The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs field was set on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the regular-season finale.
Fourteen of 16 spots had been clinched in advance of the Brickyard 400, meaning two spots were available. Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman earned them.
RELATED: Official results
Daniel Suarez and Newman entered the day tied for the final position (Suarez held the tiebreaker), with seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson 18 points behind the cutoff line. A late wreck ended Johnson’s hopes, leaving Bowyer, Newman and Suarez to duke it out.
Monster Energy Series Playoffs field
1. Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing: 2,045 points
2. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing: 2,030 points
3. Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing: 2,029 points
4. Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing: 2,028 points
5. Joey Logano, Team Penske: 2,028 points
6. Brad Keselowski, Team Penske: 2,024 points
7. Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports: 2,018 points
8. Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing: 2,011 points
9. Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports: 2,005 points
10. Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing: 2,005 points
11. Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing: 2,005 points
12. Ryan Blaney, Team Penske: 2,004 points
13. William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports: 2,001 points
14. Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing: 2,001 points
15. Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing: 2,000 points
16. Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing: 2,000 points
SEVEN-TIME OUT: Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet was darting through the field, showing plenty of speed in pursuit of a postseason berth. Those hopes ended, though, on the Stage 3 restart when Johnson and Kurt Busch triggered a multicar wreck, eliminating the No. 48 from playoff contention. Johnson, a seven-time Cup Series champion, had qualified for the playoffs every year since the inception of the postseason in 2004. He won six titles in previous playoff iterations, then a seventh in 2016 in the elimination era.
OH, DANNY BOY: Daniel Suarez smacked the outside wall early at Indianapolis, sending him to pit road a couple of times to try and get his No. 41 Ford fixed. The impact sent him tumbling down the leaderboard — and, therefore, standings — and he was unable to recover to advance to the playoffs, especially after an untimely late caution during a pit cycle.
CHAMP IS HERE: Kyle Busch won the regular-season championship for the second consecutive season by virtue of having the most points during the 26-race regular season. He clinched the title last week at Darlington Raceway. His reward? Besides the prestige and a pretty sweet trophy, that’s worth 15 playoff points that carry over into the postseason. Good thing he clinched last week, because “Rowdy” exited early after an incident with his No. 18 Toyota.
TOP SEED: Kyle Busch is the top seed in the playoffs for the second consecutive season — he shared the honor with Kevin Harvick last year.
NEXT UP: The Monster Energy Series Playoffs begin next Sunday, Sept. 15, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).