While Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney might be in the most dangerous position to not make it to the next round, it doesn’t rule out other drivers around the Bplayoffs from elimination.
Going to the elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer holds the final transfer spot. Below him are William Byron, Cole Custer, DiBenedetto and Blaney.
The two drivers right above Bristol are not very safe from elimination either. 11th-placed Aric Almirola and 12th-placed Kurt Busch are just four points ahead of Bowyer and seven points ahead of Byron. A bad race at Bristol and they might not make it to the next round.
Having the experience of winning at Bristol will certainly help Busch against his competitors below him who haven’t.
“I feel like anytime you can go to a track that you’ve had past success at, it lends to just better feelings, it lends to going through the checklist items in an easier fashion,” Busch said. “Our confidence is high going into the race. We have our homework done and now we go and race. … We’ve got seven points to the plus and that’s just kind of how we’ve been all year – we’ve been right around that 10th-place position all year.”
Almirola cannot turn to his previous records at Bristol for inspiration as he has only one top-five finish in the 22 starts he made there.He will look to at least finish in a higher position that his rivals.
“It is really just about racing and scrapping and getting every point you can get in each stage and then fighting for every spot you can get in the race,” said Almirola. “Certainly once the race is happening and once you get through the first two stages, you will know kind of where you stack up points-wise.
“If I am sitting there running seventh, I am probably not going to stuff it in the fence trying to get to sixth if I know I have a decent gap in points back to where I need to. On the flip side of that, if we need that spot or a couple spots, then you are going to be super aggressive and do whatever you can to go get those points.”