In Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Steve Letarte said: “When you get to the Round of 12, it’s not about the points; it’s who you’ve got to beat.”
Brad Keselowski trails Martin Truex Jr. by 18 points. Letarte recalled a conversation with Paul Wolfe in which he questioned if it was realistic to beat Truex by that margin at Kansas. The answer was “no”.
The other three drivers below the cutline to advance to the Round of 8 are in an even more serious predicament.
Ryan Blaney is 22 points below the cutoff line. With his Talladega penalty, Kyle Larson is 36 points in arrears and Alex Bowman is 68 points behind. The most points available in a race is 60.
Keselowski’s surge at the end of the regular season that carried over to a playoff win at Las Vegas serves as an example of how these drivers can find a path to advancement. So does the fact that since the elimination-style playoffs were implemented, several drivers have earned dramatic wins in the final races of a round.
“Look at the playoffs,” Letarte continued. “I’m pretty scared to … say anything because Vegas was crazy, the Roval was crazy. Talladega was actually supposed to be crazy and it was calm.”
For more on whether the driver below the bubble can advance, watch the video above.