2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs field setThe field is set. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs begin this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and we know which 16 drivers will compete for the championship when the postseason opens at LVMS for the first time in series history. Two spots were up for grabs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday …
The field is set.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs begin this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and we know which 16 drivers will compete for the championship when the postseason opens at LVMS for the first time in series history.
Two spots were up for grabs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday in the regular-season finale, with 10 drivers having locked in their spots already via wins and four clinched via points.
MORE: Photos from Indy weekend
Those outside the playoff picture entering Indianapolis were in a win-or-bust mode, and the upset victory didn’t materialize with Brad Keselowski winning at the Brickyard.
Below is the 16-driver field, with our staff projections on seeding and points. This will be updated shortly with the official order and points.
1. Kyle Busch: 2,050 points
2. Kevin Harvick: 2,050 points
3. Martin Truex Jr.: 2,035 points
4. Brad Keselowski: 2,019 points
5. Clint Bowyer: 2,015 points
6. Joey Logano: 2014 points
7. Kurt Busch: 2,014 points
8. Chase Elliott: 2,008 points
9. Ryan Blaney: 2,007 points
10. Erik Jones: 2,005 points
11. Austin Dillon: 2,005 points
12. Kyle Larson: 2,005 points
13. Denny Hamlin: 2,003 points
14. Aric Almirola: 2,001 points
15. Jimmie Johnson: 2,000 points
16. Alex Bowman: 2,000 points
Regular Season Champion: Kyle Busch clinched the honor at Indy, becoming the second driver to win the distinction since NASCAR moved to this playoffs format prior to the 2017 season. Last year’s Regular Season Champion, Martin Truex Jr., went on to win the championship in Miami. For Busch, in addition to winning the honor and receiving a trophy, he receives a crucial 15 playoff points to add to his total and carry over from round to round.
Last In: Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman entered Indianapolis on the good side of the playoff bubble, but not locked in. Both could breathe a sigh of relief when a first-time 2018 winner positioned below the cutoff line didn’t throw the field into disarray by winning.
First Out: Ryan Newman finished the regular season in the top 16 of the driver standings, but he’s not in the 16-driver postseason field. That’s because Austin Dillon, who stood 18th in the standings after Indianapolis, won the Daytona 500 — and in this format, winning trumps all. Newman missed the playoffs this year after qualifying for the postseason in 2017. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth (part time in 2018) were the other playoff drivers who missed out this year.
First-timers: Erik Jones, in his second full-time Monster Energy Series season, qualified for the series’ playoffs for the first time. He’s the only first-timer in the field, although Aric Almirola and Ryan Blaney qualified for the second time in their respective careers.