Husmann’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Projections

LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 12: A general view of the start/finish line of Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the upcoming South Point 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Playoff race on September 12, 2019, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Although everyone knows that anything can, and likely will, happen at any given race, reasonable predictions can be made based off of past performance and statistics as well as current team performance and momentum. These factors combined with what top analysts like Larry McReynolds, Jamie McMurray, and Andy Petree are projecting, I’ve come up with which drivers I’m expecting to be eliminated in each round of the playoffs in the Monster Energy NASCAR playoffs en-route to crowning the 2019 Champion.

ROUND 1

Aric Almirola – The feel-good story of the 2018 playoffs, but hat same performance has not been seen this year. Only one of the Stewart-Haas Racing teams appears to have found the right set-up for this year’s package. If they find a way to apply that knowledge to the No. 10 team, they may be able to advance into the next round

Alex Bowman – The magic of the No. 88’s hot streak in May and June when he picked up his first career win seems to have died down, if not out.

William Byron – While the No. 24 has shown speed and ability to qualify at the front, the team needs to be able to finish up there as well. Lack of experience in playoff pressure and performance at upcoming tracks is a huge down-side factor. However, crew chief Chad Knaus’s experience and leadership could jump them into the next round, possibly on the young driver picking up his first victory which is coming soon

Eric Jones – The No. 20’s recent win gives them momentum, however, it might be a case of too little too late. This spot is very much open so the nod went to some veterans who have been here before

ROUND 2

Ryan Newman – Possibly outperforming the No. 6’s team expectations just to get into the playoffs and squeaking into the second round, the fairy tale ends at this point. Building a strong foundation to build on for next year will become the focus

Clint Bowyer – Without a win, the No. 14 can only go so far and this is it. Lack of consistency brings this team’s run at a championship to an end

Ryan Blaney – Without the weekly top running performance that fellow Penske Racing teammates have exhibited, the No. 12 will continue to be the third team of the organization

Kurt Busch – The fast speed and momentum of the No. 1 seems to have slid over to the other car in the Chip Ganassi Racing stable

ROUND 3

Kyle Larson – The stumbling block has always been the third round for the No. 42, based on both the tracks run at along with mechanical problems or other team mistakes. If he ever makes it to the final race as a contender, watch out

Brad Keselowski – Bonus points and streaks of top finishes will carry a team deep into the playoffs but not win it for the No. 2

Joey Logano – It’s extremely tough to repeat as champion in this era of strong competition. The No. 22 won some races but not enough

Martin Truex Jr – Tough to not put the No. 19 in the Championship 4, but four wins separated by multiple sub-par finishes with regular occurrence doesn’t get the job done

CHAMPIONSHIP 4

Chase Elliott – 2019’s Cinderella Story ends before midnight. To win it all, you almost have to win the final race and we haven’t seen that yet from the No. 9, which needs Hendrick Motorsports to find the horsepower it had in years past

Kyle Busch – The cream always rises to the top, which puts the No. 18 in this position for the fourth straight year but hasn’t won at Homestead-Miami Speedway since 2015, capturing his only championship. Also, hasn’t won at all since June

Denny Hamlin – He won the season-opening Daytona 500 for the second time and got on a roll with victories coming into the playoffs to peak at the right time but we’ve seen the No. 11 come close before and not make it happen under the pressure. His team also still ranks toward the top of the list of pit road penalties

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion

Kevin Harvick – Is called the ‘Closer’ for a reason. The No. 4 has been able to win when needed coming into and during the playoffs in the past and has been the only one of the four Stewart-Haas cars to do so while fighting to find the right set-up with this year’s aero package

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