A look at the winners and losers from Daytona International Speedway:
Chris Buescher — He continued his career season by winning his third race in a five-week stretch. He set himself up for a potential deep playoff run by scoring the fourth-most playoff points. Now he heads to the first round of the playoffs, which includes Bristol, the site of his second career win.
Brad Keselowski — One week after pointing his way into the playoffs, Keselowski achieved another goal. He helped RFK Racing get back to the days of 1-2 finishes. Keselowski pushed Buescher to the win and capped off the regular season with his sixth top-five finish of the season.
Bubba Wallace — He scored points in stage 1 and avoided a 16-car crash at the end of stage 2. He then finished 12th while Buescher scored the win. Wallace secured his first career Cup Series playoff appearance on points.
Martin Truex Jr. — He won the first stage at Daytona to score an extra playoff point. He then clinched the regular-season championship after Denny Hamlin was involved in the crash that ended stage 2. Truex enters the playoffs in a tie with William Byron for the top seed.
Denny Hamlin — He finished 26th and missed out on the regular-season championship, but he celebrated a milestone as a team owner. Bubba Wallace made the playoffs for the first time. He joined Tyler Reddick in the 16-driver field while marking the first time that both of Hamlin’s cars made the playoffs.
Truex Jr. wraps up Cup regular season championship
Martin Truex Jr. says the regular season title trophy is “really cool,” but he’s focused on a championship again this year, and the 15 playoff bonus points are even better.
Chase Elliott — He entered the regular-season finale in a must-win situation after running out of fuel at Watkins Glen. He did everything right by avoiding a multi-car crash and running inside of the top five in the final stage. He just missed the playoffs after finishing fourth.
Alex Bowman — Like Elliott, he needed a win to reach the playoffs. He also avoided the multi-car crash at the end of stage 2 and ran inside of the top 10 during the final stage. He finished sixth but missed the playoffs for the first time since taking over as Hendrick Motorsports’ fourth full-time driver in 2018.
Austin Dillon — He started 21st at the track he won his way into the playoffs last season. He was involved in the crash at the end of stage 2 and failed to clear the Damaged Vehicle Policy clock. He finished 33rd.
Chase Briscoe — Started from the pole for the first time this season. He led 67 laps while working in tandem with teammate Aric Almirola. Briscoe finished 30th after a wreck that sent Ryan Preece’s No. 41 barrel rolling through grass. He missed out on the playoffs.
Aric Almirola — He started second next to Briscoe and helped keep the field at bay during the final stage. He finished third at the track where he scored his first career win back in 2014. He missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.