There is an expectation this season when it comes to the winningest drivers on the circuit. It’s expected of them to be up front, to be in contention, and to win. Yet when the Playoffs began, the “Big Three” of 2018 did not have the start to the playoffs they expected. Tire failures, spins, handling troubles; it all came to fruition in one race.
Hoping in order to put the anguish of Las Vegas behind, the right kind of therapy was to take out those frustrations at a popular speedway among drivers, crews, and fans.
Richmond provided the perfect position to have a run to the playoffs continue, or even take a massive leap forward.
For one of those “Big Three,” it became a reality. It also meant it came with a broom, because earlier this season, the same driver took the first victory at Richmond. Now, he’s secured his position into the second round of the Playoffs. The “Candy Man” got rowdy when it mattered, and he made sure those who cheered, or jeered, knew he was in it to win. Kyle Busch is onto the second round of the playoffs.
That victory also officially secured a second round birth for three participants in the League. With eight spots available in the second round, now the battle to get one of the remaining positions is a tight one.
Here’s where everyone stands after a triumphant Federated Auto Parts 400:
Penny Whitecotton – 2118 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 3rd (7) 56
Trisha Rodisch* – 2104 – Kyle Busch WON (6) 34
Misan Akuya – 2104 – Aric Almirola finished 5th (4) 23
Billy Fellin* – 2103 – Kyle Busch WON (5) 36
Dustin Parks* – 2101 – Kyle Busch WON (2) 15
Rob Tiongson – 2085 – Clint Bowyer finished 10th (4) 22
Ashley Hobbs – 2084 – Denny Hamlin finished 16th (5) 26
Sal Sigala Jr. – 2084 – Joey Logano finished 14th (4) 23
Rob Blount – 2061 – Denny Hamlin finished 16th (2) 16
*Locked into Second Round
Next Race: In order to decide who will be in, and who will be out, of the Round of 12, the challenge comes in many forms. Sure, the next facility is familiar to fans, as it has always been part of the Playoffs since 2004. But, the track has not been run at all. How can a facility host the playoffs, but never ran the track?
Simple, Charlotte decided to make it’s playoff event one that will mean challenges with every corner.
Every corner? It means 17 turns, elevation changes, running on high banks, and the infield, to determine a winner and who passes through. Charlotte Motor Speedway is the finale to the Round of 16, but it is not the track that was run in May that will be the deciding factor. Instead, it is the entirely new Charlotte “Roval” that will decide who keeps the dream alive for a championship.
It is make-or-break time for the League, so have those picks secured by Thursday, September 27, at 10 p.m. ET for the Bank of America ROVAL 400.