We've reached the NASCAR World Cup Final. No, we didn't skip a week or three.
Here's how we got to the Final, which is something no one would have expected. It's kind of like Costa Rica vs. the Netherlands. If you just want to know what the Final is, skip down. But now, we're going to go through it week-by-week.
Here's how the Group Standings finished out. Danica Patrick made it out of Group A by beating Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch broke a three-way tie at 1-2 in Group B via finish margin. So did Martin Truex Jr. in Group C, but it was close. He was at -18, while Michael Annett was at -19 and Austin Dillon was at -20.
Five drivers in Pot A (Drivers 1-8 in the standings before Michigan) made it to the final 16 and so did five drivers from Pot B (9-16). Four drivers from Pot C (17-24) advanced.
Just like the World Cup, instead of seeding the teams 1-16, they're matched up by groups. The top team in Group A plays the second-place team in Group B while the top team in Group B is on the other side of the bracket against the second-place team in Group A and so forth.
The teams who advanced are in yellow.
The first round of the tournament was a downright cluster at Daytona thanks to the monstrous crashes. Kyle Busch advanced ahead of Jimmie Johnson and Marcos Ambrose upset Brad Keselowski. Danica Patrick advanced over Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. beat Joey Logano.
Kyle Busch's second-place finish moved him past Dale Earnhardt Jr. to face Kasey Kahne in the semifinals while on the other side, Truex beat Patrick to face Kurt Busch.
Another second-place finish put Kyle Busch in the final where he's going to face, yes, you guessed it, Truex Jr., who beat Kurt Busch by three spots at Indy (25th to 28th).
Busch is the prohibitive favorite in the final, but with the way that Truex is going, who knows. Could Costa Rica win this World Cup?
For the heck of it, we seeded the 16 drivers that didn't make it to the round of 16. The consolation championship at Pocono will be Denny Hamlin vs. Austin Dillon. We debated penalizing Hamlin like NASCAR did on Tuesday, but his finish wasn't revoked. It was just (more than) the points.
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