Not a lot has modified by means of NASCAR’s first two rounds of playoffs: Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are nonetheless favored to race for the championship and the opposite two contenders are a crapshoot.
The path to the championship finale begins Sunday at Kansas Speedway, the primary of three races within the title-setting third spherical. It’s a reasonably easy collection with ensuing stops at Texas Motor Speedway, like Kansas a 1.5-mile intermediate oval, then half-mile Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR’s shortest and oldest energetic observe.
At stake are 4 slots within the winner-take-all Nov. eight finale at Phoenix Raceway and no apparent indicators on who will probably be difficult Harvick and Hamlin. The two have mixed for 16 wins in 32 races this season and have hoarded sufficient factors that it might probably take some kind of sudden collapse to maintain the favorites from advancing to the finale.
Harvick, the factors chief, had a mediocre second spherical however doesn’t appear too involved about these subsequent three races.
I believe these racetracks are proper up our alley, particularly the primary two, Harvick mentioned.
Hamlin has received NASCAR’s final two visits to Kansas, a turnaround after a number of so-so races. He’s the betting favourite to win Sunday and believes his Joe Gibbs Racing group has a powerful database for successful three consecutive races.
It will surely give Hamlin a head-start on championship preparations.
We may go the subsequent two weeks and actually shift our focus from Texas and Martinsville to placing all of our assets in direction of Phoenix, Hamlin mentioned. “That will surely be a profit for whoever locks in proper off the bat.
The different six playoff drivers can earn an computerized berth within the finale by successful however in any other case have a tense stretch of three races forward.
With 4 wins this season, together with one within the first spherical of the playoffs, Keselowski has been the one driver near competing with Harvick and Hamlin. He received the 2012 title underneath a special format and has by no means raced for the championship because the elimination rounds debuted in 2014.
I believe there are three or 4 drivers competing for the ultimate two spots, he mentioned. “Were all very comparable. Its in all probability going to return all the way down to the wire at Martinsville.
This is the fourth consecutive yr Elliott has superior into the semifinals and he’s once more making an attempt to advance to the finale. Earlier visits this season to Kansas and Texas had been disappointing and Elliott is aware of he’s bought to be regular to make it to Phoenix.
Were not going to attempt to reinvent the wheel. We dont need to get too far off the overwhelmed path, Elliott mentioned. I really feel like for us, when weve been at our greatest and as a group, myself included, performing on the degree that had been all able to doing, I really feel like weve contended with the very best of the collection this yr.
Logano has struggled on intermediate tracks since his February victory at Las Vegas and acknowledges that not working towards throughout COVID-19 protocols has hampered his capacity to adapt to the high-downforce aerodynamic bundle.
He’s in his first season with crew chief Paul Wolfe and now, with a month to go, the duo believes they’ve discovered a rhythm.
It simply took a bit bit for Paul and I to grasp what makes the automotive tick, Logano mentioned. “What makes it tick with me? Without apply, thats actually onerous to do.
MARTIN TRUEX Jr.
Truex is looking for a fourth consecutive berth within the finale. He received the title in 2017 however has been runner-up the final two seasons.
Top-three finishes may get him into the ultimate 4, however he believes he’s near reeling off some victories. His solely win of the season was at Martinsville in June.
We must make one thing massive occur, and I believe that we’re able to make it occur,” he mentioned.
Bowman is within the semifinals for the primary time in his profession and sure qualifies as a darkhorse to make it by means of to the finale.
But Bowman likes his possibilities, notably at Kansas, the place he’s logged 4 top-10 finishes in 10 profession begins.
I really feel like we will go be phenomenal there, Bowman mentioned. Kansas and Texas are two alternatives for us to win. Its in all probability going to take a win to make the spherical of 4.
Busch is a wild-card in that he in all probability wouldn’t have been picked to advance this far in lots of brackets however has actually turned his efficiency up the final six weeks.
A second-round victory at dwelling observe Las Vegas gave Busch a lift and he’s looking for to win his second Cup title 16 years after his first championship.
After his win at Las Vegas, additionally an intermediate oval, he was looking forward to the third spherical.
If you fast-forward to Kansas and Texas, its a mile-and-a-half, so every little thing is simply pointing in our path proper now, he mentioned. We thought we had been a prime eight group if issues went completely.