Tuesday, September 24, 2019

ELIMINATORS—Spade Racing’s Elimination Race Breakdown

Cards take a break this week for a new, possibly-ongoing series here as we take a look at who’s where with a Playoff round finale coming up.
"He's got points...he knows
how to use them..."

The Charlotte Roval means on-track mayhem, off-track strategy, and the ever-present possibility of getting a sign stuck to your car.  With Nascar visiting its one-of-a-kind track this weekend, here’s where the sixteen Playoff drivers stand (special thanks to NBC Sports' coverage in this article):

CLINCHED: Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch.  These three can sit back and relax—heck, maybe they can run around the back like the Hendrick guys did for that one All-Star race.

GOOD BARRING DISASTER: Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott.  This foursome should be fine as long as nothing insane happens like a last-place finish or failing inspection (aka “Pulling a Kaulig Racing”).

GOOD BARRING A BAD DAY: Kyle Larson—The Elk Grove Ninja needs to have a solid day as he’s currently 25 points to the good.  So basically make sure to stay away from Rick Ware Racing cars.

ON THE BUBBLE BUT IN CONTROL: Ryan Newman and Ryan Blaney—Newman (+14) and Blaney (+8) are in what other sports would call “Control Their Own Destiny” territory—have a decent day and they should be fine.  Although one has to wonder if any of us truly control our own destiny…

ON THE BUBBLE AND NEEDING HELP: Aric Almirola, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Clint Bowyer—a mere five points separates this quartet that straddles the cutoff line.  My apologies for putting “Clint Bowyer”, “straddles” and “cut-offs” in the same passage.

NEEDS HELP: Kurt Busch—The In-Law is 14 points behind the cut-off and, barring a win, would need a bubble driver to have trouble to advance.  If not, he can get an early start on postponing announcing his plans for 2020.

NEEDS A WIN: Erik Jones—After failing inspection at Richmond That Jones Boy is in a literal “must-win” scenario—that’s the only thing that would move him on to the next round.  Then again, now that he’s locked into the 20 car for the foreseeable future, missing the next round wouldn’t be ALL that bad, when you think about it.