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What Other Points Battles Should You Watch at Daytona?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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The big story for Saturday night’s race at Daytona is who out of 17 drivers will get that final coveted Playoff spot in the NASCAR Cup Series. However, other drivers in the field will be searching for racing for other things that may have a major factor in how the Playoff seedings shake out. What are these other battles?

Regular Season Points Championship

The regular season points championship comes with a healthy 15-point bonus, and that title is up for grabs this weekend at Daytona. Teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr are separated by 39 points, with Truex holding the advantage. If Truex wins both stages and the race, he could enter the postseason with a whopping 42 Playoff points and a 35-point advantage over the First Round 13th place cut line.

As it stands right now, Truex has 35 Playoff points and Denny Hamlin has 25. If Hamlin overtakes Truex, Truex would lose five points, and Hamlin would gain five putting both at 30 Playoff points not including potential stage wins and the race win at Daytona.

Those points may seem trivial now, but many times the Championship 4 or the rounds before it come down to only a few points. Oftentimes, it is those regular season bonus points that make the difference.

The Battle for the Number 1 Playoff Seed

This may seem trivial, but it is an interesting thing to watch. Despite being third in the regular season standings, by virtue of the most race wins and stage wins in the series, William Byron currently holds the top seed in the points standings.

As it stands right now, Truex Jr. is one Playoff point behind Byron for that top seed. Byron can finish as high as second and as low as fourth in the regular season standings, while Truex Jr. can finish either first or second in the regular season standings. Depending on how all of this shakes out, either Truex Jr., Byron, or Denny Hamlin can get that top seed.

Yes, if Hamlin gets the regular season Championship, and wins both stages and the race, that would give him 37 Playoff points, which is more than Byron or Truex Jr. in that scenario. It’s a three-horse race for that top-seed, and Byron and Truex Jr. in particular are incredibly close in this battle.

The Battle for the Final Regular Season Bonus Points

Positions 5-13 are all up for grabs heading into the final regular season race, with those nine drivers separated by 55 points, which is less than one race worth of points. Positions 5-10 get Playoff bonus points from six points for fifth in descending order to one point for finishing in 10th. That one point can really go a long way in the Playoffs, and these drivers will be going for it.

Positions 6-12 are particularly tight as they are all separated by only 14 points. This includes drivers like Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, Ross Chastain, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Tyler Reddick. These drivers could end up with multiple Playoff bonus points or none at all depending on how things shake out.

Again, with how tight the margins are once the Playoffs begin, these points can be huge. One point could be the difference between advancing or being eliminated.

All of these battles may seem meaningless now, but, come the Playoffs, they could make some major differences. Which one of these battles will make the biggest difference in the Playoff grid?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts