The Round of 8 is upon us, four drivers shed from NASCAR’s 2020 championship hopes. Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, and defending champion Kyle Busch will now only be racing for fun…and individual trophies and stacks of money. Those still in think “eight is enough,” and in this sense, they’re right. So grab a blanket, fire up some bierocks, and get ready for Kansas!
Here’s what to look for:
–Denny Hamlin has the last two Wins here, taking the checkers in the Summer and at this event last year. He’s the favorite today, too, unsurprisingly, but he wasn’t always. For starters, his average finish over the last ten races is 11.9. That ranks him 10th, which means that — on average — there are nine drivers better than him. They say you’re only as good as your last race though, and Hamlin has much to be happy about there.
–Kevin Harvick has our best average of that same pool of drivers, a 6.0. He finished 4th in the Summer, and 9th last year. He’s been locked in each of the previous rounds, but he’ll have to work for this one. Nothing is guaranteed in the Round of 8!
–Martin Truex Jr. is another driver who’s had back-to-back Wins at Kansas, but for that we travel to 2017. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it has been five races since his last victory there. Since then, he’s had four Top 6s. He’s got some work to do though; after failing inspection multiple times, he’ll start at the rear of the field.
–Brad Keselowski finished 2nd in the Summer, narrowly defending his 2019 Win. He, too, is still one of those alive in the Playoffs and could bring it today. This is his type of track, don’t be surprised to see the #2 up front in the closing laps.
-I highlighted him in the Summer, he ran 33rd, I said “well, that didn’t work,” … and I’m going to highlight him again. Chris Buescher did NOT have the runs he is capable of having at this place. Again, he finished 10th and 13th last season, which are GREAT finishes for his team. He’s had two Top 10s in the last four races of 2020, and his worst run since Kansas was a 26th at Darlington.
Coverage of the race starts on NBC at 2:30pm, green flag scheduled for 2:45pm.