The 16-driver playoff field was set after the race, and it will not include seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson for the first time.
In the closing stages of the contest, Bubba Wallace was in contention to sneak into the playoffs with a victory. He was running third, briefly made it up to second, before he was passed by Joey Logano for that position with the laps winding down. Fourteen of the NASCAR Playoffs spots are accounted for due to regular-season wins or a large-enough points cushion, leaving only two remaining spots up for grabs.
"I'm excited, " Byron said of his championship position. "I knew what he was racing for and what I was racing for and those two things didn't match up today".
The 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion also won for vehicle owner Tony Stewart - a two-time Brickyard 400 victor as a driver in his own right - who Harvick raced against for many years. "I'm glad it worked out, because he was happy and celebrating out there. I raced against him for a long time, but I respect him as an owner and it's cool to do this together as a team".
Still, buoyed by some changes within the team and an uptick of on-track performance in recent weeks, Johnson told media members gathered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday the team remains confident they can either win the race or erase the 18-point deficit they face to make the playoff cut. Daniel Suarez was still in competition, entering the race tied in points with Newman, but his 11th-place finish combined with Newman's eighth place eliminated the driver from Mexico.
That puts him halfway to matching Mears' total of four Indianapolis 500 victories, "and hopefully we can get a little closer before we're done", Harvick smiled.
"More people attend the Brickyard 400 than attend an NFL football game and while we have 235,000 permanent seats and you put 75,000 plus people in the venue, it kind of looks empty and people give us a hard time about it", said Boles. "We've got to keep building, man".
"We aren't the fastest group".
Bowyer's road to that top-five finish was eventful to say the least.
"I don't mind coming here at all", Johnson said.
"I was like, 'Damn, I didn't need that'". "That second or third round, Texas would be a good track for us".
"We were faster than we ran". I think we were a top-five vehicle, but we were just trying to survive. "We needed to survive this thing and it was going to be a war of attrition and we survived". Although Sunday's crash shattered his playoff hopes, he recognized he had plenty of other chances this season to win. So we'll dust ourselves off and go to Vegas and try to get a trophy.
"Winning is everything", Bowyer said. Suarez returns with an 18th and 7th place finish in two career races while Menard has finished 16th or better in eight of his last nine trips including a win back in 2011. I should have won at Richmond earlier this year. If he can get through a race without any bad luck, I expect him to challenge for the win. All three have clinched playoff spots and Bowyer will join them - if he holds onto the No. 15 spot, 26 points ahead of Johnson. Since finishing 37at MI in August, Bowyer has finished seventh at Bristol, sixth at Darlington and fifth at Indianapolis. We saw that after about Lap 10 yesterday (in the Xfinity race), we saw who's cars were pushing and not pushing.
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"He was also runner-up at Pocono in June showing he could have a great set-up again this week with the 2019 race package", Roberts said. That is what it takes.