As usual, Joey Logano makes things difficult for the rest of the field. Winning at Kansas shook up the playoff bracket and let’s be honest, unless you’re a Logano fan, him in victory lane was the last thing you wanted to see. We now are faced with an odd possibility. The championship 4 was widely believed to consist of Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott. These were the four best drivers all year.
Logano is worth the fourth spot in his own right, but at this point he is a slight wildcard in the fact that he hasn’t won since coming back from the hiatus. The biggest wildcard of all may have yet to be played however, and there is good reason for Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott to be very worried.
Kurt Busch is a legitimate threat to win on Sunday, and his last five visits to Texas show that a win is due. Of the bubble drivers, Busch is second in average finish at Texas in the last five races with an average of 8th. The next closest driver is Hamlin at 11.8. However, that is all irrelevant to Kevin Harvick’s absurd 3.4 average finish at Texas in the last five races.
The full outlook of the 7 bubble drivers average finishing position in the last fives Texas races:
Kevin Harvick: 3.4
Kurt Busch: 8
Denny Hamlin 11.8
Chase Elliott: 14.8
Martin Truex Jr.: 18.6
Alex Bowman: 19
Brad Keselowski: 25.8
Harvick is the main threat for the championship this season with a win this Sunday a near lock and his reputation at Phoenix being that of a kings. But Kurt Busch’s potential to be a true upset in these playoffs is intriguing. Because his stats at Phoenix are not bad either. So Busch May be a dark horse, but If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t be too afraid to try my luck.
What if Kurt Busch wins this week at Texas and then Elliott or Keselowski win the following week at Martinsville? We’re looking at a championship 4 that would not feature both Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. These two have been the dueling back and fourth all year with them combining for 16 wins of the 33 races ran.
If that scenario were to happen, it would be another bullet in the chamber for purists to call out the playoffs for not producing a true champion. There is some validity to that, but my argument to those people would be to look at how many time either Harvick or Hamlin have won this year, why didn’t they win when it mattered most?
Either opinion would be valid but at the end of the day, if anyone other than Harvick or Hamlin win on Sunday, these playoffs could be the most controversial yet.