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NASCAR America: It’s time to start counting points

While Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin haven't won yet in 2018, the two veteran drivers are in good position to make it to the playoffs on points, if needed.

In the first 10 races of 2017, nine different drivers won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race; this year, that number has been reduced to six, but the complexion of the points’ battle is radically different.

Last year, Jimmie Johnson was the only driver through 10 races with multiple wins. So far in 2018, two drivers –Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch – dominated Victory Lane with three wins apiece.

The difference according to the NASCAR American analysts will come down to the drivers currently outside of the points bubble.

“If you look back at 17th – Ryan Newman and Chase Elliott in 18th – those are two cars I see winning a race possibly in these next 16 (races),” Parker Kligerman said. “So that leapfrogs them in. And we know we might not get as many winners as we had last year. But I think it starts to ratchet up the pressure on those guys that are assuming they are going to get in by points. When you look at how Jimmie Johnson has performed, right? Where is their win coming from?”

Burton does not believe that Johnson can be discounted, however, and might be one of the drivers below the cutoff line that turns the points battle into a free-for-all.

“You have to assume Jimmie Johnson is going to make the playoffs,” Burton responded. “So people like Ricky Stenhouse Jr., that puts a ton of pressure. It’s on now. It’s 16 to go and that seems like forever, but four bad races? And now you only have 12 to make them up.”

For more, watch the above video.