The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continued at the Talladega Superspeedway on Monday afternoon with Ryan Blaney taking the checkered flag.
Every time drivers take on the 2.66-mile tri-oval the "Big One" will always produce an ominous thought into drivers’ heads. That thought became a reality for all four of the drivers facing elimination heading into the Kansas Speedway.
Last Sunday Alex Bowman continued his top-five streak by finishing third at Dover. However, Talladega became an entirely new world for Bowman. Despite leading nine laps on Monday, his day ended on Lap 106. (Read More) Despite having solid finishes in the Round of 12, he will enter the Kansas Speedway with an uphill battle. Still a very possible chance he makes the Round of 8, but he’ll have to make up 18 points to advance.
Entering Talladega, Chase Elliott was already behind the curve after having an engine issue take him out contention at Dover early last week. While Chase came home with an eighth-place finish at Talladega, everything wasn’t golden for Elliott. He was a victim of the same crash his teammate Alex Bowman got into on Lap 107. His team worked on the damaged machine and kept him running all day to pick up another top 10. Moving into Kansas like his fellow teammates he’s currently 22 points below the cutline.
While there have been more highs than lows for Clint Bowyer his streak of top-10 finishes couldn’t have come at a worse time. In three of the last four races Bowyer has finished in the top 10. His day came crumbling down after spinning in Turn 3 on Lap 154 and to add insult to injury his car was stuck on the banking. Following the track safety crew pushing him he went three laps down and finished 23rd. Going into his home track he’s 24 points below the cutline.
William Byron posted a solid qualifying effort by putting his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro in the third starting position. Despite leading 13 laps and winning Stage 1, his hopes and dreams went up in smoke on Lap 163. Byron was spun around by Kurt Busch and collected Joey Logano and many others with him. He retired from the race and finished 33rd. This has created a not so ideal situation heading into Kansas 27 points below the cutline.