Yesterday, Martin Truex Jr. won the race at Chicago, clinching a spot in the 2nd round of NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. Chase Elliott, once again, came so close to his first victory, if not for a late-race caution. It’s safe to say that Chase is going to win either later this year or next year. The kid is way too talented to not win a race.
Here are my predicted eliminations for this round only:
Chris Buescher (As admirable as it was that he won in a fog-shortened race at Pocono in August, Front Row just doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the rest of the pack. But hopefully, they will have some speed next year so they can run closer to the front)
Jamie McMurray (He’s just not been consistent enough to get the job done the past few years. He can get top 10s, and the occasional top 5, but I can’t see him winning a race this round.)
Kevin Harvick (In a way, it would be a strange form of karma, considering what he did last year to get into the next round. Not saying what he did was right or wrong, but it was shady for sure. His luck is eventually going to run out at some point.)
Tony Stewart (I think he’s going to have another on-track incident either this week or at Dover, which is going to knock him out of contention. But he may pull a 2006 run and win a race or two to get career win #50 to close out his career.
The Xfinity Series starts their inaugural playoff, and two favorites to be in the final 4 at Homestead are Erik Jones, the 20 year old phenom from Joe Gibbs Racing, and Elliott Sadler, the wily veteran on the back end of his career. Personally, I wouldn’t object to either guy winning the championship. But I have to give a shoutout to the little guys that made the playoffs too, such as Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg. For them to make it this far, given that they don’t have the money that the Cup-backed teams have, that, in and of itself is a major accomplishment.
My predicted eliminations for this round are: Brandon Jones, Blake Koch, Ryan Reed and Bubba Wallace Jr.
As much as I like Bubba, he, like his teammate Ryan Reed, have been pretty inconsistent this year, but I hope one of them proves me wrong by eking out a victory at Kentucky or Dover (where Bubba does run well).
As far as Blake Koch and Ryan Sieg, I think both or one of them will get a top 10 run, but more than likely, aren’t going to win a race this round.
Last but not least, the Chase grid was also set for the Camping World Truck Series. William Byron is one of the big favorites, having won 5 races this season at the ripe old age of 18, and will get to hone his skills next season with Hendrick Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Like Erik Jones, this guy is an absolute phenom.
I haven’t seen a lot of Truck races this season, so I’m just guessing on these two predictions.
Ben Kennedy and Christopher Bell.
I predict that William Byron is going to cap off his great rookie campaign by winning the championship in the Truck Series, Erik Jones is going to win the championship for Xfinity, and I’m gonna wait until the Cup Series gets to the round of 8 before I make any predictions.