When the MENCS teams finish the race at Kansas Speedway this weekend, four will be gone from the competition for the 2019 Championship. The question is, which four won’t be moving on. This is an elimination race and there will only be eight left to move on to the Round of Eight.
Stress levels are high, especially among the six hovering just above or just below the cut line. Talladega was not nice to many last weekend and the Hendrick teams appeared to suffer the most damage. Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and William Byron all took a hit in the points standings and all are fighting for the opportunity to move on to the round of eight. Clint Bowyer is the lone non-Hendrick driver below the cut line. He has his work cut out for himself the same as the Hendrick teams if he wants to move on into the round of Eight.
I’m sure all of this you already know since it has been the hot topic ever since the race at Talladega was in the books. As I mentioned above, Talladega was a wreck-fest that took a big toll on the playoff drivers. Of the four below the cut line, William Byron has the greatest task ahead of him, at least from this fan’s view, but I’ll talk more about him and the others a little later.
Even though there are some in the playoffs with little to nothing to worry about going into the Hollywood Casino 400 as Kansas Speedway, two in particular should be concerned. Of course you know that would be Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano. Even though they are twenty and eighteen points to the good, they cannot afford to have a bad day. There is nothing definite about their weekend unless they either win or score a lot of points over the others. Going into the race, the two Penske drivers look to have a fairly good cushion and are expected to move on but, if anything happens to put them finishing way down in the order, they could be gone.
There are six that don’t have much to be concerned about. Well… I guess it is possible that disaster could strike. It is definite that Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney will move on. Kyle Bush and Kevin Harvick are very solid also and odds are they don’t need to be concerned about moving on even though Kyle Bush has been struggling lately. If one of the drivers below the cut line wins, well… that could make things a bit more interesting depending on how the others finish.
So… the Kansas Speed way is a slick track and the Cup cars will be running pretty much wide open except when situations dictate they lift or brake. That means it is going to be hard to pass and will likely result in the use of some “chrome bumpers” if drivers decide to hold their lines. If that is the case, it could mean the flare up of tempers. Hopefully, those flareups won’t take out someone in the playoffs or someone trying to stay in them.
William Byron has shown a lot of improvement this season and this fan thinks he has, at least, hope of winning this one. If he does, (which I think is his only hope of moving into the “Round of Eight”), he will join Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson as winners to move on. I’m not saying he will win, I’m just saying he could and it would definitely shake things up if he did. Alex Bowman is in the same boat as far as I’m concerned. He has shown he can pull the proverbial “rabbit out of the hat” and I really wouldn’t put it past him to do it again. Chase Elliott won at Kansas last season and some have picked him as the one to beat in the Hollywood Casino 400. I guess I could go on and on mentioning names of possible winners but I won’t.
Here’s the problem. The Hendrick teams haven’t looked all that strong so far this weekend. Of course I am writing this before qualifying so that could change my mind. Since basically the three Hendrick teams just about need a win to advance or have some disasters strike those above them, they’re going to have to show more speed than they have so far this weekend. I’m not saying they’re up against an impossible task, I’m just saying they can’t make any mistakes and they have to have a lot of things go their way.
No matter how you look at it, there is a lot on the line for many and some look to be up against impossible odds. Their only hope, from this fan’s view, is to win. Unfortunately, only one can win and from my view, there are definitely four that need to…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 19, 2019 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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