Fresh off of the Bojangle’s Southern 500 at Darlington, there is plenty to talk about in the world of NASCAR.

Kyle Busch is still the odds on favorite to win the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Championship at books like Bovada sportsbook. And even after ‘losing control’ of the race at Darlington, he’s the odds-on favorite at +300 or 3-1 to win the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard in Indiana on Sunday.

On the Bubble

There are just two playoff spots left and although there was a little flip-flopping after the battle at Darlington, it’s more or less the same drivers vying for those final two post-season berths. 

Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez, and Clint Bowyer were all on the cusp. For Bowyer, things are looking good. He has raced in Darlington 14 times and only once before finished in the top-ten. However, last weekend, his luck changed and he crossed the finish line in sixth place – his best finish at the Southern 500– and secure himself the No. 15 spot in the standings, at least for the time being.

Standings:

15. Clint Bowyer with 625 points
16. Danny Suarez with 617 points
17. Ryan Newman with 617 points
18. Jimmie Johnson with 599 points

The top-16 make the post-season, so it comes down to the Brickyard 400. 14 drivers are mathematically locked-in. Will Clint Bowyer hold on? Can Jimmie Johnson sneak in there? Who, if either out of Ryan Newman and Danny Suarez will take enough points to advance into the playoffs? There is so much drama surrounding this playoff race … literally a race! 

Driver Matchups

Westgate in Las Vegas has Danny Suarez matched-up – rightfully so– against Ryan Newman. Suarez is a -140 favorite to finish the race with a higher place. That said, -140 is just a slight favorite and those numbers don’t show a lot of confidence or implied probability.

But Ryan Newman has actually won this race before, so if I were a betting man, that’s the Driver I would take out of these two. On top of that, Jimmie Johnson has also won the Brickyard 400 on multiple occasions. He took the checkered flag in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2012. Depending on how the rest of the drivers finish, he could leap-frog the other three into that No. 15 spot with a 40-point win. Other than Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard is another driver in the field that has won in Indiana.

Clint Bowyer finished 5th at the Brickyard last year and his best placement is 4th, which he’s done twice. If Bowyer finishes in the top-ten, worst-case scenario, Danny Suarez and Ryan Newman would have to go one and two, which would put the race winner in the 15th spot and tie the second-place finisher with Bowyer at 652 points for that 16th spot. If Bowyer finishes 9th or better, he is a lock for the post-season. 

The probability of Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman finishing in first and second is ridiculously long, but hey … stranger things have happened. But for probability’s sake, let’s say that Clint Bowyer is in and it’s a three-horse race for No. 16. That said, I believe Johnson can make the playoffs. He was on his way to the top-5 before he got picked up by a crash late in the day. Johnson has a lot of experience winning in Indiana and had a lot of momentum last weekend. If he get’s a top-5 finish this weekend and the other two finish outside of the top-22, Like Newman did last weekend, he’s in. 

Stay tuned … This is going to be close!