The NASCAR Cup playoffs begin this weekend and it’s time to dissect them to death.
NASCAR America analysts Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty shared what they thought were the biggest storylines entering the first round of the playoffs.
Jarrett is looking at how different the first three tracks are in Chicago, New Hampshire and Dover, how teams will points race and whether Jimmie Johnson and the rest of Hendrick Motorsports can get its act together.
Petty’s three storyline are whether Martin Truex Jr. can continue to dominate, will drivers have to rely on playoff points to advance if they have poor round performances and if Johnson will perform, especially with Dover in the first round.
“He’s not running in the top 10,” Petty said. “Dover will be a big, big sign for where Jimmie Johnson will be in this (playoff) I believe.”
Petty attribute’s Johnson’s poor performance the last few months to general woes at Hendrick Motorsports.
“They are as an organization … they’re not as good this year as they were last year,” Petty said. “We can talk this summer slump and we can talk ‘seven-time’ as much as we want to. But you’ve got to be in the game at some point in time and they have not been in the game.”
Johnson finished eighth at Richmond for his best finish since winning at Dover in June. Between the two races he never finished better than 10th.
“They don’t seem to have speed,” Petty said. “It seems OK to talk about Joey Logano and Brad (Keselowski) not having speed, but if you say Hendrick doesn’t have speed or Jimmie Johnson doesn’t, oh my gosh, the world’s coming to an end.”
Watch the video for the full discussion. In the video below, Nate Ryan shares his top storylines for the playoffs.