NASCAR PLAYOFFS: WHAT WE LEARNED

Toyota was particularly fast, mistakes were made and there’s much to be decided.


In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, it’s basically the same thing, save the whole playoff points and stage racing thing.

As in years past, there are still 16 drivers racing their way through a three-round, nine-race gauntlet in the hopes of being four of the 16 to compete for the championship in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr. won for the fifth time this season to cement the conviction that he will ultimately clinch one of those four spots when NASCAR arrives in South Beach later this year.

He has so many of these playoff points that he will basically start each of the next two rounds with a 25-point advantage over anyone else in the field.

We saw during the NASCAR playoffs that Toyota was fast but not fast enough. Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch as the two former champions sparred on Twitter of the pace shown by Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row.

Keselowski alleged that NASCAR hasn’t done enough to level the playing field this season and that Toyota has taken advantage of that perceived indecision.

Make no mistake, Toyota teams were plenty fast, winning the race and dominating early on but they are not without their flaws. Sure, TRD has provided its teams with the most speed this year but that’s not the only avenue to winning races and the championship.

Only three Toyotas finished in the top-10, highlighted by Busch having to endure two pit road miscues that forced him to finish 15th and one lap down. Even Truex had to rally from a pit road speeding penalty to rally to the win during the final stage.

It’s going to be tough to beat Toyota on qualifying day but everyone else will have to hedge their bets on clean pit stops and tire strategies.