Which four drivers will fail to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs?
Dustin Long: Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman
Daniel McFadin: Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman and Aric Almirola make quiet exits following the race on the Charlotte Roval.
Dan Beaver: Austin Dillon, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola: They are the low hanging fruit who also seem to have the least momentum.
What track will make more of an impact on the playoffs: Charlotte Roval, Talladega or Martinsville?
Nate Ryan: The Charlotte Roval has replaced Talladega as the largest X factor of the playoffs.
Dustin Long: Martinsville was tame in the spring but that will change in the fall. Just think about how last year’s fall race impacted the playoffs.
Daniel McFadin: Talladega, because of the “Big One” and the odds someone unexpected could win, including a non-playoff driver. That would change a lot of team’s outlooks for the cutoff race at Kansas.
Dan Beaver: Talladega. The Roval is an unknown, but if the drivers behave, it will act like most other road courses. Talladega will never be predictable as long as the restrictor-plate draft is so tight.
Which four drivers do you think will be racing for the title in Miami?
Dan Beaver: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott
What intrigues you the most about this year’s playoffs?
Nate Ryan: The overhaul of the first round.
Dustin Long: In a season where three drivers have been dominant, I’m intrigued to see who will be the driver (or drivers) who challenge them.
Daniel McFadin: That there’s more potential traps for teams, with the inclusion of the Roval in addition to Talladega, Martinsville and the addition of Richmond. Also, the penultimate race at Phoenix is on a new track configuration. Lots of new variables to take into account.
Dan Beaver: The new tracks on the schedule are a step in the right direction, but it would be nice if they were spread out across all three rounds instead of being crammed into Round 1.