With only one race remaining to claim a spot in the Championship 4 race, Team Penske drivers are finding it hard to get a place on the final race of the season.
With Kyle Larson’s second win of the Round of 8 playoffs at Kansas Speedway, all the three spots are still available to grab for the other seven drivers. The last opportunity to do so will come at Martinsville.
After the results of Sunday’s race, the team that will look to improve the most is Team Penske. All the drivers are below the cutline going into the final race of the Round of 8.
Ryan Blaney is one point below Kyle Busch who occupies the final spot. Brad Keselowski is six points behind and Joey Logano is even below with 26 points deficit.
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While all the three drivers still have a possibility to qualify but with Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin with a healthy cushion over the cutline, the possibility seems less for Keselowski.
“It’s like four of us are fighting for one spot,” Keselowski said of the four drivers sitting below the cutoff line. Larson is locked in and Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin both have a more than 30-point cushion above the others.
“We are all just fighting hard. I am bummed I didn’t get more out of it,” said Keselowski, who finished 17th Sunday. “I had a heck of an opportunity to score a lot of points and make next week easy. We still aren’t in a bad spot but not as good as spot as we could be.
“Winning would obviously lock our way in but as you saw this week, as crazy as these races get, I am not sure that isn’t what you have to do.”
Blaney will be looking back at the race with most regrets. Having entered the race on second place in the standings and 17 points above cutline, Blaney will have all to do in the final race.
“We didn’t have a great day but we did a good job of fighting back and getting back into the top-10 but then just got wiped out when we had plenty of room,” he said. “That sucks. It is very unfortunate.”
Logano was the driver to come out in a respectable ninth-place finish compared to his teammates but a poor race at Texas meant that he will have the most to do in the upcoming race.
“On to Martinsville. One more shot to do it,” Logano said. “It is crazy watching this thing. They are trying to give it away it seems like. I have never seen so many issues in this round.
“Yeah, it seems like survival was the key in this round so far.”