With Three Races to Go Who Will Make it Into the Playoffs? William Byron, Jimmie Johnson or Someone Else

Published 08/18/2020, 12:22 AM EDT


The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are inching closer with barely three races left in the regular season. And the race for the last playoffs spot is getting more interesting by the week. Now, William Byron and Jimmie Johnson are vying for the final playoff spot.

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The 7-time Cup Series winner inaugurated his new paint scheme and managed to grab his first ‘Top-5’ finish since Bristol. And looks back in the competition after a couple of bad races.

Currently, Byron occupies the 16th spot, and Johnson is just 25 points adrift at 17th. With Jimmie Johnson bagging fourth place at Daytona, he stands a great chance of overtaking Byron if he continues his form at Dover.

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However, Byron is not a driver who will surrender his hard-earned playoff spot so easily. And is capable of performing a last hour surprise.

On the other hand, there are a few other drivers who are in with a shout. Snapping at Johnson’s heels are Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick, and Christopher Bell.

However, in Bell’s case, he is almost mathematically out of the running, since he is 146 points away. But the other two stand a half-decent chance of catching Byron, as long as they finish ahead of him.

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What is the NASCAR Playoff

For the uninitiated, the playoff system came into existence back in 2004 and used to be called ‘The Chase for the Championship’. Around sixteen drivers compete against each other in the final ten races of the Cup Series’ regular season.

The first nine races are split up into three rounds with three races each. At the end of each round, the bottom four participants are eliminated. It is also worth noting that the Xfinity and Truck Series also adopted this system.

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Does Jimmie Johnson stand a chance?

Truthfully, a driver of Johnson’s caliber should be able to make it into the playoffs with relevant ease. However, this season hasn’t been in his favor. He had multiple good starts but was unable to convert them to victories. Additionally, he had to miss a race after testing positive for COVID-19.

However, he was looking very strong in the last race and finished the race at P4 after starting in the sixth row. The strong result will give Johnson a chance to start the Dover race from P5.

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So it is a reasonable assumption that Johnson still has a chance to make it into the Playoffs.

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Dhruv George

11392 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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