2018 NASCAR Cup playoff predictions: Experts pick a champion

But I'll give Harvick the ever-so-slight edge at Homestead based on his track history. Elliott will finagle his way into the final four, something that he nearly accomplished last year. Aric Almirola - Stewart-Haas Racing He backed that up with a top 10 in the South Point Logano 22 5 K. Be the first to know.

Ricky Craven, ESPN NASCAR analyst

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I'm anticipating the playoffs playing out in the same arc that the regular season followed: The discussion all year has been about the Big Three, with only passing discussion of the final championship driver. Larson runs well at Homestead, so it seems as though it would be appropriate for him to grab the win and take home the championship.

That would open up a whole new discussion of the playoff system and who is and isn't worthy of being a champion. Kyle Busch's team has executed well this year, and it just appears they are getting the most out of their cars on most days. Busch is still upset over losing a year ago.

The toughest cuts at the end of each round were: Harvick is locked in. He's been on a mission from the second they opened the gates at Daytona. Busch will be a tough out, but Harvick and Rodney Childers are relentless. Conventional wisdom says Harvick and Kyle Busch will be duking it out in the closing laps at Homestead, but I'm going to roll the dice and take Larson to steal the title. Larson is a force at Homestead three straight top-5s, laps led in the past two races , where the fast top groove plays to his strengths, so the spoiler potential is real.

That said, Larson is hardly a lock to make it that far. Although the speed is there, the No. I might regret not picking Keselowski, who's riding back-to-back wins, for the championship four. The same goes for Truex Jr. Thanks to their bonus points, Kyle Busch and Harvick merely need to avoid two races of trouble in a round to not cruise into the round of eight, and I think both have no issues getting to the end. Keselowski usually owns plate tracks but has six DNF in his past eight races, so Talladega spells his end.

If Larson can get to Homestead still in it, he's the favorite, but the round of eight tracks are among his weakest. There have been seven races on 1. But I'll give Harvick the ever-so-slight edge at Homestead based on his track history. To help make this website better, to improve and personalize your experience and for advertising purposes, are you happy to accept cookies and other technologies?

Three rounds, 1 champion: As the Big 3 of Martin Truex Jr. But lost in the shuffle was one driver who excelled earlier in the season and has gradually tapered off since then. Great personality, great guy, great driver Earlier this year, I predicted Chase Elliott would break out in The reality of the situation was Elliott did finally win his first Cup race, and it was as celebrated as you might imagine for the incoming Most Popular Driver. Lots of tempting choices here, from Talladega to Martinsville to the eventual championship at Homestead.

While this race might end up being one of the more enjoyable for fans to watch see: For all the crazy finishes this season, for all the heartwarming stories and first-time winners and dominant victories, ultimately this NASCAR season comes down to naming a champion.

Last season, it was Martin Truex Jr. This season, it should be Might seem unlikely, but there was a reason they all made it last year. Truex, Harvick, and Busch are as close to locks as it comes, and Keselowski is arguably the hottest driver in the series today. Pencil him into that fourth spot, with the potential for someone to steal it away at a later date. Being asked to pick one of the Big 3 to win the entire Cup Series title is as difficult a selection as there is.

Kevin Harvick has been the fastest driver week-in and week-out, and he has the most wins of anyone this to date. Kyle Busch has been the most resourceful, winning races by a country mile and a slim margin. And Keselowski, the winner of two straight, has all the momentum on his side.

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