Brief Playoff overview: the first three races will taper the 16 eligible playoff drivers down to 12. The next three races bring the field down to 8. Three more races will bring it to the final four who have one race at Homestead-Miami to decide who the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series Champion will be.
Race: South Point 400
Date: September 16th
Venue: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2017 Winner: Kyle Busch (2:54:47) at New Hampshire
Broadcast: NBSCN (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Letarte, Jeff Burton)
Most Wins: Jeff Burton (4) at New Hampshire
Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Built as a road course with a drag strip in 1972. It was later purchased by Richie Clyne and morphed into the current track in 1996. The 1.5 mile asphalt oval has banking turns of 20 degrees with a front and backstretch of 9 degrees. The track itself has seen success in ratings and revenue brought in.
1) Brad Keslowski (5th selection this year). He has an average 5th place finish here over the last four years including five consecutive top 7 finishes here. Sitting fourth in the FedEx standings, he is off back to back wins at Darlington and Indianapolis.
How Brad Keselowski passed Denny Hamlin — and they made contact twice! — to win the Brickyard 400. pic.twitter.com/1MqbV22tLT— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) September 10, 2018
2) Martin Truex Jr (5th selection this year). Martin’s last four races at Las Vegas – 4th place, 1st place, 11th place, 2nd place. This runs somewhat in contrast to his last four races this season: 14th, 30th, 11th, 40th. I think with the playoffs starting we see him buckle down and turn his racing around at Las Vegas.
High Risk/High Reward
3) Ryan Blaney (6th selection this year). Three consecutive top seven finishes at Las Vegas for Ryan who is 9th in the FedEx rankings and is fresh off eight consecutive top 15 finishes coming into the playoffs. A sneaky sleeper in Ryan Blaney.
4) Kyle Larson (7th selection this year). Such a wildcard, Kyle has two top three finishes in his last three races. He also has top three finishes over his last two races at Las Vegas. That’s a lot of excellent finishes from someone who could just as easily go into a wall at Vegas rubbing against a fellow driver and finish in 2nd to last.
5) Aric Almora ( ). The 14th place FedEx leader is coming off three consecutive finishes outside the top 12; however, he has not had four straight finishes outside the top 10 this year. I think he rebounds at Vegas where he finished 14th in 2016 and 10th last year.
Favorites: avg finish 11th (28th percentile)
High Risk/Reward: avg finish 17th place (44th percentile)
Dark Horse: avg finish 19th place (51st percentile)
The rules I have implemented for myself are:
1.I will not pick a driver more than 10 times this season.
2.Due to #1 these are “Power Rankings” (in quotations) I’m looking for value here.
My general format for my power rankings:
•Top 2 picks will generally be the favorites, the ones who should be top 5 or top 10 finished
• #3 and #4 will be your riskier picks, could be top 5 or bottom 15.
• Pick #5 is the dark horse.