Playoffs – NASCAR Cup Series

The regular season in the NASCAR Cup Series is over, now it’s time for the playoffs, or the playoffs, François Richard of gives us his opinion.

I have not yet recovered from my feelings about the unfolding of the Belgian F1 race. Only one word comes to mind and it is this: pathetic!

Well, what I had to say about Formula 1 has been said. Now let’s talk about real races (I can feel the tomatoes coming from all directions), Ryan Blaney (Ford Mustang no 12), on Saturday night, took his third victory (second in a row) of the season during the “COKE ZERO SUGAR 400”. Blaney therefore enters series with the initiative (is it really important? One thing is certain, it must be pumped up).

Before talking about the series …

Before we go any further and talk about the next ten events to come, let’s take a quick look back at the last 26 races of the season leading up to the selection of 16 eligible entrants for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Grand Title. What better way to perform the operation than to analyze some interesting statistics.

The first statistic that I think is the most telling and shows some parity is the different number of winners in 26 races so far this season. A grand total of 14 different pilots visited the winner’s circle.
Only six drivers have won more than one race: Kyle Larson (5), Martin Truex (3), Ryan Blaney (3), Alex Bowman (3), Kyle Busch (2) and Chase Elliott (2).
Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are the only three drivers to make the playoffs without a win. Only AJ Allmendinger, who won the race on the road circuit in Indianapolis, is excluded from the series, having taken part in only 4 events.
Kyle Larson (14), Denny Hamlin (13), Kyle Busch (11) and Chase Elliot (11) are the four drivers who have had the most tops 5 since the start of the season.
Kyle Larson (18) and Denny Hamlin (17) are the two drivers with the most top 10s so far in 2021.
Kyle Larson led 1,566 laps out of the 5,830 he has driven. From this point of view, his closest pursuer is Denny Hamlin who has been the first 821 laps out of the 6022 he has done this season.
Denny Hamlin is the one with the best average at the finish with a 9.1.
Before making way for the playoffs, back to the regular season with some statistics

When we look at the above statistics with a clear head, we quickly realize that Denny Hamlin has had an excellent season, despite not having managed to pass, not once in 26 races, the thread. arrival first.

A little disappointing to see Kevin Harvick making the playoffs out the back door as much as it’s refreshing to see a Tyle Riddick who, in his second full-time season, be among the Group of Sixteen. Truth be told, it was the entire Stewart-Haas team that was ordinary as the only driver who clinched victory for this team was Alric Almirola.

Kyle Larson’s stats speak for themselves. He has been the most dominant rider so far. Moreover, all the Camaros of the Hendrick Motorsports team made their presence felt in the winner’s circle with a grand total of 11 victories, in 26 races. Quickly like that, the cars of this team won 42% of the 2021 events.

Monon’c Frank’s prediction time!

Here is the list of the 16 drivers who will take part in the series for the 2021 season, in the NASCAR Cup: Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell, Aric Almirola, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick (I’ll spare you the number of each driver here and the make and model of the cars they drive.)

Here are my predictions (round by round) of the drivers who will be eliminated:

Round 1Darlington, Richmond and BristolEliminated drivers: Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Kevin Harvick
Round 2Las Vegas, Talladega and Charlotte (Roval)Eliminated drivers: Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, William Byron and Brad Keselowski
Round 3Texas, Kansas and MartinsvilleEliminated drivers: Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney
Final RoundPhoenixChampion of the 2021 season: Kyle Larson

It’s obvious to see Kyle Larson as a big favorite for the title race. But nothing is decided in advance, as we saw in 2020 with Chase Elliott.

I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think Kevin Harvick makes it to the second round unless he suddenly starts winning. For McDowell, Daytona 500 winner, who has just had his best season ever, I think I’m right in saying that his adventure will end soon enough.

For the second round, very particular in terms of the variety of tracks visited, Almirola and Kurt Busch should say goodbye to their championship chance. William Byron and Brad Keselowski will do the same.

The third round is the one that will separate the men from the children. It is also the one where a « low profiler » could pull a rabbit out of his bag. I hesitated for a long time to put Ryan Blaney in the list of eliminated in this round however, the list of drivers who remain is of high caliber.

The grand finale will therefore pit: Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin at Chase Elliott

My pick for the 2021 title is: Kyle Larson

In conclusion

Before the start of the season, assisted by my crystal ball, I had chosen as four finalists: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Two of my four picks are still on my final roster today, maybe Kyle Busch could sneak in. However, for Harvick, I threw the towel.

May the gods bless the kings of the race!

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