from a NASCAR Fan’s View
Aaaahhhh… just another Saturday night under the lights. Except… this one is a lot different than many Saturday nights at any racetrack. First, this one is at Daytona. Second, this is a Super Speedway under the lights. Third, this is a race that is the last chance for one or some to qualify for the NASCAR Cup playoffs and move into the play-off rounds to try and win the NASCAR Cup Championship for the 2020 season.
First off, let’s talk about the obvious. There are three drivers sitting right on what is commonly referred to as the “bubble” and they are the three being closely watched for how the race pans out for them. Of course, everyone already knows those three would be, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron and seven-time Cup Champ, Jimmie Johnson. Nine points separate DiBenedetto and Johnson and four points separate Byron and Johnson. That alone should make the entire 400 miles about as dramatic as can be BUT, that isn’t the only storyline that might take place.
Since this is a superspeedway and they limit the amount of horsepower and downforce, there’s nothing about this race that is normal. As everyone knows, this is the most equalizing race the drivers face. Pretty much anyone in the field can win this one. That makes for a very interesting, drama filled day, or night, if you insist.
Since just about anyone can win this one, that means focusing on just the three we’ve already mentioned Could be the wrong thing. Since there are those they can’t point their way in, there are those that can win the race and mess up the three that are hovering around the bubble area. I mean, this could be a very complicated day.
First of all, let’s just say that Matt DiBenedetto has a bad day similar to what he has had the last several races and Jimmie Johnson and William Byron finish ahead of him by more than nine points. Assuming that he doesn’t get any stage points or any extra points that would mean that he is out in both the 24 and 48 Hendrick cars are in. I don’t know what the likelihood of that happening is, but it could be that it does happen. I mean when you look at this and the possibilities, there are so many different scenarios that could happen for a lot of reasons. One would be that it’s a superspeedway and there can always be the “Big One” and there can always be something that happens to one or even all three and they are all out.
Not trying to make this really complicated but it is a complicated situation if you look at it really closely. There are those that can win this race and they’re close to the bubble area and, depending on what happens to the rest of the ones trying to get into the top sixteen, things could look totally different in the top sixteen. Seriously, it is possible that the Hendrick cars of Johnson and Byron could both be in, DiBenedetto be out and that would put all four Hendrick cars in the playoffs. (Remember, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman are in by wins.) Now, wouldn’t that be something to see? I don’t think it would make DiBenedetto happy and I’m sure it would be extremely disappointing but, it is one of the possibilities. In the same line of thinking, it could also be that Jimmie Johnson is out and his chances for being in the playoff and the championship would be over. That would just add to the disappointment that this year would be or has been for him.
There are some harsh realities that need to be faced on Saturday night at Daytona. One of those harsh realities is that Jimmie Johnson may not advance into the playoffs and may not end this year with a chance for an eighth Cup Championship. I do realize that would be a really long shot, especially the way that Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin have been running. It may be a long shot, but it would be interesting if he takes it right down to the final four and has a shootout with the three that are in the final four with him. I know, I know; you’re saying this old guy is just a dreamer. Well, that may be true but, I have to say that it would still be interesting if it did happen that way.
Another harsh reality could be that someone totally unexpected wins this race and completely messes up the top sixteen because the three that are on the bubble in particular are either involved in an accident or some other reason takes them out. No matter how you look at it, it is highly likely that one of the three that I’ve talked about most here will be in the top sixteen and in the playoffs. The question is which of those three will it be?
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 29, 2020 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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