That’s a fun question to ask in any sport and NASCAR is no exception to that rule. In fact, predicting the NASCAR playoffs is a lot like predicting The NCAA March Madness tournament, it involves a lot of different factors that act as a equalizer for the entire field and is thus pretty much impossible to predict perfectly.
Of course some people might get lucky or even use stats as basis to determine who the champion will be will at the end of the season, but its very difficult to do. What’s even harder to figure out however, is how everything will play out, which usually creates quite a few interesting situations when it comes to NASCAR.
5 Brad Keselowski won’t make it past the second round
Brad Keselowski might be on a role after winning three races in a row, including a win at Las Vegas that guarantees him a spot in the next round, but he might be in trouble as the playoffs go on. In fact, between his abysmal performance at Talladega and lackluster showing at Kansas, he could end up having to fight his way in on points.
Things also seem bleak for Keselowski in the third round, which consists of three more tracks that he failed to finish in the top-ten at. Maybe Keselowski proves everyone wrong and keeps his momentum going throughout the rest of the playoffs, but the statistics for him to do so aren’t exactly in his favor.
Jimmie Johnson makes it to final four.
While Jimmie Johnson hasn’t won a race this year and had to qualify for the playoffs on points, he could go all the way in the postseason if other drivers keep having the problems that they currently are. Of course Johnson is going to have to have an uptick in performance, speed and in pit stops to do his part, but its at least possible.
In fact, Johnson managed to finish in the top-20 at all three of the tracks in the second round of the playoffs and could very well replicate that to get into the third round on points. Unfortunately for Johnson, his worst round will be probably be the third, where he has multiple finishes outside the top ten and were dominated by other drivers.
In the end though, if Johnson can survive all of that, then he has a chance to win his 8th championship in The Cup Series. Furthermore, he has won at Homestead Miami before, which is a pretty good indicator that he could do so again. of course he’s going to need more luck then he has had all season and in last year’s playoffs, but if anyone can do it, its definitely him.
3 Chase Elliott wins again.
Chase Elliott might have had some trouble and wrecked out early in the playoff opener at Vegas, but the rest of the playoffs consist of tracks that Elliott exceeds at. In fact, between Talladega, Martinsville, and a road course all coming up in the playoffs, there’s no reason to think that Elliott can’t nab another checkered flag or two.
Of course Elliott is going to have to work on his consistency and dig himself out of the hole that was created for him at Vegas, but he is great under pressure and can definitely get himself out of this. Not only that, he is also in a Chevrolet, which has been getting more and more consistent over the past couple of weeks.
2 Martin Truex Jr doesn’t make it to final four
Martin Treux Jr has four wins, 16 top-five’s and 16 top-ten’s in the first 27 races of the 2018 season, but how much longer will that success last with his departure from FRR looming? sure, Truex Jr and Barry Visser have been adamant about pulling out all the stops for this final season, but how will the team react when the pressure amps up through the postseason?
With that being said, one bad mistake can put Truex and his team in the hole and while Treux could respond positively to the pressure by overcoming it, he and his team could also succumb to said pressure and lose out on a second straight championship. Whether fans want to believe it or not, the problems behind the scenes are going to come out sooner or later and its going to spell the end of Truex Jr’s championship run.
1 First time champion.
Let’s be honest here.
The only way this season can end on a positive note is if NASCAR has a first time champion and it feels like that is exactly what is going to happen. Whether the first timer ends up being Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola or Ryan Blaney remains to be seen, but there are just so many consistent finishers besides the big three that it feels like it has to happen.