There is always something different about racing on a Saturday night under the lights, especially at Bristol. If you’ve been listening to the promos for this Saturday night at Bristol, they’ve been spending most of their time trying to get you to know about the beating and banging that Bristol seems to draw out. Personally, I disagree with their premise because I’ve raced at short tracks on a Saturday night, I’ve watched racing on short tracks on a Saturday night and I’ve seen it on TV. The thing I’ve noticed about short track racing under the lights on a Saturday night is it is pretty much beating and banging on any short track, everywhere.
Now that I’ve said that I don’t want you to think that Bristol is like every other short track on a Saturday night because it isn’t. Bristol is a “beast” all its own and it won’t be the usual short track under the lights race. This one is an elimination race for the first round of the 2020 playoffs. That means there will likely be higher emotions and intensity for most, if not all, of the race.
As many expected, last weekend at Richmond proved to be good for some and really bad for others. Brad Keselowski pretty much had the field covered for most of the race. From this fan’s view, I didn’t really see anyone that could run with him or anyone that could catch or keep him behind them. His was a truly dominating performance and may give us a little view of the possibility for the final four. For right now though, the final four is a long way off and there are several that just want to make it to the round of twelve. A close look tells this fan that there are at least six or seven contenders but there only a few ways for them to move into the next round and eliminate those already on the inside.
There are three above the cutline and four below. Of the three above the line, there are only seven points keeping them above the four below. Yeah, I know what you’re gonna say, “aren’t you missing something, Rusty?” Well maybe but, the ones with the biggest task ahead of them are Ryan Blaney and Matt Dibenedetto. Barring the fact one of these two wins or something really unexpected happens to one or two someones above them or the cut line, well, I think they are pretty much out of it.
When it comes to William Byron and Cole Custer, from this fan’s view they are still in it. Byron is just three points below the cut and Custer is only eight. Either one or both of them just need to gain that many more points than the three above the cut and they will both make it to the next round. That is by no means a given but, it is very possible they could be in and two above could be out of the playoffs.
Some seem to think Joey Logano is going to make a big turn around and end up in the final four and possibly even win the 2020 Championship. In my opinion, I am not so sure that he will make it that far. Yeah, I know he’s surprised us in previous times and is more than capable of doing exactly that but, I’m just not sure this is his year to pull that kind of feat off. If he does – and that is a mighty big IF in this fan’s view – I’m more than willing to apologize after he does. The problem is, I just don’t think he will and I can think of no one I would rather not see be the 2020 NASCAR Cup Champ than him. It’s nothing personal. I would just rather see several others do it other than him.
At this point, I’m not even sure Denny Hamlin will make the final cut. the only think keeping him in contention for the moment is because he acquired a lot of points during the regular season. That’s not to say he isn’t capable or that he won’t take it all the way. I just know he has been his own worst enemy when it comes to the playoffs and the final four. I am concerned this might be a repeat of previous years even though he has shown a lot of confidence and ability this season. I reckon this is one of those situations that, “time will tell.”
There are a couple of Hendrick teams that could make it all the way to the final four though I doubt all three HMS teams will make it. A lot would have to happen for that to take place and I just don’t think their performance this season has been good enough to put all of them in the final four. Personally, I think a lot would have to go wrong for the other teams during the playoffs for that to happen.
There’s a lot of talk that Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick will make up part of the final four. From this fan’s view, I don’t have a problem with Kevin Harvick being there but, I’m not so sure about Truex Jr. They have been running good but they have also struggled at times and that makes me think maybe they will or maybe they won’t. It is up to them and that thing called “Racing Luck… ”
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 19, 2020 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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