The Bank of America 500 and next week’s Hollywood Casino 400 will be the eye of the coming storm for several drivers. Two of them are likely to win in the coming weeks, so they can head to Talladega SuperSpeedway without worrying about the seemingly inevitable Big One crash.
Of the eight drivers who will advance into round three, six of them will qualify on points. Anything can happen on the restrictor-plate, superspeedway. Drivers can only do the next best thing and that is run as well as possible on courses where skill instead of luck dictates the finish. Earning enough points at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway means that some of the pressure is off at Talladega. A 15- or 20-point cushion is not enough if eight or more Chasers survive the carnage, but it could be the difference between advancing or falling out of the playoffs if the number is anywhere south of the cutline.
Of course it does not always work out that way. Last year, Denny Hamlin finished fourth at Charlotte and second at Kansas, but he could not survive ‘Dega and was eliminated. Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick’s second-place finish at Charlotte an 16th at Kansas gave him just enough cushion that a 15th at Talladega was enough to advance to the next level. One must get all they can while they can.
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