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These are the 2023 NASCAR Playoff Dark Horses

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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We’ve talked about the Championship Favorites, and we’ve talked about those in danger of being eliminated from the Playoffs. Now, who are some of the drivers who are flying under the radar? Which dark horse drivers are primed to make a deep Playoff run?

Chris Buescher

By the Numbers: 4th in Playoff Standings; 3 Wins; 6 Top-5s; 12 Top-10s; 231 Laps Led; 1 Stage Win

Breakdown: Chris Buescher went on an incredible run late in the regular season, and he is now sitting fourth in the Playoff standings with 21 Playoff points. He has won races at the short track of Richmond, the intermediate track of Michigan, and the superspeedway of Daytona. With that success on a variety of race tracks, Buescher is a threat to make a Championship run if he keeps this momentum up.

Bubba Wallace

By the Numbers: 16th in Playoff Standings; 0 Wins; 4 Top-5s; 6 Top-10s; 159 Laps Led; 0 Stage Wins

Breakdown: Putting the guy who is the bottom seed in the Playoffs may seem strange, but, Wallace is a unique case. In the spring, Wallace ran fourth at Kansas and fifth at Darlington, which are both first-round visits. He finished in fourth at Las Vegas in the spring and is a former winner at Talladega, both of which are second-round visits. Wallace can run well at the tracks coming up, and he could surprise some people if he earns some much-needed stage points while staying out of trouble.

Christopher Bell

By the Numbers: 7th in Playoff Standings; 1 Win; 6 Top-5s; 13 Top-10s; 259 Laps Led; 2 Stage Wins

Breakdown: Christopher Bell found a way into the Championship 4 via clutch wins at Martinsville Speedway and the Charlotte Roval in 2022, and he is driving top-rate equipment in Joe Gibbs Racing. Tracks like Darlington, Homestead-Miami, and Bristol also play into Bell’s driving style. Bell may fly under the radar behind his other teammates, but he cannot be forgotten.

Joey Logano

By the Numbers: 11th in Playoff Standings; 1 Win; 8 Top-5s; 13 Top-10s; 260 Laps Led; 3 Stage Wins

Breakdown: Never count out the defending Champion. Joey Logano may sit 11th in the Playoff standings, but he is only six points behind Christopher Bell in seventh. Logano also has eight top-5 finishes which is not far off from drivers like Kyle Busch (8), William Byron (9), Martin Truex Jr. (9), and Denny Hamlin (9). Logano has some high high’s this season, and well-timed wins make the difference in this format.

Brad Keselowski

By the Numbers: 9th in Playoff 0 Wins; 6 Top-5s; 11 Top-10s; 259 Laps Led; 4 Stage Wins

Breakdown: While his driver has gone on a surge, Brad Keselowski has gone on his own surge. For the first time since he was at Penske, Keselowski is a threat to win even if he does not have a win with RFK Racing yet. At some point, he is going to break through, and what a time to do it the Playoffs would be.

Who knows which drivers can be surprise entries into the Round of 8 or even the Championship 4 later this postseason? This will be an interesting postseason to watch, and these drivers can make sure of that.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts