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Cup Series drivers outlook before the Round of 8

Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick
Denny Hamlin (left) and Kevin Harvick were part of the Final Four a year ago, now they are seeded 1 and 2 as they enter the Round of 8 in 2020. Credit: 11142019 Sean GardnerGetty Images via NASCAR Media

Here is a breakdown of the Round of 8 drivers as they begin their quest for the Bill France Cup this Sunday

Entering the first race of the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Kansas Speedway this weekend in the Hollywood Casino 400, none of the postseason contenders can clinch a spot in the Championship 4 round on points, making this week’s win and automatic bid to advance that much more important.

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford)

Enters the Round of 8 seeded first in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with 4,067 points. Harvick is 45 points ahead of the Championship 4 cutoff and is looking to make the final round for the sixth time in his career (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019). Harvick has made 29 series starts at Kansas posting five poles (series-most), three wins (tied for series-most), nine top fives and 16 top 10s. He also leads several key categories in the pre-race Loop Data at Kansas with an Average Running Position of 8.906, series-best, a Driver Rating of 108.6, series-best and 5,351 Laps in the Top 15 (80.6%), series-most. He finished fourth at Kansas earlier this season.

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

Enters the Round of 8 seeded second in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 4,054 points. Hamlin is currently 32 points ahead of the Championship 4 cutoff and is looking to make the final round for the third time in his career (2014, 2019). Hamlin has 24 series Kansas starts under his belt having posted three wins (tied for series-most), eight top fives and nine top 10s. He also ranks in the top 10 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 13.004, ninth-best, a Driver Rating of 90.4, ninth-best and 4,359 Laps in the Top 15 (68.4%), fifth-most. Hamlin has won the last two consecutive races at Kansas Speedway (2019 Playoffs, 2020) and enters this weekend looking to become first driver in series history to win three in a row.

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford)

Arrives in the Round of 8 seeded third in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with 4,035 points. Keselowski is currently 13 points ahead of the Championship 4 cutoff and is looking to make the final round for the second time in his career (2017). The Michigan native has made 21 series starts at Kansas Speedway posting one pole, two wins, five top fives and 11 top 10s. He also ranks in the top 10 in several key Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 12.645, eighth-best, a Driver Rating of 92.8, seventh-best and 4,057 Laps in the Top 15 (72.1%), eighth-most. Keselowski finished runner-up to Denny Hamlin at Kansas Speedway earlier this season.

Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

Enters the Round of 8 seeded in the fourth and final transfer spot to the Championship 4 round in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with 4,027 points – just five points ahead of the Championship 4 cutoff. Elliott is looking to make the final round of the Playoffs for the first time in his career. Elliott has made nine starts at Kansas Speedway posting one win, four top fives and five top 10s. He also ranks in the top 15 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 12.583, seventh-best, a Driver Rating of 95.2, fifth-best and 1,724 Laps in the Top 15 (71.3%), 14th-most. Elliott finished 12th in the series’ first stop at Kansas earlier this year.

Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford)

Joins the Round of 8 seeded fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 4,022 points – just five points behind Chase Elliott in the final transfer spot to the Championship 4. Logano is looking to make the Playoff’s final round for the fourth time in his career (2014, 2016, 2018). Logano has made 22 series starts at Kansas putting up two poles, two wins, seven top fives and eight top 10s. He also ranks in the top 15 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 15.234, 13th-best, a Driver Rating of 87.4, 12th-best and 3,345 Laps in the Top 15 (56.7%), ninth-most. Logano will be looking to rebound at Kansas Speedway this weekend, after a disastrous showing earlier this season that resulted in a 35th-place finish due to an incident.

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

Enters the Round of 8 seeded sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 4,017 points. Truex is currently 10 points behind Chase Elliott in the final transfer spot into the Championship 4. The New Jersey native, Truex, is looking to make the Playoff’s final round for the fifth time in his career. The 2017 series champion has made 24 starts at Kansas Speedway posting two poles, two wins, nine top fives and 11 top 10s. Truex also ranks in the top five of several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 11.215, fourth-best, a Driver Rating of 100.7, fourth-best and 4,565 Laps in the Top 15 (71.6%), third-most. Truex led 44 laps and finished third in the Kansas Speedway race earlier this season.

Alex Bowman (No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

Arrives in the Round of 8 seeded seventh in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 4,009 points. Bowman, who recently signed a new deal to drive the Hendrick Motorsport’s No. 48 in 2021, is currently 18 points behind his teammate Chase Elliott in the fourth and final transfer spot to the Championship 4 round. Bowman is looking to make the Playoff’s final round for the first time in his career. The Arizona native, Bowman, has made 10 series starts at Kansas Speedway posting one top five and four top 10s. He also ranks in the top 25 of several key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 22.106, 25th-best, a Driver Rating of 69.8, 21st-best and 1,094 Laps in the Top 15 (40.7%), 18th-most. Bowman finished in the top-10 (eighth) in the Kansas race earlier this season.

Kurt Busch (No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)

Enters the Round of 8 seeded in the eighth and final position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 4,006 points. Busch is currently 21 points behind Chase Elliott in the final transfer spot to the Championship 4 round. Busch is looking to make the Playoff’s final round for the first time in his career. The 2004 series champion, Busch, has made 29 series starts at Kansas posting one pole, four top fives and 12 top 10s. He also ranks inside the top 15 in key pre-race Loop Data categories with an Average Running Position of 14.196, 12th-best, a Driver Rating of 88.6, 11th-best and 4,301 Laps in the Top 15 (64.8%), sixth-most. Busch finished ninth in the series’ first stop at Kansas earlier this season.

Information in this report provided by NASCAR Media

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