Talladega, AL – If you are Kyle Larson you are heading into this weekend’s race at Talladega with a little less pressure than the 11 other playoff contenders. Larson secured his position in the next round of the playoffs with a victory last week at Dover.
The other five of the 11 drivers are probably in good shape, the other six of the eleven need to avoid trouble and will be driving for their playoff lives.
The bottom four Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney really need to make it to victory lane to lock in a spot in the next round of the playoffs. Bowyer has found a way to hang on all season. He has had to battle for each position on the race track just to stay alive in playoffs and he finds himself four points out from the cutoff. Bowyer just couldn’t seem to steer clear of trouble all season long. Most of the time the trouble he couldn’t avoid was his own doing. He still has a shot, but he needs to assert himself and really needs to win this weekend at Talladega.
Logano runs well at Talladega, with three career wins at the super speedway, look for the No. 22 team to be among the leaders on Sunday. His driver rating at Talladega is 89.8 with eight top five’s and 10 top ten’s in 21 career starts.
Chase Elliott has only one win at Talladega, but has three top five’s and a driver rating of 93.4 and he can’t afford another race like last week in Dover or his season is over.
Ryan Blaney is the only driver in the bottom four that doesn’t have a win at Talladega, but in 10 career starts he has one top five and two top ten’s with a driver rating of 86.7
The goal for all of the drivers this weekend is to avoid the “big one.” Survive and you will have one more chance before the next cutoff next week at Kansas Speedway. Have trouble this weekend and your chances for advancing in the playoffs suddenly becomes a very large task heading into Kansas Speedway.