LAS VEGAS, Nev. – It all begins Sunday, the race to the championship, and the Monster Energy Cup Series drivers in the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs are ready to go all in on their run to the championship in Miami.
“Now is when the pressure intensifies for all 16 drivers competing for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship.” Said Jill Gregory, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
There are some new twists and turns to the playoffs this season with a couple new tracks, Las Vegas and Richmond, also the road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be utilized for the first time in the cup series.
Kyle Busch enters the playoffs as the top seed. Busch has taken the No. 18 Toyota to victory lane six times this season, along with five stage wins and brings 50 playoff points with him. Busch picked up his first championship in 2015.
Kevin Harvick enters the playoffs in second place with seven wins, 12 stage wins and 50 playoff points. Harvick picked up his first championship in 2014 and has 44 career cup series wins.
The defending champion, Martin Truex, Jr., starts the playoffs in third place with four wins, seven stage wins and 35 playoff points. With the departure of Furniture Row Racing from NASCAR at the end of the season, Truex finds himself with a little extra motivation to showcase his ability to his next car owner.
Brad Keselowski is fourth and coming off a win at the Brickyard 400 earlier this week and has some momentum coming into week one of the playoffs. He is bringing two wins to the table along with four stage wins and 19 playoff points. Keselowski has won the last two races coming into the playoffs.
Rounding out the top five drivers in the playoffs is Clint Bowyer who, most people thought, would be battling for his second championship by now is still without his first. Bowyer picked up two race wins, 1 stage win and has 15 bonus points as he begins his chase for the championship.
Joey Logano starts the playoffs in sixth place, Kurt Busch is seventh, Chase Elliott is eighth, ninth is Ryan Blayney and 10th is Erik Jones. Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamilton, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman fill out the playoff field for 2018.
The format of the playoffs remain the same, win and you continue to the next round. After three races four drivers will be eliminated until we get to Homestead and only four drivers remain to battle for the championship.