With the regular season coming to a close, there are still drivers looking to solidify a NASCAR Cup Series playoff berth.
In what has been one of the wildest and most unforgettable seasons of NASCAR Cup Series racing, 14 different drivers have already found themselves in victory lane.
The unusually high number of winners through the first 22 races has created one of the most volatile battles to get into the playoffs, one which will most likely demand a win for anyone below the cut line to be one of the 16 championship contenders.
The Cup Series is scheduled to race at four very unique tracks over the next four weeks: the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway, the 0.75-mile Richmond Raceway, a road course in the form of Watkins Glen International, and the 2.5-mile, high-banked superspeedway that is Daytona International Speedway.
A win at any of those tracks could secure a driver a spot in the playoffs, but who has the best chance?
Drivers who can shake up playoff picture: No. 1 – Kevin Harvick
It’s a surprise to most that Kevin Harvick has now gone over a season and a half without a win, but as the two-year mark approaches, he has been looking his strongest in quite some time.
Harvick has won at three of these four tracks, and with five top 10 finishes in the last nine races, he has been closing back in on victory lane. A win now would most likely lock him into the playoffs.
Harvick, who is currently 96 points below the cut line, is probably the only driver below it with a semi-realistic chance of pointing his way into the playoffs, and even that’s a stretch with four races left in the regular season.
It would be an incredibly tall task which would require him to make up 24 points every week for the next four weeks. This would most likely require near perfection form the #4 team and multiple mishaps for Martin Truex Jr.’s #19 team, the last team in playoff contention on points as things stand right now.
This, of course, assumes that there aren’t any other new winners and that Truex does not win a race before the playoffs begin, so Harvick’s best bet is to find a way to capture his 59th career win.