DAYTONA BEACH, FL. – Last week at Dover Kevin Harvick wrapped up the regular season championship with his win and based on the previous six wins this season he is the favorite heading into the playoffs.
In fact, as we head to Daytona, 13 of the 16 playoff spots have basically been accounted for. Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman and Cole Custer have locked down spots with regular season wins.
Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, and Kurt Busch have qualified for the playoffs due to points earned during the regular season. That leaves Clint Bowyer in 14th place in a pretty safe spot with a 57 point cushion above the cutoff line, Matt DiBenedetto is in 15th place with a slim nine point edge above the cutoff line and William Byron who holds a five point lead over seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson, with a great race, can gain enough points to lock down a playoff spot or a win gets him in. Erik Jones is in 18th place, 50 points out of the playoffs, giving him a tough climb to get in on points. Again, a win gets him in.
Of course, any driver, from any place in the point standings, can win and throw a whole wrench into the point standings.
The battle gets underway at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT