A case for each driver as cham­pion

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Matt Ep­pers and Ellen J. Horrow

A look at the 16-driver field in or­der of seed head­ing into the post­sea­son.

1. MARTIN TRUEX JR. Age: 37. Born: Mayetta, N.J. Team: Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing.

Car No.: 78. Make: Toy­ota. Twit­ter: @Mart­inTruex_Jr Cham­pi­onships: None

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 4. Poles: 1 Top 5s: 10. Top 10s: 17 Play­off points: 2,053. Bonus: 53 Odd fact: Truex has led nearly

300 more laps than any other driver this sea­son. 2. KYLE LAR­SON Age: 25. Born: Elk Grove, Calif. Team: Chip Ganassi Rac­ing.

Car No.: 42. Make: Chevro­let. Twit­ter: @KyleLar­son­Racin Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 4. Poles: 3 Top 5s: 11. Top 10s: 15 Play­off points: 2,033. Bonus: 33 Odd fact: Lar­son co-owns sprint car team Lar­son Marks Rac­ing with Justin Marks and has com­peted in more than a dozen events this year as a driver. 3. KYLE BUSCH Age: 32. Born: Las Ve­gas. Team: Joe Gibbs Rac­ing.

Car No.: 18. Make: Toy­ota. Twit­ter: @KyleBusch Cham­pi­onships: One (2015).

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 2. Poles: 6.

Top 5s: 10. Top 10s: 16

Play­off points: 2,029. Bonus: 29 Odd fact: With his vic­tory at Po­cono Race­way this sum­mer, Busch has now won a points race at ev­ery ac­tive Cup track ex­cept Char­lotte Mo­tor Speed­way. 4. BRAD KESELOWSKI Age: 33. Born: Rochester Hills, Mich.

Team: Team Penske.

Car No.: 2. Make: Ford. Twit­ter: @keselowski Cham­pi­onships: One (2012).

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 2. Poles: 2 Top 5s: 11. Top 10s: 14 Play­off points: 2,019. Bonus: 19 Odd fact: Keselowski reg­u­larly blogs at his web­site bradrac­ing.com, al­low­ing fans to get more per­sonal in­sights on a wide range of top­ics. 5. JIM­MIE JOHN­SON Age: 41. Born: El Ca­jon, Calif. Team: Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports

Car No.: 48. Make: Chevro­let. Twit­ter: @Jim­mieJohn­son Cham­pi­onships: Seven (200610, 2013, 2016).

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 3. Poles: 0 Top 5s: 3. Top 10s: 8 Play­off points: 2,017. Bonus: 17 Odd fact: John­son has won at ev­ery play­off track ex­cept Chicagoland Speed­way. Of his 83 ca­reer wins, 48 have come at tracks be­ing used in the play­offs. 6. KEVIN HARVICK Age: 41. Born: Bak­ers­field, Calif. Team: Ste­wart-Haas Rac­ing.

Car No: 4. Make: Ford. Twit­ter: @Kev­inHar­vick Cham­pi­onships: One (2014).

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 1. Poles: 4

Top 5s: 8. Top 10s: 16

Play­off points: 2,015. Bonus: 15 Odd fact: Harvick and his wife DeLana founded and op­er­ate KHI Man­age­ment, a full-ser­vice sports and celebrity-mar­ket­ing agency rep­re­sent­ing some of the big­gest names in NASCAR, UFC, PGA, mo­tocross and the mu­sic in­dus­try.

7. DENNY HAM­LIN Age: 36. Born: Tampa, Fla. Team: Joe Gibbs Rac­ing.

Car No.: 11. Make: Toy­ota. Twit­ter: @den­ny­ham­lin Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 2. Poles: 0 Top 5s: 11. Top 10s: 15 Play­off points: 2,013. Bonus: 13 Odd fact: Ham­lin has made the play­off ev­ery year but one since he be­came a full­time driver in

2006. The only ex­cep­tion was

2013 when he missed four races af­ter break­ing his back at Auto Club Speed­way. 8. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. Age: 29. Born: Mem­phis. Team: Roush Fen­way Rac­ing.

Car No.: 17. Make: Ford.

Twit­ter: @Sten­houseJr Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 2. Poles: 1

Top 5s: 4. Top 10s: 7 Play­off points: 2,010. Bonus: 10

Odd fact: Stenhouse scored his first two ca­reer wins in the Cup Se­ries this sea­son and both came at re­stric­tor-plate tracks — Tal­ladega Su­per­speed­way and Day­tona In­ter­na­tional Speed­way. 9. RYAN BLANEY Age: 23. Born: Cort­land, Ohio. Team: Wood Brothers Rac­ing.

Car No.: 21. Make: Ford. Twit­ter: @Blaney Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 1. Poles: 1

Top 5s: 3. Top 10s: 9

Play­off points: 2,008. Bonus: 8 Odd fact: Blaney is the son of Dave Blaney, a sprint car Hall of Famer who also raced full­time in the NASCAR Cup Se­ries for 13 years. Ryan Blaney’s un­cle is Dale Blaney, a for­mer col­lege bas­ket­ball star at West Vir­ginia who switched to sprint car rac­ing and be­came a six-time cham­pion of the All Star Cir­cuit of Cham­pi­ons. 10. CHASE EL­LIOTT Age: 21. Born: Daw­sonville, Ga. Team: Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports.

Car No.: 24. Make: Chevro­let. Twit­ter: @chaseel­liott Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 0. Poles: 1 Top 5s: 6. Top 10s: 14 Play­off points: 2,006. Bonus: 6 Odd fact: El­liott is the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill El­liott, who the Cup cham­pi­onship in

1988 and was named the se­ries’ most pop­u­lar driver 16 times be­tween 1984 and 2002. 11. RYAN NEWMAN Age: 39. Born: South Bend, Ind. Team: Richard Chil­dress Rac­ing.

Car No.: 31. Make: Chevro­let. Twit­ter: @RyanJNew­man Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 1. Poles: 0 Top 5s: 6. Top 10s: 11 Play­off points: 2,005. Bonus: 5 Odd fact: Newman fin­ished run­ner-up for the 2014 cham­pi­onship de­spite not win­ning a race that sea­son. 12. KURT BUSCH Age: 39. Born: Las Ve­gas. Team: Ste­wart-Haas Rac­ing.

Car No.: 41. Make: Ford. Twit­ter: @KurtBusch Cham­pi­onships: One (2004).

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 1. Poles: 0 Top 5s: 5. Top 10s: 13 Play­off points: 2,005. Bonus: 5 Odd fact: Busch was the first cham­pion of NASCAR’s “play­off era,” win­ning the ti­tle as a 26year-old in 2004. 13. KASEY KAHNE Age: 37. Born: Enum­claw, Wash. Team: Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports.

Car No: 5. Make: Chevro­let. Twit­ter: @kaseykahne

Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 1. Poles: 0 Top 5s: 3. Top 10s: 4 Play­off points: 2,005. Bonus: 5 Odd fact: Kahne is rac­ing his last sea­son with Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports and is still con­tem­plat­ing his op­tions for next sea­son. 14. AUSTIN DILLON Age: 27. Born: Lewisville, N.C. Team: Richard Chil­dress Rac­ing.

Car No: 3. Make: Chevro­let. Twit­ter: @austindil­lon3 Cham­pi­onship: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 1. Poles: 0 Top 5s: 3. Top 10s: 4 Play­off points: 2,005. Bonus: 5 Odd fact: Dillon, the grand­son of team owner Richard Chil­dress, won the Camp­ing World Truck cham­pi­onship in 2011 and the Xfin­ity Se­ries cham­pi­onship in 2013. 15. MATT KENSETH Age: 45. Born: Cam­bridge, Wis. Team: Joe Gibbs Rac­ing.

Car No.: 20. Make: Toy­ota. Twit­ter: @mat­tkenseth Cham­pi­onships: One (2003).

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 0. Poles: 2 Top 5s: 7. Top 10s: 12 Play­off points: 2,005. Bonus: 5 Odd fact: Kenseth will not re­turn to Joe Gibbs Rac­ing next sea­son when Erik Jones will take over the No. 20 car. Kenseth’s fu­ture plans are still to be de­ter­mined. 16. JAMIE MCMUR­RAY Age: 41. Born: Jo­plin, Mo. Team: Chip Ganassi Rac­ing.

Car No: 1. Make: Chevro­let. Twit­ter: @jamiem­c­mur­ray Cham­pi­onships: None.

u2017 STATIS­TICS Wins: 0. Poles: 0

Top 5s: 2. Top 10s: 13

Play­off points: 2,003. Bonus: 3 Odd fact: McMur­ray is one of just four driv­ers, along with A.J. Foyt, Mario An­dretti and Jeff Gor­don, to win the Day­tona 500 and Rolex 24 at Day­tona dur­ing their ca­reers. He is also one of only three driv­ers to win both the Day­tona 500 and Brick­yard

400 in the same year. McMur­ray won both in 2010.

PETER CASEY, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Kyle Busch won the 2015 NASCAR Cup ti­tle.

PETER CASEY, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Brad Keselowski en­ters the NASCAR play­offs with 2 wins.

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