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Full breakdown: Everything you need for the 2018 Monster Energy Series Playoffs

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs start now — and it’s all on the line. Sixteen drivers begin their march to Miami on Sunday, but only four will get there intact.

Ten races separate one of these 16 from the best prize in all of motorsports: a Cup championship.

This year’s playoff field has a trio of drivers who have dominated the competition throughout the regular season … but who have looked more human in recent weeks … a driver going for a record eighth championship … who hasn’t won yet this year … and a bevy of talented young drivers itching to break through as title contenders … if they can withstand the pressure.

It’s the NASCAR Playoffs.

Get a deep, detailed preview of the postseason with the below coverage from It begins today at 3 p.m. ET at Las Vegas (NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NASCAR Playoffs 16 drivers graphic


Overall outlook? Key stats? Best tracks? We break down all that, plus more, in this in-depth look at every driver. | READ MORE

Reigning champion Martin Truex Jr. faces an uncertain future, knowing he’s going to a new team next year. How about a repeat, champ? “Hell yes, let’s go do this!” Truex says. | READ MORE

Austin Dillon was the first driver to qualify for the postseason when he won the Daytona 500. His plan for advancing? Simple, the jovial Dillon says. Wreck the “Big 3.” | READ MORE

Jimmie Johnson is going for his eighth series championship … and his first win of the year. It’s unfair, Johnson says, to suggest he’s throwing in the towel in the midst of a down year. | READ MORE

No driver enters the playoffs at Las Vegas with more momentum than Brad Keselowski. Two wins in a row for the Team Penske driver makes him a title threat. | READ MORE

Kevin Harvick is known for stirring the pot, which he did again on our live Playoffs Show. His comment? Joey Logano would have won the championship in 2015 if he hadn’t spun Matt Kenseth at Kansas. Will the words have any carryover? | READ MORE


The most comprehensive Round of 16 preview you’ll read is here. David Smith breaks down what every driver needs to advance to the Round 12, and throws in some stats that may surprise you. (The playoff driver with highest crash rate? Stunning) | READ MORE

Kyle Busch smiles at Indianapolis
Sean Gardner | Getty Images

Every year a driver most fans and pundits project to be eliminated in the Round of 16 surprises us by advancing to the Round of 12 … and sometimes even the Round of 8. Zack Albert and Chase Wilhelm debate who fits the bill this year. | READ MORE

Now more than ever, we’re seeing more last-lap passes for the win, a byproduct of NASCAR’s playoffs format. Matt Crossman identifies six unwritten rules that drivers try to follow … even though it doesn’t always work out that way. | READ MORE

• The “Big 3” of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. all are favored to make the Championship 4. But will it actually happen? Or will one get bounced before the title race? Zack Albert and Chase Wilhelm debate. | READ MORE


Heartbreak. It happens every postseason, and will happen again this year. Here are the moments that still hurt for drivers even today. | READ MORE

Joy. Drivers faced with must-win situations who go out and win? Yeah, that’s joyful. And clutch. | READ MORE

Fulfilled. Some moments live long beyond the time in which they happen. Some moments live forever. | READ MORE

Matt Sullivan | Getty Images


Jimmie Johnson? He’s a “sleeping giant,” at least according to Clint Bowyer. | WATCH VIDEO

Beyond just your own performance, drivers have to be wary of others around them. Why? They can make your playoffs hell according to Kyle Busch, who called out a driver for doing just that in 2017. | WATCH VIDEO

 • The Round of 16 has a totally new feel with three new tracks — including the Charlotte road course in the elimination race. “A lot of chaos” awaits, Brad Keselowski says. | WATCH VIDEO

No other context needed: “Yes I will wreck his ass, wreck him, to win a championship. Here’s where the problem lies — he’ll do the same thing.” Who said it? | MORE TOP QUOTES


• Playoff emojis are back! See how to engage on another level with your favorite playoff driver. | SEE THEM ALL

Still need to get hype? No problem. Watch this video on how we got here, with highlights and clips from some of the best moments of the year so far. Problem solved. | WATCH HERE

There’s a new Fantasy Live game just in time for the postseason. RJ Kraft breaks down how to play. | READ MORE


Want our picks? We’ll give them to you here with five predictions and likelihoods to keep in mind throughout the postseason, including the driver most likely to make the Championship 4. | READ MORE