There are some races that have eluded drivers for years, and many now never get the chance to taste victory in them. Drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. have not won at Darlington, or Mark Martin coming so close to winning Daytona. Kyle Busch this year erased the Coca-Cola 600 off his win chart.
Some races have a certain feeling that is unlike any on the circuit. There’s Daytona, Charlotte, Darlington, and Talladega.
The youngest of those “crown jewels” entered competition in 1994, and this year celebrated 25 years of being on the schedule. In doing so, it became the race to determine who was in, who was out, and who achieved the final victory on the regular season. This time, the crown jewel at Indianapolis was not just taken by a first-time Brickyard winning driver, but also first-time Brickyard winning owner. At least, on the NASCAR side of things.
It’s well documented how well Roger Penske has done at the big event here in May, including his team’s win this season with Will Power taking a major chug of milk. However, he has not won the NASCAR event at Indy. That is until one final move, with another driver wanting a win in the worst way, got passed.
The final win of the regular season finally went to the Penske name, thanks to the white deuce of Brad Keselowski. Back-to-back wins to close out the regular season mean extra playoff points, and momentum heading into the final stretch.
One final win also was a benefit for one participant, as he claimed his fourth win of the 2018 season. That was just one victory, as also there was one other trophy to be handed out this week…the regular season championship.
This year, riding the momentum of one dominant driver, the Harvick gal herself, Penny, added on another 15 playoff points to her total for the season.
Now, we go back, reset some points, set up positions, and now look ahead to the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Playoffs. The League also now has their own reset that has taken place. Here is how they now stand entering the 10-race championship hunt following the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard:
Penny Whitecotton – 2054 – Kevin Harvick finished 4th (7) 54
Billy Fellin – 2031 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 40th (4) 31
Trisha Rodisch – 2029 – Kevin Harvick finished 4th (5) 29
Ashley Hobbs – 2026 – NO PICK SENT (5) 26
Sal Sigala Jr. – 2023 – Kevin Harvick finished 4th (4) 23
Misan Akuya – 2023 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 40th (4) 23
Rob Tiongson – 2022 – Brad Keselowski WON (4) 22
Rob Blount – 2016 – Kevin Harvick finished 4th (2) 16
Dustin Parks – 2009 – Jimmie Johnson finished 16th (1) 9
Next Race: When it comes to the NASCAR Playoffs, sometimes change is exactly what is needed because now it is the time to gamble, but not too much. One mistake means one less opportunity to make it to the next round, and with the points reset, one mistake means a bigger mountain to climb.
It is a change for sure, because now the gamble is happening at the gambling center of the country. For the first time, Las Vegas will host a second Cup race, and this time the value of the event goes up. Win, and you move on. Simple as that for the playoff drivers.
It is also a reset in the rules for the final run to the title.
Participants look at your email very carefully this week for an explanation as to what is expected for the final playoff run. Have those picks set by Thursday, September 13, at 10 p.m. ET for the South Point 400.