As the regular season races dwindle, fans will inevitably focus on a sport that sets up for its playoffs. This will undoubtedly be NASCAR. There are only two races to go until “The Chase”. That determines the ultimate Cup Series Champion. It will be a bit of a chaotic time as not all the spots are clinched. Sixteen drivers will have a chance at glory but only one will reign supreme.
This time around, we are doing something a little different.
These drivers are listed below in our NASCAR Futures Bubble Update.
|2021 NASCAR Cup Series Futures Bubble|
The number of drivers that qualify for the playoffs is sixteen. However, it is how they get there that is unique. It is not always enough to accumulate enough points. Points are great but winning is even better. That is why one hears the “win and you’re in” promo quite often.
Now, that being said, drivers can get into the playoffs, based on points, provided there are less than 16 different winners. One slot goes to the regular-season points champion. After that, the other 15 spots go to the different winners. What if there are less than 15 winners?
Currently, with the Sunday results from Indianapolis, Kyle Larson has taken the points to lead over Denny Hamlin who has fallen to second. While it was not Hamlin’s fault, the No. 11 drivers at least finally clinched a spot in The Chase. Again, he was so close to winning at Indianapolis. The Joe Gibbs Racing stalwart was just two laps away from claiming his first victory of the 2021 season and cementing his spot in the playoffs instead of backing in.
Alas, it was not meant to be as Chase Briscoe spun Hamlin right out of contention. He would finish on the lead lap but all the way down in 23rd. That meant he lost a bunch of points to Larson, who eventually came in third place behind Ryan Blaney, and winner A.J. Allmendinger.
Again, all it takes is one race to change things.
This is where the debate for NASCAR Futures begins. Naturally, no one quite knows what will happen during the last two weeks of August. There has been this crescendo building towards a dramatic entrance into September.
It is easy to see why Harvick could be the favorite. There is no driver on the bubble that has the experience the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has. The No. 4 took a beating yesterday on the track but managed to get to the finish line. Sunday was brutal at Indianapolis for many though.
Harvick is the highest-ranked driver in terms of the standings who has no wins. Currently, he is ninth in points and 67 points ahead of Tyler Reddick. That spread expands to 95 when it comes to Austin Dillon. Survival has its benefits. One of the other big boosts is that Harvick does have six top-five results on the season. Reddick and Dillon just have two combined.
Again, the good thing for Harvick is that there are two races left until the playoffs start. There is the two-mile track at Michigan on Sunday and then the regular season ends next Saturday at Daytona. That could feature its own set of headaches.
Hence, our NASCAR futures pick below is while one can get it. Kevin Harvick is our pick to make “The Chase” and have some impact as well. He is one of our surprise longshots from the bubble.
Ahead of the final two races leading to “The Chase”, there is a chance that Tyler Reddick could wind up missing the NASCAR playoffs altogether. A good deal would have to happen but the door remains open to this scenario. This would open the NASCAR Futures at least a little bit and might let other drivers in.
Right now, Reddick leads Austin Dillon by a scant 25 points behind a better finish yesterday and some stage points accumulated. It is likely the No. 8 car would have finished in the top ten on Sunday if not for multiple unfortunate encounters with other cars.
According to NASCAR Projections, the driver has a better chance of making the playoff than even Kevin Harvick which does seem strange. Is that because they believe Reddick has a higher probability of winning at Michigan or Daytona? It’s an excellent question to pose. Before Indianapolis, Reddick had finished 13th or better in five straight races including three consecutive top-ten results at one juncture.
Michigan and Daytona previous results have not been great. The hope is that previous form in the last 4-6 weeks guides him to a spot and that no one below him wins.
For NASCAR Futures, our best bet is penciling Reddick into “The Chase” for now.
With just two races left in the 26-race regular season, the odds for Austin Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto are lukewarm at best. After Indianapolis, Dillon and DiBenedetto are on the outside looking in. Dillon lost one of his best chances to gain ground on Sunday and so did DiBenedetto.
The Wood Brothers Racing settled for fifth on Sunday but has raced much better. If the first couple of months had not gone so south, he would be closer to The Chase.
Take Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick to make The Chase with Harvick making a greater impact.
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Chris Wassel is a skilled scribe who possesses a fervor for both sports and entertainment. Boasting a journalism background and over two decades of experience, he has crafted pieces that encompass a diverse array of sports including hockey, basketball, football, and others. His writing is characterized by its lucidity and sharpness, and provides a unique viewpoint on entertainment and political matters. While Chris primarily focuses on sports writing, he also writes about a wide range of subjects.