With so many of the remaining 12 playoff drivers finding trouble at Talladega this past Sunday, several find themselves in further trouble heading into Sunday’s race at Kansas.
Once the checkered flag falls, four of the 12 remaining playoff drivers will be eliminated from advancing to the Round of 8 that begins next Sunday at Martinsville, followed by Texas and Phoenix.
Here are the drivers that are hot coming into Kansas, as well as those that are not:
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. (Hot)
- Won at Charlotte, sixth win this season (most of all drivers and personal best), finished 23rd at Talladega.
- Finished in the top 10 21 times this season, a series-best.
- Won 19 stages this season, series-best.
- Sixty-four playoff points this season, series-best.
- Led a series-high 1,977 laps in 2017, led the most laps in eight races.
- Won at Kansas in May.
- Average finish on 1.5-mile tracks this season is third.
- Won five of the eight 1.5-mile races this season.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick (Hot, Good at Kansas lately)
- Finished third at Charlotte after winning the first two stages and 20th at Talladega.
- Five fewer top fives and top 10s this year compared to last year (three less wins).
- Fourth in the standings, +22 to the cut line.
- Two Kansas wins, both coming in the playoffs.
- Finished top three at Kansas the last three years including a win in this race last year.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin (Hot)
- Finished fourth at Charlotte, sixth at Talladega.
- Finished top six in six of the last eighth races.
- Fifth in the standings, +21 to cut line.
- One Kansas win, Spring 2012.
- Finished 15th or worse in four of the last five Kansas races including 23rd in May.
No. 18 Kyle Busch (Hot)
- Finished 29th at Charlotte, hit the wall while running second. Finished 27th at Talladega after crash.
- Ninth in the standings, -7 to the cut line.
- Four wins this season, all in the last 11 races.
- Led laps in the last 14 races this season, career-best
- One Kansas win, Spring 2016.
- Finished top five in his last five races at Kansas, tied for longest streak ever at Kansas.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth (sneaky good, pretty good at Kansas)
- Finished 11th at Charlotte, 14th at Talladega.
- Worst finish in the playoffs is 14th.
- Tenth in the standings, -8 to the cut line.
- Two Kansas wins, last coming in 2013.
- Worst finish at Kansas in the last 14 races is 14th.
- Won the pole, led over 100 laps in this race last year, finished ninth. Finished 12th in May.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski (Good)
- Finished 15th at Charlotte, won at Talladega after having radio issues.
- Advances to the Round of 8
- One Kansas win, fuel mileage in 2011.
- Top-10 finishes in four of the five races at Kansas including runner-up in May.
No. 24 Chase Elliott
- Finished second at Charlotte, sixth career runner-up finish. Finished 16th at Talladega.
- Finished second in three of the last five races this season.
- Sixth in the standings, +20 to the cut line
- Worst finish in the last seven races is 16th.
- Best Kansas finish in three starts is ninth in Spring 2016.
- Finished 29th at Kansas in the Spring.
No. 42 Kyle Larson (Hot in 2017, Not great at Kansas)
- Finished 10th at Charlotte, 13th at Talladega after crash.
- Third in the standings, +29 to the cut line.
- Eight runner-up finishes this season.
- Four wins in 2017, had one entering this season.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2014, only finish better than 15th since is sixth in May.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
- Finished seventh at Charlotte, 24th at Talladega after accident
- Top-10 finishes in four of the last six races.
- Eighth in the standings, +7
- Four top-five finishes this season, three were wins.
- Three time Kansas winner (tied for the most), last was Spring 2015.
- Only two finishes outside the top 10 in his first 16 starts at Kansas, three in the last six including 24th in May.
- Only three top 10 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks this season
No. 77 Erik Jones
- Top-10 finishes in seven of the last 11 races this season.
- Two Kansas starts including the first of his career driving the No. 18.
- Finished 22nd at Kansas in May, multiple spins
Who’s Not Hot:
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Not)
- Finished 13th at Charlotte, 26th at Talladega
- 11th in the standings, -22 to the cut line
- Best finish since his win at Daytona in July is 13th
- Best Kansas finish is 11th, twice including in May
No. 1 Jamie McMurray (Decent)
- Finished fifth at Charlotte and 37th at Talladega after crash.
- Twelfth in standings, -29 to cut line.
- Sixteen top-10 finishes this season, six more than this point last year.
- Best Kansas finish is seventh, twice in 21 starts.
- Finished eighth in May at Kansas.
No. 21 Ryan Blaney (Just OK)
- Finished eighth at Charlotte, 18th at Talladega after accident after leading 27 laps.
- Currently seventh in the standings, +9 to the cut line.
- Last top-five finish was his win at Pocono in June.
- Eleven top-10 finishes this season but none have come in back-to-back races.
- Top-10 finishes in three of his last four starts at Kansas.
- Won the pole, finished fourth in May, led 83 laps, won Stage 2.
No. 3 Austin Dillon (Not hot)
- Finished 29th Talladega.
- Only two top-15 finishes in the last 12 races.
- Finished 14th in the first round
- Only four top-10 finishes this season, had 12 at this point last year.
- Finished top 10 in two of the last three races at Kansas.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne (Not hot)
- Finished eighth at Talladega, first back-to-back top-10 finishes since the first two races of the season.
- Only three top-10 finishes in the last 21 races.
- Finished 15th in the first round
- Six DNFs this season.
- Won at Indianapolis ending a 102-race winless streak.
- He has finished on the lead lap in 54 percent of the races this season.
- Best Kansas finish is second, twice.
- Worst finish in the last four races at Kansas is 16th.
No. 31 Ryan Newman
- Finished second at Kansas, broke a four race streak of finishing outside the top 10.
- Finished round one 13th in the standings
- One Kansas win, 2003.
- Only three Kansas top fives, all came in the first three races at Kansas.
- Finished last at Kansas in May.
No. 41 Kurt Busch
- Finished 25th at Talladega
- Finished 19th or worse in the last five races.
- Finished 16th in the first round, 25 points below the cut line.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2013.
- Finished 19th in May at Kansas.
No. 14 Clint Bowyer
- Finished 35th at Talladega.
- Finished runner-up three times in 2017.
- Twelve top 10s in 2017, had only three in all of 2016.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2007.
No. 22 Joey Logano
- Finished fourth at Talladega, only his fourth top-five finish since his Richmond win.
- Eleven finishes outside the top 20 in the last 22 races.
- Won at Richmond but was encumbered.
- First time he has missed the playoffs with Team Penske.
- Two-time Kansas winner.
- Finished top five in six of the last eight races at Kansas.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Finished seventh at Talladega
- Finished top 12 in the last three races, best streak this season.
- Best Kansas finish is second in 2011
- Finished 15th or worse in three of his last four Kansas starts.