Who Will Emerge from the Final 12 2022 NASCAR Playoff Primer

Who Will Emerge from the Final 12 2022 NASCAR Playoff Primer

25.10.2022: The 2022 NASCAR playoffs have begun with 12 drivers competing for the title of Cup Series champ. Picking who will win the sprint to the end of the NASCAR playoff chase will be easier than making week one NFL picks, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be as exc

 


The 2022 NASCAR playoffs have begun with 12 drivers competing for the title of Cup Series champ. Picking who will win the sprint to the end of the NASCAR playoff chase will be easier than making week one NFL picks, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be as exciting or as exciting as the NASCAR playoffs itself.


The playoff chase began in Darlington as non-playoff contender Eric Jones held on to win the race. Jones, who was not one of the top 12 drivers during the regular season, will get credit for the victory but does not get playoff points. It was the Petty/GMS Motorsports driver's third career Cup win and second at Darlington Raceway.


Included in the 2022 NASCAR season's final 16 are past champions Kevin Harvick (2014), Kyle Busch (2015, 2019), Joey Logano (2018), Chase Elliott (2020), and Kyle Larson (2021). Past Cup winners Kurt Busch (2004), Brad Keselowski (2012), and Martin Truex, Jr. (2017) are not part of the 2022 final 16. Busch did qualify but is out due to concussion-related issues, and Keselowski and Truex Jr. are racing the playoff races but finished outside the top 16 and therefore are ineligible to win the championship.



2022 NASCAR season's final 8


1. Chase Elliott     4,046
2. Joey Logano         4,026
3. Ross Chastain     4,021
4. Christopher Bell     4,018
5. William Byron     4,015
6. Ryan Blaney         4,015
7. Denny Hamlin     4,015
8. Chase Briscoe     4,009



The Variety of Tracks for the NASCAR Playoffs Provides Drivers and Fans With A Little Bit of Everything.




The playoff lineup of tracks features a bit of everything from cookie cutter 1.5-mile layouts, to short tracks, to road courses, and to superspeedways. The unpredictability weekly keeps NASCAR's rabid fan base engaged, and a growing legion of bettors looking for NFL expert picks on the edges of their seats.



The opening stage of the playoffs has three races, Darlington, Kansas, and Bristol. Following Bristol, the field will be trimmed down from 16 to 8. Those who are playoff-eligible and captured the win in one of the first three races will automatically advance as well as drivers with the most points. The four drivers eliminated will not see their season end as they will still fire their engines every week yet won't be eligible to capture the crown.



Kansas Speedway presents some unique challenges with its high banking and is known as a track that rewards strategy. Bristol is known universally as the "Last Great Colosseum." Drivers have been to Bristol earlier this season. However, that race was contested on a dirt surface on the half-mile oval. This time around, the action switches to concrete. This will be the first time the Next Generation vehicle and tire package attacks the "World's Fastest Half Mile."





The Round of 12: Edging Closer to Crowning a Champion With Strategy As A Key




The Round of 12 will give drivers, their teams, and fans a little bit of everything from the conventional Texas Motor Speedway to Talladega (the lone superspeedway in the playoff rotation) and the oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway (the lone road course in NASCAR's 2022 postseason).



Talladega's 2.5-mile oval will stage its 107th Cup event and is sure to produce wrecks and cautions flags aplenty as everyone in attendance, on track, watching on television, or eschewing their NFL predictions brace themselves for the "big one." Ross Chastain captured the win in the spring race at Talladega when a nine-car accident on Lap 91 changed the complexion of the race.



Once the haulers exit Charlotte, they'll head west to the deserts of Nevada and Las Vegas for the start of the Round of 8. This swing has a pair of tracks that the Next Gen cars have already raced on (Las Vegas and Martinsville), while the series visits Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time this season.


While Las Vegas and Homestead-Miami are more strategic, moderate tire wear races given the track configurations, Martinsville is regarded as a driver's race. Many long-time followers of NASCAR are used to Miami being where a Cup champion is crowned; something it did every season from 2002-2019 before the playoff finale shifted west to Phoenix.



This Martinsville fall race will be the 148th at the track as it is the only venue to host a Cup race every season since NASCAR began in 1949. The venue is known for its famous hot dog stand. Martinsville has produced a who's who of winners over its long history, with Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and William Byron taking the checkered flag in first place in three of the last four runnings.




Finally, the 2022 NASCAR season will come to a thrilling conclusion in Phoenix as four drivers will tangle for what promises to be an exciting finale to the campaign. As mentioned, Phoenix Raceway hosts the Cup Series final for the third time. The one-mile oval is sure to produce excitement with fans in attendance and from a distance, drawing their attention to drivers slingshotting around turn three and toward the finish, sometimes spreading as many as five cars wide across the racing surface. Phoenix Raceway also delivers one of the most unique viewing experiences in the sport as fans can watch the festivities from Rattlesnake Hill, a small mountain situated beyond Turn 1.






photo copyright Jonathan Ferrey , Getty Images


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25.10.2022 / MaP

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