This is exactly the kind of regular season finale-NASCAR was hoping for when they went to this playoff system a few years ago. That it ends at the wild card that is Daytona, only makes it better.

First, the regular season title is on the line.  Kyle Larson leads Denny Hamlin by 28 points.  The regular season champ gets five more bonus points (which stay with him throughout the playoffs) than the second place driver does.  Since Larson already has 37 playoff points to Hamlin’s five, that could be huge.

At the other end of playoff standings, drama is there too.  Tyler Reddick leads his teammate, Austin Dillon, by 25 points for the last playoff spot.

Ahhh, but this is Daytona.  Reddick can’t feel any sense of safety either because someone could pop out from below the top-16, win and boot him out too.

This is why the end-to-end championship run became out-dated.  This is pumping excitement into, what would have been, a relatively tame part of the year.  And this is just the start.  We’re going to do it four more times before we crown a champ