A long, long time ago — February, to be exact, before the “Big Three” became a thing and everybody joked about how Chase Elliott was never going to win a race — we challenged NASCAR Twitterfolk to make a bold prediction: Who’s going to make the 2018 Championship 4?
Really, we did this because we wanted to keep people honest. We didn’t want anyone in Miami gloating, “I called the Championship 4 before the season even started.” Accountability, folks.
Following a thriller Sunday at ISM Raceway, the field is set for the winner-take-all season finale in Miami. The four drivers competing for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup next week are Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Martin Truex Jr.
This brings us back to our pre-season Twitter question, of course: How’d everybody on Twitter do? Who can we laud in this public forum for their picking skills? Who called the Championship 4 back before Austin Dillon took the season-opening checkered flag in the Daytona 500 — a day that feels like forever ago?
Nobody’s Very Good at This
Well, in a startling turn of events, it turns out nobody predicted the Championship 4. Not one person had the foresight to name Busch, Harvick, Logano, and Truex Jr. Round of applause, everybody.
A few came close, however, picking the “Big Three” (but missing the fourth pick). Our “close enough” award winners:
Time capsule, to be unearthed November 12, 2018:
Which four drivers will be the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4?
Let’s see who’s closest at the end of the year. (And, more importantly, let’s see who’s the most wrong so everyone can make fun of you later.)
— Steve Luvender (@steveluvender) February 6, 2018
Truex Jr. Kyle Busch. Jimmie Johnson. Kevin harvick. I think the old guys wanna prove something lol
— Chad Dalton (@ItsChadillac) February 6, 2018
— 🏁 JoJo 🏁 (@jojoluvs18) February 6, 2018
Hmm. Guys who can rack up the stage points and take care of the car /drive it thru bad handling. Kyle Busch, Harvick, Kenseth… oh wait😠… Truex Jr, and wild card for Chevy is Elliott.
— Kat (@chassiskat) February 6, 2018
Logano,Kyle Busch,Kyle Larson and Martin Truex JR
— P BIZZLE (@UGKINGPATB) February 10, 2018
— #4thecup (@ztmcadoo) February 7, 2018
1. Larson 2.Harvick 3. Ky Bush 4. Truex JR.
— 2 Blade Rage (@ThunderveeJody) February 8, 2018
It sort of makes sense why nobody picked all four championship contenders. Joey Logano completely missed the playoffs in 2017. Very few expected him to rebound not only into the playoffs, but all the way to the Championship 4.
In fact, only one person who correctly picked three of four contenders named Joey Logano as one of them. Way to go, @CameronBak923.
— Cameron (@CameronBak923) February 6, 2018
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Now comes the most anticipated part of this whole competition: whose picks missed the Championship 4 entirely. Sorry for the public shame, but you knew what you signed up for.
[Author’s note: I’m not sorry. This is the fun part for me.]
These six individuals should never be trusted with your fantasy racing advice:
— Paul Donnelly (@oldfriends42) February 6, 2018
Byron, Johnson, Blaney, and Jones
— Jᴇʀᴇᴍʏ 🅰️🏈🌊 🏁 (@NaskarrKid) February 6, 2018
88 20 3 48
— Shane Holcombe (@ShaneHolcombe9) February 11, 2018
1. Larson 3. Bowman
2. Elliott 4. Blaney
— JD Holland (@JDHolland27) February 9, 2018
— Liam Brotherton (@Liam_Brotherton) February 7, 2018
Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott
— keever walker (@chiefkeev29) February 6, 2018
Please try again in 2019. We eagerly await your Championship 4 picks of Richard Petty, Norm Benning, Ricky Bobby, and Dick Dastardly from Wacky Races.
Cheaters Never Prosper
Demonstrating the unpredictability of the playoffs, some people tried to participate later in the season, but still totally whiffed.
2. Kyle Busch
— Joe Siddle (@JoeSiddle) October 1, 2018
— Redneck Gamers (@gamers_redneck) November 11, 2018
It’s remarkable to miss this badly with an eight-month advantage.
Some Twitter users participated just after the race Sunday when the Championship 4 was actually set. Smart play!
2. Kyle Busch
— Justin Nguyen (@ZappaTheWriter) November 11, 2018
Logano, Busch, Harvick, Truex..
— Lucas (@LucasLaBonte) November 11, 2018
You’re as clever as a crew chief, but unfortunately, we can’t accept these late picks. Try again next year.
In the context of early February, pretty much everybody expected Kyle Larson to contend for the title.
A lot of people expected Jimmie Johnson to make an appearance in the Championship 4.
People expected more from Ryan Blaney.
Chase Elliott has a lot of fans, and fans who had high expectations for 2018.
Almost nobody expected a Joey Logano resurgence.
And, while the playoffs proved unpredictable, one conjecture for who will take it all will likely come true Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
2) The Fans
3) At Home
— Tuff Titty d.b.a. J.D. Shellnut: Chief of Po-lice (@joostinrextin) February 6, 2018
Thank you to all who participated. We’ll do it again next year.