And, when the smoke cleared...we had exactly what we had expected since June: the Big Three Plus One.  In some ways, though, isn't that the way it should be?

Understanding that the fastest car doesn't always win, there is still some satisfaction in seeing the three cars that were head and shoulders better than the competition during the build of the season, still standing.

And, while Joey Logano isn't exactly Maryland-Baltimore County, he spent the year hanging around the top 5 and yet, was rarely mentioned when folks were trying to figure out who the Plus One would be.  In mid-June, it was Clint Bowyer.  In mid-August, Chase Elliott.  In mid-September, Brad Keselowski, who opened the playoffs with his third straight win and then failed to advance to the Round of 8.

Yeah, it's the guys we expected to see there.  But, the path wasn't smooth for any of them.  And, those points they piled up in the regular season-aid off for all of them in the post-season.

Now, none of that matters.  And, we get the ultimate showdown among the season's best.