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5 Things You NEED To Know About the NASCAR Playoffs

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Joshua Lipowski

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After 26 races and nearly seven months of competition, the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are here. Here are a few things that you need to know about the Playoffs for this season.

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1. 14 of 16 Drivers Begin the Playoffs within 18 Points of the Cut-Line

Much has been said over the last two years about the parity that the Next-Gen car creates. That is shown in the spread of the Playoff field. From Denny Hamlin in third all the way down to Bubba Wallace in 16th, everyone is separated by only 25 points, with everyone within 20 points of the 12th points cut-line. As a result, one mistake can spell doom for these Playoff contenders.

William Byron and Martin Truex Jr. each have a 29-point cushion between themselves and the cut-line, so they are not super far ahead either. There is not much room for error for drivers in the Playoffs, and that could make for an interesting run if some big name drivers have problems.

2. 6 Drivers who Missed the Playoffs Last Year are In This Year

Speaking of parity, there are many new drivers that are participating in the Playoffs this year. Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Bubba Wallace all missed the big show last year. For Wallace, it is the first Playoff appearance of his career.

This also snapped some Playoff droughts for certain drivers as Buescher last made the Playoffs in 2016 with Stenhouse Jr. last making them in 2017. It represents major turnarounds as well, with Keselowski and Buescher representing two RFK Racing cars in the Playoffs for the first time since 2014.

3. Every Round Before the Championship has At Least 1 Venue NOT Visited in the Regular Season

The Playoffs features many different return visits, but it also features some venues not visited during the regular season. This includes the elimination races in rounds one and two at Bristol Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Roval respectively. The other venues not visited in the regular season are Homestead-Miami Speedway, which will be the second race in the Round of Eight on October 22nd, and Texas, which opens the Round of 12 on September 24th.

If drivers struggled at venues in the regular season, they have a chance to run at some new venues in the Playoffs. These could be the races that determine those who make the Championship 4.

4. 5 Of the 10 Playoff Tracks are Intermediates

There are a lot of unique race tracks within the Playoffs, but, five of the ten race tracks are intermediates. Those tracks include Darlington, Kansas, Texas, Las Vegas, and Homestead-Miami. Those who tend to run well on intermediates will have an advantage throughout the Playoffs.

However, none of the elimination races are on intermediates. As a result, those who thrive on the more unique race tracks will have a good chance to get some clutch wins.

5. 6 Past Champions are in the Playoffs

While there are plenty of new faces in the Playoffs, there are plenty of returners as well. Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick are all in the Playoffs this season. Of those five champions, only one of them did not win their Championship under the current Playoffs format, Keselowski in 2012.

These are drivers to watch as the Playoffs go on. They have been here before, and they have won under this format before.

These are just a few of the major storylines to follow as the Playoffs go on. Will there be a new Champion or a returning Champion at Phoenix in November?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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