Sunday evening, the final cutoff race of the NASCAR playoffs came to a close. Chase Elliott won the Xfinity 500 and booked his trip to the championship race in Phoenix. He joined Joey Logano, the winner of the Hollywood Casino 400, as the only two drivers in the final four to make their own way to the final race. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski earned their spots by barely piling up enough points. Kevin Harvick, the regular-season champion and winner of nine races, missed out by the slimmest of margins after struggling with his car all race long.
When Sunday's race came to an end, the fans reacted with considerably varied reactions. Some expressed anger and disappointment after seeing Harvick's season come to an end one race short of the championship. Others proclaimed that this was a great outcome due to Hamlin having an opportunity to win his first Cup Series championship. Interestingly enough, a minority of fans strongly hinted that NASCAR had "found ways" to reach this final four.
Martin Truex Jr. is almost like the Valtteri Bottas of NASCAR. Poor guy is almost always in a position to win and something happens that screws it all up.— Jared (@metalhead_jared) November 1, 2020
Well I wish Clint and Martin were in it but we just can't have nice things— 🗿Robert Hansbrough Jr🗿™️ (@Roberthans04) November 1, 2020
The end of Sunday's race was bittersweet for many fans. They expressed excitement about seeing Hamlin and Elliott in the championship round, but they also lamented the loss of big names. Specifically, many wanted to see the 2017 Cup Series Champion, Martin Truex Jr., back in the final four after a strong season, but he finished below the cutoff line.prevnext
"The playoff system sucks if it means Harvick can be out of the championship!”
- People who have apparently never watched playoffs for any sport.— Faith Naff #BlackLivesMatter (@FaithNaff) November 1, 2020
This playoff format is good stop complaining— Matthew champagne (@Matthew102504) November 1, 2020
There was no shortage of people complaining about the playoff format on social media after learning that Harvick would miss the championship race. However, many others expressed a different opinion. They said that this was a very common occurrence in other sports. For example, the 15-1 Minnesota Vikings failed to reach the Super Bowl after a dominant 1998 season due to a missed field goal. Something similar happened to the 15-1 Green Bay Packers in 2011 after they lost to the New York Giants in the playoffs. Big Blue went on to defeat the New England Patriots while Aaron Rodgers and co. started the offseason early.prevnext
So calling the rule correctly is giving him a break? Chase earned that win— EasyE312 (@xEasyE312x) November 1, 2020
Wait... So we ain't even gotta worry about post race inspection?
Who am I kidding everyone knows poster boy is good even if he isnt— Kevin Arant (@KevinDon90) November 1, 2020
Does NASCAR favor certain drivers? Many racing fans expressed this opinion on Sunday after Elliott won the Xfinity 500. They proclaimed that he should not have been in a position to win due to a jackman leaving the pit wall early. NASCAR officials did initially levy a penalty against the pit crew and the No. 9 team but rescinded it after further review. According to announcers, the jackman did properly re-establish himself at the wall, correctly following rules and avoiding the penalty.prevnext
So many negative people on here. Congrats. You gotta step it up though - a few weeks of not being great. It's hard to keep that up all season. Some people started slow and are coming on now and some started fast and are fading a little. Go get it Denny.— Donna Mogelnicki (@donnahmogo) November 1, 2020
Hamlin was the second-most dominant driver during the 2020 season. He won six races during the regular season and then another in the playoffs. However, he had some issues during the other playoff races and made the championship round by the slimmest of margins. Now the fans want to see him and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team get everything right in time to push for a championship win.prevnext
He is forgiven tonight 😉— Hooters Racing (@HootersRacing) November 1, 2020
I love his emotion and interview! Congratulations Chase! Let's go get that championship!— Renee L Coussons (@ElliottByronfan) November 1, 2020
When Elliott climbed out of his car and conducted his post-race interview, he put his emotions on full display. He had to stop talking at times and appeared to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation. Some fans loved that Elliott's emotions got the best of him while others took the opportunity to complain about him forgetting to mention Napa, Hooters and the others responsible for his championship-worthy car.prevnext
Harvick should be the damn champion right now— 🍇tristan🍇 (@tristan__yt) November 1, 2020
This doesn’t feel right NASCAR, no!!!— Jimmie Jam (@JimmieJam48) November 1, 2020
There was no driver better than Harvick during the regular season and the early stages of the playoffs. The veteran Stewart-Haas Racing driver had the best car and he was consistent week in and week out — until the final cutoff round. Based on his past performances, the fans proclaimed that Harvick should be in the championship and competing for the opportunity to hoist the trophy. They proclaimed that there was something wrong now that Harvick's season was over.prevnext
Exactly what you wanted right @NASCAR? Big controversy of the best team all season not able to race for championship and golden Chase is in. Marketing team must be in love.— Brandon Tramper (@Tramper21) November 1, 2020
Get rid of this format, get rid of it with the change in the car. Make the title legitimate again, don’t leave it as a bigger joke than the man that introduced it. It only confuses new would be fans and pisses off the old ones— MLJFireDragon747 (@MLJFireDrag747) November 1, 2020
Many fans expressed excitement about the final four, but this was not a universal reaction. Some people strongly opposed the lineup. They continued to voice this opinion while criticizing NASCAR and the current playoff format.prev