For NASCAR, their hope in bringing about the idea of a “Game 7″ scenario was the reasoning behind the way the playoffs worked. They were hoping to put together a situation where teams had to go all out to make it into the next round, just for a chance to move into championship contention.
What NASCAR in essence has done is do that concept, but rather than it just be a “Game 7″ idea, it’s now a “Game 7″ situation but with different ideas. The Round of 16 is like the last week of MLB where teams are battling it out for that last Wild Card spot, and this year it came down to a tie-breaker just to decide who moves on. Once it’s the Round of 12, it’s the wild card round because anyone can move on, despite knowing who is capable.
In the Round of 8, it’s the Divisional Playoffs, deciding who really is going to the big dance.
Now, NASCAR is at the point in the Playoffs where one team has it’s spot secure, it’s already one-game up on the competition. Initially, one other evened the series, but it was taken away, and now it’s a possible two-run game, with six runners capable of scoring. Everyone knows that one driver will likely get in without having to take the checkered flag. The thing is, which of those remaining six will have enough to make it into their World Series?
Add in the fact that NASCAR is at a track that looks familiar in one aspect, but is now driven in a completely different aspect. It’s the ISM Speedway in Phoenix, but now, that dog leg is at a more critical position. The finish line is moved to where turn 2 used to end, meaning the dog leg becomes part of the frontstretch.
It’s a new configuration at a traditional venue. The pressure is on as the Championship 4 will get decided when the checkered waves.
That means the participants are ready to decide on who they think will take the victory in the Can-Am 500:
Note: Those in ALL CAPS are still in contention for the title.
MISAN AKUYA: Kevin Harvick
What a crazy few days for Kevin Harvick and his team. From winning to loosing 40 points and his crew chief. Good thing that we are going to Phoenix. With nine wins there across different configurations, it’s Harvick’s personal stomping ground. He’ll need a strong performance to hang on to that fourth and final spot in the final four.
Rob Blount: NO PICK
Deadline passed with no pick submitted.
BILLY FELLIN: Kevin Harvick
Been saving him for this race, suspensions and new config be damned. He dominates Phoenix.
ASHLEY HOBBS: Kurt Busch
Sleeper for the win, this making the “big three” really fight hard in the desert
Dustin Parks: Jimmie Johnson
I mean at this point, he’s got two shots to get Lowe’s one last win, and he’s running the first Power Of Pride design that he actually had on the No. 48 for certain events in 2001 prior to his first official rookie season. My weekend consisted of an old-school feel, why not take an old-school scheme to victory?
TRISHA RODISCH: Denny Hamlin
No reason given.
SAL SIGALA JR: Kurt Busch
No reason given.
Rob Tiongson: Kevin Harvick
Sure, he had his win at Texas pretty much tossed to the trash, but Kevin Harvick is always dangerous at Phoenix. Look for his ninth win of 2018 to happen on Sunday at this wonderful venue.
PENNY WHITECOTTON: Jimmie Johnson
No reason given.
Playoff Standings following Texas:
Penny Whitecotton – 4135 – Aric Almirola finished 8th (7) 57
Trisha Rodisch* – 4126 – Brad Keselowski finished 12th (7) 41
Misan Akuya – 4115 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 9th (4) 24
Sal Sigala Jr. – 4104 – Ryan Blaney finished 2nd (4) 24
Billy Fellin – 4102 – Ryan Blaney finished 2nd (5) 37
Ashley Hobbs – 4094 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 9th (5) 26
Dustin Parks – 2229 – Jimmie Johnson finished 15th (2)
Rob Tiongson – 2197 – Ryan Blaney finished 2nd (4)
Rob Blount – 2209 – NO PICK SENT (2)
*Locked into Championship 4 at Homestead
Summary of Picks: