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Who Are the Current Favorites to Win the NASCAR Championship?

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The Playoffs are here, and every driver in it has their eyes set on a NASCAR Cup Series Championship. A select few, however, are favored to be a true Championship contender. Who are the NASCAR Cup Series Championship favorites?

William Byron

By the Numbers: T-1st in Playoff Standings; 5 Wins; 9 Top-5s; 13 Top-10s; 877 Laps Led; 8 Stage Wins

Breakdown: Byron has had some low lows this weekend, but he has also had incredible highs. He currently leads the series in wins, stage wins, and laps led. However, three DNFs, a late summer slump, and a points penalty at Richmond in the spring kept him from standing alone atop the Playoff standings. Byron has steadily improved his Playoff performance year after year, and his win at Phoenix in the spring means that, if he gets to the Championship 4, he will be the favorite. The key is to avoid those bouts of inconsistency that Byron has had at times this year.

Martin Truex Jr.

By the Numbers: T-1st in Playoff Standings; 3 Wins; 9 Top-5s; 15 Top-10s; 832 Laps Led; 6 Stage Wins

Background: Unlike Byron, Truex Jr. has been Mr. Consistency as he led the series in top-10 finishes en route to the Regular Season Championship. His 24th place finish at Daytona was the first time since Atlanta in July that he had a finish worse than seventh. The issue with Truex Jr. does not seem to be getting to Phoenix, but will he have what it takes to get the win that day? Consistency can only take you so far, but Truex Jr. did win at a similar race track to Phoenix – New Hampshire – during the summer.

Kyle Larson

By the Numbers: 6th in Playoff Standings; 2 Wins; 10 Top-5s; 12 Top-10s; 624 Laps Led; 3 Stage Wins

Breakdown: While Byron has shown flashes of inconsistency, Kyle Larson has been the poster child for it. Larson leads the series in top-5s and is third in laps led, but he also has six DNFs which is tied for the second most in the series. If he is on, he is usually running in the top 5, but if he is off, he is usually behind the wall or puttering around outside the top 20. However, he did lead 201 laps at Phoenix in the spring, so, if he gets there, watch out.

Denny Hamlin

By the Numbers: 3rd in Playoff Standings; 2 Wins; 9 Top-5s; 12 Top-10s; 389 Laps Led; 5 Stage Wins

Breakdown: Denny Hamlin finished second in the Regular Season standings, so, he is much like Martin Truex Jr. in that he’s been very consistent. However, Hamlin has not made many friends in the process either on the race track or with the race fans. Now, that does not mean a Matt Kenseth on Joey Logano-style payback per se, but it does mean that Hamlin will likely not be given much room on the race track. However, Hamlin is motivated potentially more than ever to get that elusive Championship, and you should never count out a motivated driver.

Honorable Mentions: Chris Buescher, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch

These four drivers are all candidates to be lifting that big trophy in 10 weeks. Which one will it be, or will it be someone from outside of this list?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts