Monday’s Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard capped off a disappointing Monster Energy NASCAR Cup regular season for the brand-new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 stock car, which failed to put a driver in the top five at the season closer, and produced just two wins in 26 races. As the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now moves into the playoffs, Chevrolet is last in the manufacturers’ standings, with 847 points to Toyota’s 941 and Ford’s 935. However, Chevrolet did manage to get five drivers into the playoffs, while Toyota has one fewer with four.
The 2018 NASCAR Brickyard 400 was won by Team Penske’s driver of the No. 2 Ford Fusion, Brad Keselowski, while No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry driver Kyle Busch, who led 27 laps of the race, picked up the regular-season championship. Denny Hamlin (No. 11, Toyota) and Clint Bowyer (No. 14, Ford) tied for the most laps led throughout the race with 37 apiece, while the most laps led by any Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driver was three. The honors went to Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 driver William Byron.
But the NASCAR Brickyard 400 wasn’t entirely fruitless for Chevrolet, as Byron’s teammates Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman managed to secure their respective places in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR playoffs after finishing 16th and 33rd, respectively. Neither had had a guaranteed spot in the playoffs prior to the green flag. Byron himself came up short of securing a spot.
Johnson said after the race that he was proud he’d managed to make it into every playoff since NASCAR instituted them in 2004. But, he said, he and his team will “go home and work hard” in order to be ready for the first round of the 2018 playoffs – the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this Sunday, September 16th.
“We have a lot of experience and I think our experience in pressure-packed situations will help us,” Johnson said.