DARLINGTON, SC – There are only two races left before the playoff field is set, this weekend at Darlington and Indianapolis next weekend. The biggest question in most NASCAR fan’s mind is will we have a playoff without seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
As teams prepare for the Southern 500 the No. 48 team is 18th in the point’s standings, 26 points behind Daniel Saurez. To say this season has been a disappointment for Jimmie Johnson would be an understatement. Johnson hasn’t seen victory lane since 2017 and he is in a must win situation to qualify for the playoffs.
The good news for Johnson is that he has three wins at Darlington, two wins in 2004 and one win in 2011. Although this isn’t recent success, it means that Johnson could be a threat to get the win that has evaded him. Darlington isn’t the only good news for Johnson. Johnson has four wins at The Brickyard, which is the final race to qualify for the playoffs.
Stewart-Haas driver, Clint Bowyer, sits in 17th place in the standings only 2 points behind 16th place Saurez. Bowyer hasn’t seen the success everyone thought he would see this year. Even though he has challenged for wins there always seemed to be trouble right around the next turn. Darlington isn’t a track where Bowyer has had much luck. He finished 36th last season and his best finish was all the way back in 2007 when he had a top ten finish.
Nine drivers are in the playoffs with a win and seven are in by points and Bowyer and Johnson are within striking distance of the playoffs and need to step up for their chance to run for a championship.