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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

How Bubba Wallace can safe a spot

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Bubba Wallace, who has by no means earlier than made the NASCAR Cup Sequence playoffs, sits 32 factors forward of his nearest competitors within the last post-season spot at the moment.

The stress is excessive for the 23XI Racing driver, who admitted that Daytona might be “nerve-racking as hell.”

A robust run on Saturday would solidify his factors cushion, however none of that issues if one of many 16 full-time drivers under him within the standings manages to win the race.

Austin Dillon did simply that final yr. Within the 2020 common season finale, William Byron secured his place within the post-season together with his first profession win at Daytona as effectively.

Now, if there have been to be a repeat winner, then Wallace solely want fear about scoring sufficient factors to maintain Ty Gibbs (-32) and Daniel Suarez (-43) at bay.

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Even with zero stage factors, if Wallace finishes thirteenth or larger, he might be secure so long as there are not any new winners.

Wallace has confirmed to be a succesful superspeedway racer himself, twice ending second within the Daytona 500 and incomes his maiden Cup win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2021.

Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, DoorDash Toyota Camry

Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

As talked about, Gibbs and Suarez are the one drivers who may presumably level their method into the playoffs.

They would wish to realize lots of floor on Wallace, and hope nobody under them in factors wins the race.

That begins with the levels. Count on each of those drivers to aggressively pursue stage factors, with 20 most factors out there ought to a driver win each Stage 1 and Stage 2.

However finally, it’ll take lots for them to bridge that hole on factors alone. Their finest guess is identical as everybody else outdoors the playoffs: Simply go for the win. 

Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Trackhouse Motorplex Chevrolet Camaro

Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Trackhouse Motorplex Chevrolet Camaro

Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Win the race in any respect prices is all that may assist the remaining 14 runners. Factors do not matter. Two stage wins and a runner-up end positive aspects them nothing. They completely need to win.

Amongst this group is 2020 NASCAR Cup Sequence champion Chase Elliott, who has by no means missed the playoffs since changing into a full-time Cup driver in 2016.

Elliott has proven pace almost each week, however is deep within the factors after lacking six races because of a leg harm and a seventh after being suspended for deliberately wrecking Denny Hamlin on the Coke 600.

He has by no means gained a factors race at Daytona, however his 157 laps led on the 2.5-mile superspeedway is greater than some other driver going through a must-win scenario.

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Auto Components Chevrolet Camaro

Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

this specific group of drivers, there are 5 former Daytona Cup winners amongst them: Austin Dillon (2018 D500, 2022); Austin Cindric (2021 D500); Justin Haley (2019); Erik Jones (2018); Aric Almirola (2014).

Different drivers going through a must-win scenario are Alex Bowman, A.J. Allmendinger, Ryan Preece, Todd Gilliland, Corey LaJoie, Harrison Burton, Chase Briscoe, Ty Dillon.

Stewart-Haas Racing has three of its 4 drivers on this uncomfortable place whereas Hendrick Motorsports, Spire Motorsports, and Kaulig Racing every have two. 

Count on to see lots of fascinating dynamics all through this race between producer loyalties and drivers already locked in spending the evening making an attempt to assist their team-mates.

Different battles to observe

The factors battle would not simply centre across the sixteenth and last spot within the playoffs both. Martin Truex Jr. leads Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Hamlin by 39 factors within the combat for the common season title.

Fifteen playoff bonus factors are awarded to the championship chief on the finish of this race.

Some bonus factors are additionally on supply for individuals who finish the common season inside the highest 10. This contains an extremely shut battle between sixth and twelfth. Simply 14 factors separate this group of drivers.

Including a little bit of a wrinkle to all that is the truth that the homeowners’ standings do not precisely mirror the drivers’ standings.

Hamlin was docked 25 factors earlier this yr after deliberately wrecking Ross Chastain at Phoenix, however his automotive was not penalised. That signifies that the #11 JGR Toyota is simply 14 factors behind Truex’s #19 JGR Toyota in that common season title combat.

Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry

Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Auto-House owners Insurance coverage Toyota Camry

Photograph by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

And the battle for sixteenth is completely different as effectively. The #9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, due to the efforts of Josh Berry, Jordan Taylor, and LaJoie whereas Elliott was sidelined, really holds the sixteenth and last playoff spot.

Wallace’s #23 23XI Racing Toyota is at the moment under the cut-line and 30 factors behind the #9, which may complicate Wallace’s technique as seems to be to guard his place within the driver’s factors whereas additionally securing a spot within the proprietor’s playoffs.

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