While Martin Truex Jr. was celebrating his first Monster Energy Cup Series title Sunday, and the other three contenders were wondering what could have been, the rest of the drivers outside the Championship 4 were all vying for the final points positions as the 2017 NASCAR season came to an end.
Chase Elliott was the „winner“ in that class. He finished the season fifth in points, and while he didn’t win, Elliott scored 12 top-five finishes, five of those second places and one a pole. He finished fifth Sunday at Homestead. He will enter next season still in search of that elusive first Cup win.
Denny Hamlin was one of the reasons Elliott is still searching for that first win. Hamlin knocked Elliott out of the lead at Martinsville, only to see what some may call a bit of karma bite him back when he crashed out of championship contention the following week in Phoenix. Hamlin started from the pole Sunday, but never led a lap and finished ninth at Homestead, and sixth in the final points.
Matt Kenseth certainly won’t care much that he finished seventh in the final points. He ends 2017 without a ride for next season. He finished eighth Sunday.
Kyle Larson was a favorite to win it all this year. Mechanical issues, however, doomed him to miss the playoffs. Larson put on an impressive display Sunday, leading a race-high 145 laps and finishing third. He finishes the season eighth in points.
Ryan Blaney won his first race this season but sputtered entering the playoffs. He finished a quiet 29th Sunday and ninth in the season points.
Jimmie Johnson was never on his game this year. The defending series champion, was looking for a record eighth title. He won this season but it all fell apart in the Playoffs. He finished 27th Sunday and 10th in the final points.
2017 NASCAR Cup Series Final Points