still without wins Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott are easily in the best positions. Despite being winless Kyle Busch has still managed to stay high up in the points standings at 4th place while Chase Elliott sits at 6th in points. Kyle so far this season has 6 top fives and 9 top tens and Chase has 5 top fives and 10 top tens. Neither of these drivers has had a problem getting solid finishes on a consistent basis, and as a result neither of these drivers is in any real danger of missing the playoffs.

Drivers on the Bubble: Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Clint Bowyer all fit into this category. All of them currently claim the last 4 spots in the playoffs, but are also within 60 points of the cut off line and 17th place. Of all the drivers listed Denny Hamlin is the most stable of the group, with 4 top fives and 8 top tens Hamlin has had consistent finishes, just not the elusive win. Jamie McMurray does have more points than Hamlin, but has only managed 2 top fives so far this season and with 4 drivers below him having more top fives than him being unable to reach the top five on a regular basis might get him into trouble. Joey Logano’s and Clint Bowyer’s positions are anything but guaranteed, Joey is only 11 points above 17th place and Clint is only 4 points above 17th and with 10 races left, anything can happen.

Drivers Just Missing the Cut: Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones are really the only drivers in this category. Matt is only 4 points outside the playoffs and has the same amount of top fives (3) and top tens (6) as Clint Bowyer. Erik Jones is only a rookie and has overall performed well as such, just not quite well enough to find him in the playoffs. At the end of the day it’ll come down to the last races of the season and the hope that one of the on the bubble drivers slip up for either of these two to make the post season.

Long Shots: Trevor Bayne, Kasey Kahne, and Dale Jr. are seeing their playoff hopes slowly fade out. Trevor Bayne so far this season has only managed 2 top tens and 0 top fives. Kasey Kahne has faired a little better (2 top 5’s and 3 top 10’s) but sits at 21st in points and has been well off the mark for more races than he’s been competitive in. Dale Jr only has 1 top five and 4 top tens and is currently 22nd in points. If these three drivers want to make the playoffs then they’ll have to score a win to get there.

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