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Pre Playoffs 2023 Cup Series Championship Four Predictions

After months of hard work, the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are finally here. For the next ten weeks, we will see who can rise above all the others to claim the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. But first, the Championship four must be determined over the next nine races. How do the playoffs work? The playoffs are run over ten weeks with every third race being an elimination race. Every three races, the bottom four in points of the playoff drivers are eliminated from championship contention. The road to Phoenix is never an easy one. But only four drivers out of the 16 drivers that qualify for the playoffs can make it to Phoenix. Who can rise above the rest and make it to Phoenix? Let’s talk about that.

#8 Kyle Busch:

Early in the year, the well-documented move by Kyle Busch from Joe Gibbs Racing to Richard Childress Racing was questionable by some. But now that the regular season has ended, those who were questioning Kyle Busch can’t say anything anymore. In his second race with RCR, Busch won at Fontana, one of his best tracks. Since his last win, at Gateway, Busch has been a little inconsistent. But the one thing that Busch has going for him is that he has finished in the Top-10 in five of the last seven races. He has momentum riding into the playoffs. Currently, Busch sits fifth in the playoff standings, and 12 points above the cutline for the playoffs. If nothing unexpected happens to Busch during the playoffs, much like last year, he will be a force to deal with if he can make it to Phoenix.

Current 2023 Stats for Kyle Busch:

3 Wins, 14 Top-10 Finishes, 8 Top-5 Finishes, an average finish of 14.12, 233 total laps led, and 5 DNFs on the season.

#11 Denny Hamlin:

Three things are certain in life. Death, taxes, and Denny Hamlin making the Championship four. Since the current points format debuted in 2014, Denny Hamlin has made the Championship four, four times. To this point, Hamlin has had a very solid season. Here’s the problem with Hamlin’s season. Both of Hamlin’s wins have come at the expense of one driver. That driver is Kyle Larson. If Larson wasn’t put in the position at Kansas and Pocono by Hamlin, Hamlin would have no wins so far. But Hamlin is riding a ton of momentum going into the playoffs. Over the last six races, he has finished in the Top-3 in four of those races. This will be another great opportunity for Hamlin to claim his first Cup Series Championship.

Current 2023 Stats for Denny Hamlin:

2 Wins, 12 Top-10 Finishes, 9 Top-5 Finishes, an average finish of 12.3, 389 total laps led, and 2 DNFs on the season.

#19 Martin Truex Jr:

Before the season began, Martin Truex Jr was being questioned if he could even with another race. Coming into this season, Truex was riding a 44-race winless streak. Ten races after the season started, Truex finally broke the winless streak at his best track, Dover. Since his second win of the season, Sonoma, Truex has been one of the most consistent drivers in the field. From Sonoma to Daytona, Truex scored 8 Top-10 finishes, including two wins. Truex is riding the high of winning the regular season Championship. Thanks to that, Truex has earned an extra 15 playoff points which will help him through the entirety of the playoffs. If Truex can make it to Phoenix, he will be a strong contender for this Championship.

Current 2023 Stats for Martin Truex Jr:

3 Wins, 15 Top-10 Finishes, 9 Top-5 Finishes, an average finish of 11.38, 832 total laps led, and 1 DNF on the season.

#24 William Byron:

William Byron has been the class of the field all season long. Byron was coming off a career year in 2022. With ten races left in the 2023 season, this has undoubtedly been Byron’s best season so far. Byron leads the field in wins, and laps led. Currently, Byron is the number one seed out of the playoff drivers. Even when it didn’t look like Byron had a chance of winning, he’s been in contention all year long for wins. If this is Byron’s year, it will be a very similar year to his Hendrick teammate, Kyle Larson, championship-winning season. Entering the playoffs, Larson had five wins with his most recent win being Watkins Glen. That same scenario is playing out for Byron currently. Phoenix is where Byron won his second race of the season. If he can reach Phoenix, he will be the Championship favorite.

Current 2023 Stats for William Byron:

5 Wins, 13 Top-10 Finishes, 9 Top-5 Finishes, an average finish of 12.84, 877 laps led, and 3 DNFs on the season.

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