Believe it or not, a Chevrolet driver has not qualified for the final four at Homestead Miami in the NASCAR playoffs since Jimmie Johnson won the title in 2016 and it looks like that trend might carry over into 2019. That's not to say that Chevrolet doesn't at least have a shot, especially with Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott being very strong when they are able to stay out of trouble, but it's still a long shot.
And staying out of trouble might just be the biggest issue here, as Elliott, who squeaked into the round of eight by a total of four points over Brad Keselowsi, has finished outside the top-ten in two of the last three races. He also has one of the worst average finishes at the next three tracks on the schedule, Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix, which will likely leave him on the bubble.
In fact, between Elliott's 14th place finish at Phoenix, 13th at Texas and second at Martinsville, it's very obvious that Elliott is going to have to find some speed and some good luck in order to finally get Chevrolet into the final four. As for Larson, who made his way into the final eight with a victory at Talladega, his prospects look just as uncertain.
Larson managed to finish 6th at Phoenix earlier this season, but followed that up with a 18th place finish at Martinsville and a 39th place showing at Texas. If nothing else, Larson's entire season has been epitomized by bad luck and those thinking he will be the one to magically break through to the final four might want to reconsider their choices.
With that being said, if you compare Elliott and Larson's finishes at the next three tracks to guys like Kyle Bush,Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr and even Joey Logano, you really start to get an idea of how uneven the final eight playing field is. For example, Kyle Busch actually ended up winning the spring race at Phoenix, following that up with a third place at Martinsville and a tenth place showing at Texas.
As for Truex Jr, who touts six wins this season, he finished 2nd at Phoenix, 8th at Martinsville and 12th at Texas. Of course those aren't excellent numbers compared to some of of his JGR racing teammates at that part of the season, but when you considering the fact that this is his first year with the organization, you can attribute those kinds of stats to growing pains.
And then there's Denny Hamlin. The man who won The Daytona 500, and has pretty much been on a tear all season long in the hunt for his first title. Interestingly enough, his 5th place finish at Phoenix, 5th place showing at Martinsville and his win at Texas seem to point to him getting a chance to finally fulfill that career-long goal.
In the end, Chevrolet making The final four is going to be dependent on two factors. Luck and speed. While Larson and Elliott have shown flashes of brilliance throughout this season and have more then proven themselves as legitimate title contenders, its all going to come down to whether they can outdo the competitors that have smoked them all season.
If they can, it would be a huge step forward for Chevrolet heading into 2020 and while they might not have a chance to capture the coveted championship at the end of the season, just getting into the final four after a dismal showing this season would be a crucial victory all on its own.Published 21 Oct 2019, 22:14 IST