Cup Series playoff field is set. Now it’s time to race for a title.
Sixteen drivers. Ten races. One champion.
It’s time for the Cup playoffs. The 16-driver field was set after Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman securing the final two spots.
The focus turns to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for next Sunday’s playoff opener in what is expected to be 100-degree temperature.
Here is a look at the playoff field (in order of seeding):
Kyle Busch (2045 points) — Regular-season champion enters postseason with 45 playoff points. …This is his seventh consecutive year in the playoffs. … Has four wins this year. … Winless in his last 12 races, his longest winless streak since 2017. … Has reached the championship race each of the past four years, winning the 2015 title. … Won at Richmond and Phoenix in last year’s playoffs.
Denny Hamlin (2030) — Seeks first series title. … Sixth consecutive playoffs. … Enters playoffs with four wins this season and 35 in his career. … He’s won the Daytona 500 this year, along with races at Texas, Pocono and Bristol.
Martin Truex Jr. (2029) — Runner-up to the championship last year and 2017 series champ. … Has four wins this season (Richmond, Dover, Coca-Cola 600 and Sonoma). .. Has not finished better than 13th in the last three races.
Kevin Harvick (2028) — Making 10th consecutive playoff appearance. … Has won three of the last seven races after going winless the season’s first 19 races. … Scored victories at New Hampshire, Michigan and Indianapolis. … Won the 2014 title, the first year when the championship was determined by the playoff format that ended with the title race in Miami.
Joey Logano (2028) — Reigning series champion won earlier this season at Las Vegas, site of the opening playoff race this coming weekend. His two victories this season were at Las Vegas and Michigan. … Finished second to Kevin Harvick at Indianapolis.
Brad Keselowski (2024) — Making sixth consecutive playoff appearance. … Has three wins this season but last victory was at Kansas in May. … Has gone 14 races without a win. … Last made the championship race in 2017, finishing fourth. ... Finished second to Team Penske teammate Joey Logano at Las Veags, site of this week’s playoff opener.
Chase Elliott (2018) — Making fourth consecutive playoff appearance. … Won at Watkins Glen for the second year in a row. … Enters playoffs with four top-10 finishes in the last five races.
Kurt Busch (2011) — Making sixth consecutive playoff appearance. … Earned spot with win at Kentucky. … Finished fifth at Las Vegas earlier this season.
Alex Bowman (2005) — Making second playoff appearance. … Earned spot with win at Chicagoland Speedway. … Has not finished better than 10th in the last nine races.
Erik Jones (2005) — Making second playoff appearance. … Won Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. … Joe Gibbs Racing announced this week it has signed Jones to a one-year contract extension to remain in the No. 20 car through next season. … Finished 15th in the points last year, eliminated in the first round.
Kyle Larson (2005) — Making fourth consecutive playoff appearance. … Saw his streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes end with a wreck while running toward the front Sunday at Indianapolis. … Best finish in the playoffs is eighth in 2017.
Ryan Blaney (2004) — Won the inaugural Charlotte Roval race in last year’s playoffs. … Making third consecutive playoff appearance. … Has led 365 laps this season, most by a driver without a win this year.
William Byron (2001) — Making his first playoff appearance. Still seeks his first career Cup win. … Best career finish is second at Daytona in July.
Aric Almirola (2001) — Making second consecutive playoff appearance. … Finished a career-best fifth in last year’s playoffs.
Clint Bowyer (2000) — Making second consecutive playoff appearance. … Finished 12th in last year’s playoffs for his best finish in the points since he was seventh in 2013 for Michael Waltrip Racing. … Finished the regular season by placing seventh of better in each of the last three races.
Ryan Newman (2000) — Making second playoff appearance in the past four years. … Secured the final playoff spot with eighth-place finish Sunday at Indianapolis. … Finished career-best second in points in 2014 in the first year of the playoff format.