Sunday, Oct 17

2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

The field takes the green for the 63rd Daytona 500 to start the 2021 season on February 14th, 2021 in Daytona Beach, Florida The field takes the green for the 63rd Daytona 500 to start the 2021 season on February 14th, 2021 in Daytona Beach, Florida Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

The 26-race regular season is over, and the playoffs are set; 16 teams to compete for a championship. Each driver with their own path to the dance floor, some more difficult than others, and for most it took a trip to victory lane to find their way here.

  1. Kyle Larson: 2,052 points, Regular Season Champion, 5 wins, 12 Stages

Hendrick Motorsports’ #5 has been the most dominant team all year and the most deserving of the regular season championship. Larson is the favorite to hoist this year’s trophy in Phoenix.

  1. Ryan Blaney: 2,024 points, Regular season finish 6th, 3 wins, 4 stages

Team Penske’s #12 disappointed the underdogs with a win in the season finale at Daytona as this team rides a wave of momentum with two wins and six top fives in the last nine races.

  1. Martin Truex Jr: 2024 points, Regular season finish 7th, 3 wins, 5 stages

Joe Gibbs Racing’s #19 continues to be a perennial champion favorite despite an up and down season the team looks ready to make a run to the final four.

  1. Kyle Busch: 2,022 points, Regular season finish 4th, 2 wins, 5 stages

Joe Gibbs Racing’s #18 usually leads the win column, but despite only two wins the teams consistency has provided enough points for what should be, another final four appearance.

  1. Chase Elliot: 2,021 points, Regular season finish 3rd, 2 wins, 3 stages

Hendrick Motorsports’ #9 performance has been behind teammate Larson all season, but the most popular driver could easily best the #5, especially at Phoenix, one of Elliot’s best tracks.

  1. Alex Bowman: 2,015 points, Regular season finish 12th, 3 wins, 0 stages

Hendrick Motorsports’ #48 has figured out winning despite inconsistency. They might not have what it takes to win the championship, but the team’s growth is promising.

  1. Denny Hamlin: 2,015 points, Regular season finish 2nd, 0 wins, 5 stages

Joe Gibbs Racing’s #11 almost won the regular season championship, without winning. The team is so good it’s unbelievable they’re winless, it’s likely they will see victory lane soon.

  1. William Byron: 2,014 points, Regular season finish 5th, 1 win, 3 stages

Hendrick Motorsports’ #24 has shared in the organizations great season with competitive showings every week, it will be interesting to see what this young driver can do in the playoffs.

  1. Joey Logano: 2,013 points, Regular season finish 8th, 1 win, 5 stages

Team Penske’s #22 recent struggles are concerning with only one top five in the last ten races. They might still have a chance at a championship, but the team needs to turn it around now.

  1. Brad Keselowski: 2,008 points, Regular season finish 10th, 1 win, 2 stages

Team Penske’s #2 and everyone behind them have failed to garner enough points to make this year’s playoffs easy. Hopefully Brad can make the best of his last ten races with the team.

  1. Kurt Busch: 2,008 points, Regular season finish 14th, 1 win, 3 stages

Chip Ganassi Racing’s #1 has performed well for the team in it’s final year, but it’s unlikely to be enough for a championship, however the veteran Busch has what it takes to make a good run.

  1. Christopher Bell: 2,005 points, Regular season finish 15th, 1 win, 0 stage

Joe Gibbs Racing’s #20 is behind the rest of the organization, but rookie driver Bell has shown potential including a win this year. The team is competitive and could make the round of eight.

  1. Michael McDowell: 2,005 points, Regular season finish 21st, 1 win, 0 stages

Front Row Motorsports’ #34 is this year’s biggest wild card with their Daytona 500 win. If the team makes it past the first round, the roval provides an opportunity, but the odds are very slim.

  1. Aric Almirola: 2,005 points, Regular season finish 23rd, 1 win, 0 stages

Stewart-Haas Racing’s #10 was the worst among an underperforming organization with high expectations. Almirola’s win at New Hampshire will likely remain their seasons highlight.

  1. Tyler Reddick: 2,003 points, Regular season finish 11th, 0 wins, 3 stages

Richard Childress Racing’s #8 has the best young driver in Reddick, but their equipment doesn’t match his talent. The combination was enough to make the playoffs which is promising.

  1. Kevin Harvick: 2,002 points, Regular season finish 9th, 0 wins, 0 stages

Stewart-Hass Racing’s #4 is the only hope for the organizations forgettable season. While it’s a long way to Phoenix it’s only a 20-point deficit from 4th, and we can never count out “the closer”

 

Could of, should of, would of; unfortunately for these drivers they will have to do better next year.

  1. Austin Dillon: Regular season finish 13th
  2. Matt DiBenedetto: Regular season finish 16th
  3. Chris Buescher: Regular season finish 17th
  4. Rickey Stenhouse Jr: Regular Season finish 18th
Thomas Latzkowski

Originally from central New York, I was first introduced to NASCAR through my uncle. I quickly developed an interest in the sport that has only grown over the last 20 years. I have a bachelors degree in agriculture business from SUNY Cobleskill, and currently work as an operations manager in New Jersey. In 2017 I thru-hiked the Appalachian trail, and since have been focused on pursuing my passions in life such as motorsports.

 

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