After one race in the Round of 12, it is Joey Logano leading the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and hoping to pull away. This has been an up-and-down, back-and-forth postseason.
Chase Elliott led coming into the playoffs, then it was Christopher Bell making noise early. Now, it’s a different group of drivers at the top. Joey Logano leads +30 above the cut line. Since no playoff drivers have won a race this postseason, it has taken consistent and confident driving.
Joey Logano Leads Playoffs Heading into Talladega
Drivers that suffered DNFs in the playoffs so far have had their seasons ended or come close to ending. Even for a winless driver like Ryan Blaney, finishing the race means everything. Bell and Alex Bowman were on the wrong end of things at Texas Motor Speedway and are now -29 and -30 points below the cut line, respectively.
Getting to the Round of 8 won’t be easy, but Joey Logano has a good chance of making it if he can stay on track moving forward. His P2 finish on Sunday did a lot to help propel him to the top of the standings. Having a mechanical failure or being involved in a big wreck in the next two weeks will not help these drivers in the slightest. And that’s what they will look to avoid more than anything.
Tyler Reddick was the fourth spoiler in four playoff races – will that continue as we head to Talladega? There hasn’t been a single automatic qualifier. Anyone can win at the famed Superspeedway, but who is going to end up taking the checkered flag?
Playoff Drivers Struggled at Texas
Let’s put it simply, Texas Motor Speedway ate up the drivers on Sunday. Only a few were able to outlast the wear and tear and randomness that were the wheel and tire issues. Joey Logano was lucky enough. However, drivers like Bell, Elliott, and Alex Bowman all found themselves with flats, hitting the wall, and having a hard time getting back out there, if at all.
For Elliott, he had a good enough cushion that he held onto the 8th spot in the standings. If he were to find himself out early at Talladega though, the regular season champion might find himself in a hole he can’t get out of without a win.
These standings are bound to change drastically once Talladega is over. This has been an unpredictable season and we are heading to one of the most unpredictable tracks in all of stock car racing. This is the playoffs! The best time of the year.