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Is ANYONE In Must-Win Territory Heading Into Talladega?

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Joshua Lipowski

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Texas Motor Speedway was not particularly kind to many Playoff contenders, and some are in fairly deep holes heading into Talladega this weekend. However, are any of these drivers in a position to hit the panic button and call for a “Must-Win” at Talladega this weekend? Let’s take a look at some of these drivers in precarious Playoff positions.

Bubba Wallace (-2)

Must Win?: Not Quite, but it Would Be a BIG Help

Bubba Wallace impressed with a third-place run at Texas, leading the most laps. However, his lack of Playoff bonus points hurt him as he still sits two points below the cut line. Now, we head to Talladega, where Wallace was in contention to win up until the last lap in the spring.

Given his less-than-stellar road course record, Wallace cannot bank on getting a bunch of points at the Charlotte Roval, but, it is hard to call Talladega an absolute must-win. It is a chance for him to get some stage points and content for a win. He could find a way to get a decent gap heading into the Roval, but a win at Talladega is the most desirable outcome.

Tyler Reddick (-3)

Must Win?: No

Tyler Reddick did not have a great day on Sunday despite winning stage one, but it is too early to call this race a must-win for him. Now, his Talladega record is not great, but he is a stellar road course racer. As a result, the Charlotte Roval is the race to look forward to for Reddick.

If he treads water at Talladega, he should be in a solid position heading into the Charlotte Roval. Now, what he does not want to do is make the Charlotte Roval race a must-win because that is a difficult-to-control situation. However, he can set himself up nicely for the Roval with a good run at Talladega.

Ryan Blaney (-11)

Must Win?: No

Team Penske is down right now, but Ryan Blaney has some good tracks coming up for him. He finished second at Talladega in the spring, and he has a solid record at the Roval. He has led laps in three of the five races there, has one win, four top-10s, and has scored stage points in nine of 10 stages.

Now, his point deficit is a problem, but he has a good enough record on both tracks to where he could easily score some much-needed points. He does not have to approach this weekend as a must-win, but a win obviously helps.

Kyle Busch (-17)

Must-Win?: Maybe Not, But This Weekend is His Best Shot

Kyle Busch has had a very difficult Playoffs to this point, and he really has struggled for a large part of the second half of the season. He is 17 points out with three drivers above him in the Playoffs. Talladega is coming up this weekend, and Busch won there back in the spring.

The Charlotte Roval is a track that Busch has run well the last couple of years, but he struggled mightily the first three years there. He also ran well at the first three road courses of the year, but he has struggled the last two. The Roval seems like a crapshoot, so Talladega seems like Busch’s best shot at making the Round of 8.

The Talladega race is bound to be one of the craziest races of the season. Will any of these drivers find a way to win this weekend?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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