From the unlikely and stylish wins to heartbreaking moments, NASCAR playoffs have no doubt written so much in fans and players’ hearts.
Although the race has evolved over the years and the playoffs format has also changed, nothing has taken away the game’s taste.
Despite some critics, the competition is curving towards being better and more entertaining than ever. The fan base is ballooning, and automobile technological advancement is fine-tuning the race. All these make the competition more thrilling and full of memorable moments. Let us delve into some of the moments that are difficult to forget in NASCAR Playoffs history.
The 2004 NASCAR Playoffs debuted the Chase for the Nextel Cup format. This competition was a fierce encounter among top drivers such as Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson. During the race, Kurt Busch saw his hopes of clinching the NASCAR win slip away after losing the right-front wheel on his No. 97 Ford. This happened on the 93rd lap of the 267 laps. It was miraculous because he missed by less than a foot to hit the outside pit wall. He never relented, though, as he pulled back from 28th place to finish fifth. Greg Biffle won the race, followed by Johnson. However, Busch won the championship due to the point’s superiority. He had an eight-point lead against Johnson and sixteen over Jeff Gordon, who had four championship titles to his name.
The 2006 NASCAR playoffs marked the 58th season of professional car racing in the USA. The competition kicked off at one of the best race tracks on the planet-Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 12, and ended on Monday, November 20, at Homestead Miami Speedway. In the playoffs, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth viciously fought for the win at Dove. Kenseth seemed to be on track as he led 131 laps before Burton finally took the lead with six laps remaining. Kenseth would have likely won the race was it not for him to run out of fuel. He eventually finished 10th as his former teammate Burton slid to victory. Kenseth however, came second to Jimmie Johnson in the Nextel Cup series.
The stage was set for Jeff Gordon, the 4th time winner of the NASCAR premier series, to scoop it for the fifth time. Jeff Gordon had been comfortably leading for most parts after the first race of the season. However, a turnaround happened when another top and one of the highest paid NASCAR drivers Johnson smashed four consecutive playoff races. This started at Martinsville and ensured that Johnson claimed a second successive victory in the championship. This was indeed heartbreaking for Jeff as he was largely on course to grab his fifth title.
The 2011 NASCAR Playoffs wasn’t short of drama. The final ten races of the season-long 36 races were referred to as the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. The 2011 season is still regarded as one of the finest and most exciting cup series for plenty of reasons. It registered the closest point battle in history, including a tie-breaker amongst several surprises. Stewart, for instance, had zero wins when the postseason kicked off. However, he went on to win half of the final ten races. A victory for Stewart in the last race of the season ensured a tie with Carl Edward, who was superb for most parts of the season. Eventually, the tie-breaker decision handed Stewart the victory, and Carl Edward’s season-long fight was now overshadowed.
The 2017 edition of the NASCAR Playoffs was the 46th modern-era Cup series season. Jimmie Johnson came into the season as the defending champion and was eager to clinch the eighth title in his decorated career. In the final race, Martin Truex Jr. started in the front row and had to battle the likes of Kyle Larson, who held the lead for 145 laps. Truex Jr. eventually pulled off and beat Kyle Busch to claim his first title.
This was the first-ever race at the Charlotte Roval but was full of thrilling moments. Heading into the final chicane, Martin Truex Jr. was ahead of Jimmie Johnson. However, Johnson attempted to pass and head to grab the winner but locked his brakes and spun both cars. This allowed Ryan Blaney to jump from third to the first spot. However, Martin Truex Jr. worked hard and tracked down to pass Joey Logano at Martinsville. Lugano, however, pulled back in the last corner of the last lap. Lugano won the 2018 series with five points clear of the second-placed Martin Truex Jr.
From the highlights we have covered, it is crystal clear that NASCAR Playoffs is thrilling. The competition has massively evolved and promises to grow better. Well, if you are looking to wager on sports, NASCAR playoffs should feature in your list of actions to enjoy and even win!