NASCAR America: Chase Elliott, Erik Jones highlight playoff underdogs

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Whether it’s the Big 3 of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. or the Dynamic Duo of Busch and Harvick who are expected to dominate the playoffs, the remainder of the field has been relegated to the status of underdog before this week’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Throughout the season, the quest has been underway to determine who will be the driver most likely to join the Big 3 at Homestead with a shot at winning the Cup.

Brad Keselowski has “won two races; he’s still not my guy,” Kyle Petty said on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America. “Even Brad said it a Darlington. Darlington and Bristol are anomalies. You can win there and not have the fastest car. … You just have to make things work. When we went to Indy, he didn’t have the fastest car. He just won on strategy. He’s not going to … use ‘strategery’ for the last 10 races of the year.”

With Keselowski out of the final four picture for Petty, attention turns to Chase Elliott.

“Chase Elliott’s my guy. … Here’s the way I look at it,” Petty said. “There’s the Big 3 – and Martin is just teetering right now – and then there’s another seven, eight cars that are all the same to me. Nobody jumps out. … But if I take that middle group, Chase Elliott’s my guy.”

“I look at Chase Elliott and I see a guy who – the last two years, Alan Gustafson has figured out … as soon as we hit the track at Vegas, we’re going to be on another gear,” Nate Ryan said.

Elliott has run so well, however, that Ryan does not consider him an underdog. He’s a favorite to make the final four.

Instead, Ryan is going with a driver in his first Cup contention.

“If I’m looking for an underdog, I think Erik Jones,” Ryan said.

For more, watch the video above.

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