We’ve made our way to the Round of 8, some more surprises at the conclusion of the previous round. Kyle Larson, chief among them, is no longer eligible for the 2022 Championship. Joining him on the “sidelines” are Daytona 500 winner Alex Bowman (who hasn’t raced in weeks because of concussion protocol), Daniel Suarez, and Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric. Today, we open up a new set of three races in Las Vegas.
Here’s what to look for:
–Tyler Reddick has the Pole, and has been in the news a lot this week. With Kurt Busch announcing that he will not drive full-time in 2023, 23XI racing has purchased Reddick’s contract from Richard Childress Racing; that means that he’ll begin piloting the #45 in 2023 instead of 2024. He’s not eligible for the Championship anymore this season, but he may have some of the best momentum heading into next year, and will be a favorite to win it all.
–Denny Hamlin is the most recent winner at this track, taking the checkers for this race in 2021. Alex Bowman won the Spring race, but he’s not in the car this weekend. Back to Hamlin, in the last ten races here he’s averaging 13.7 with five Top 10s, and scored more points in Vegas than anyone last year. He’s one of the favorites to win today, and is still eligible for the trophy. A Win today would lock him into the Championship Race.
–Brad Keselowski, troubles be darned, was actually the second best driver here last year with a 2nd in the Spring and a 7th in the Fall. This year he opened up with a 24th, but the team has progressed a bit since then. It took a while to get things going (after Speedweeks, oddly enough), but Buescher managed a victory; with a Win and eight Top 10s in his last ten here, could we see Brad capture the flag today?
-Let’s keep the party rolling, Martin Truex Jr. has managed nine Top 10s in the last ten races, and he’s got a pair of Wins to go with those. He’s had a much quieter season than he’s used to (zero Wins, missed the Playoffs), but he’s more than capable.
–Joey Logano is the last driver we’ll cover today; he’s scored the second-most points in the last ten races here, also has two Wins, and all of those finishes have been 14th or better. He was a certified shot to Win each and every race for a stretch here, but only has a best of 9th in the last four runs.
Eight drivers left to get in, three races to make it so. A lot of Western NY eyes will be on the Bills, however, a 4:25 tilt in Kansas City. So much to watch today in this house; Go Bills!
Coverage of the race starts on NBC at 2:30pm, green flag scheduled for 2:52pm.