Well race fans, it’s been a wacky season. For the first time since NASCAR implemented a post-season there were 13 different winners in the cup series, Danica, Matt, Aric and Kasey are all out of a job at this point (mostly due to sponsors pulling out), and all of us true blue fans are wondering if just maybe NASCAR’s first family has finally found a way to undo the tremendous mess they started when they all got drunk and decided, “let’s have a chase for the Nextel Cup.”
While I’d love to break all those things down, and I probably will at some point before the year’s done. Today I hope just to try and simplify the “playoffs” for the Monster Energy National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Cup Series (doesn’t that just roll off the tongue?).
Here we Go:
The big difference to keep in mind this year over last year is “playoff points.” They’ve been accumulated throughout the season via race wins, stage wins, and finishing position in the regular season. Truex has a LOT of them. These points can also be accumulated throughout the playoffs, and carry through to every round except the final race in Miami, where the final four drivers all start the race on an even playing field. I won’t go through the trouble of typing out the points of each driver right now. Instead I’ll just focus on the guys starting towards the top. If you want to see where each driver sits right now, before the start of the “playoffs” in Chicago click right here.
As they stand going into the “playoffs” Truex, the regular season champion has a 53-point lead. The maximum points that can be scored during a single race is 60, so assume the 78 team is automatically given one mulligan race at the beginning of each round except the final, and Larson and Kyle Busch, who have 33 and 29 playoff points are given a half-race cushion. This isn’t taking into consideration the points each team will add on through each race of the playoffs, and with these three teams it’s safe to say they will be adding points.
What this means is that while it’s possible in theory for somebody at the bottom of the “playoff” points to win the championship (the “playoff” championship, not the other, regular-season championship that they already awarded, and which Truex didn’t seem to care much about), it’s a mighty tall order. What’s most likely to happen is that the 78, 42, and 18 teams will ride their “playoff” points all the way in to the final round where they’ll be joined by one driver (my money would be on Jimmy Johnson), and if that race is anything like the rest of the season, if the race ends in a short run it’ll go to Larson, if it’s a long run Truex will win. That being said, since the first year NASCAR started dividing the post-season into rounds I’ve never once seen a championship end the way I thought it would.
Hope that simplified things a little bit for you race fans. If you’re still confused, this should help explain things a little more in-depth than I had the space to do here. As always, thanks for stopping by, and happy trails!