Chase Elliott came back with a vengeance and won back-to-back races on the Roval. Elliott went back in the filed after an issue and at one point, the PRN broadcast team mentioned that he was making ground up but still a longshot to come back and win. I guess no one told Chase Elliott that.
Let’s face it, while I don’t think he would call himself a road course specialist, the kid is super good turning left and right. And it doesn’t seem to matter where the road course or roval is, he has been dominant on them. Rain or shine doesn’t seem to matter either.
Unlike the Xfinity race, the Cup race just had a slightly wet track to contend with. It wasn’t too long before cars were swapping out rain tires for slicks. I don’t mind watching cars race in the rain or on wet tracks, but stock cars aren’t really set up for that even with rain tires. They are about as ungainly as a race car comes.
As much of a statement as Chase’s win was, the same could be said about Kyle Busch on the other end of the spectrum. Busch finished a very disappointing 30th and fulfilled his promise that they would be eliminated in this round. He may not win this year.
Of all the drivers that have surprised me in this playoff is the elder Busch brother. Kurt Busch managed a 4th place finish and as we look towards Kansas, Kurt has five Top 10 finishes in his last seven races there. If he can run like that, he stands a chance on advancing quite a ways. Kurt also has an enviable record at Texas but he may need some help by the time they get to Martinsville.
Kansas has been very kind to Denny Hamlin, winner of the past two races and tied with Martin Truex, Jr. with two wins. But MTJ hasn’t won there since 2017. Other recent winners include Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.
My picks for the drivers exiting this round was pretty close. My list a few weeks ago was:
- Kurt Busch
- Clint Bowyer
- Aric Almirola
- Alex Bowman
So Bowman advances, Austin Dillon falls and Kyle Busch had an epic fail.
For the next round that includes Kansas, Texas and Martinsville, the choices get a lot tougher. A simple mistake could be the difference between advancing or not. Texas may be the race that makes or breaks some of these guys.
My picks for failing to advance to the finals are:
- Alex Bowman – Texas and Martinsville could spell trouble for him.
- Martin Truex, Jr. – Only two top 10 finishes last 5 Texas races.
- Brad Keselowski – Only one top 10 in last 5 Texas races.
- Joey Logano – Another poor Kansas showing could be his downfall.
Dark horse to fall:
- Kurt Busch – he would really need to stay super competitive and have everyone else above him have serious issues. He would have to out point other MTJ, Keselowski and Logano drivers to advance.
Shocker but really not:
- Denny Hamlin – Only has one Top 10 at Texas but won here in 2019. He needs to win at Kansas or Martinsville may be a must win for him, and he hasn’t won there since 2015.
I basically see Kevin Harvick as the only driver not vulnerable to points. He has a good shot winning anywhere and has been the most consistent driver this year. Everyone else feels like a bad race could stop them. Obviously, it’s win and you advance but aside from Harvick, few drivers seem like a sure bet these next three races.
Who do you have?
(Featured image courtesy of Team Chevy PR)