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These are the Drivers in Danger of Being Eliminated in the Round of 12

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Joshua Lipowski

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The Round of 12 begins this weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, but that means four more drivers will find themselves eliminated after three more races. The Round of 12 may be the hardest one to predict with wild card races at Talladega and the Charlotte Roval upcoming, but that will not stop us from predicting how the round will play out. Which drivers are in danger of being eliminated from the Round of 12?

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Bubba Wallace

Bubba Wallace was not perfect in the first Round by any stretch, but he was good enough to make it into the Round of 12. Honestly, that is a major accomplishment for Wallace as he continues to have a statement season at 23XI Racing. However, will it be good enough to get him into the Round of 8?

Wallace has not had a top-5 finish since the Coca-Cola 600, and he is not the best road course racer. Coming into the round behind by 14 points with the handicap of the Roval, he either needs to run incredible at Texas and Talladega or win one of those two races. It’s not out of the question with his superspeedway racing prowess, but it’s not as easy to do as it is simple to theorize.

Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney found a way to sneak into the Round of 12, but he did not make a lot of noise doing so. That was not because he stayed out of trouble as much as he was just not a major factor throughout the round. Keep in mind that Blaney has not finished better than ninth in the last 14 races.

Penske in general is just a little bit off this season, and it’s only going to get tougher for Blaney to overcome that. It is disappointing after he led the points following Gateway in June, but it’s just hard to see a way out for Blaney unless drivers ahead of him completely fall out of it. Talladega and the Roval are in this round, however, so, that is a real possibility.

Ross Chastain

Since his win at Nashville back in late June, Ross Chastain has not been nearly the same driver as he was during the early part of the season. He has only two top-10 finishes, two top-10 qualifying efforts, and five finishes outside of the top-20 in 12 races. That is simply not good enough.

With a points deficit already heading into the Round of 12, Chastain does not have the same room for error he had heading into the Round of 16. Yes, he could have won Talladega in the spring, but he could just as easily end up in a 14-car pileup in two weeks. It’s just hard to see Chastain turning on the jets at this point in the season when he has struggled to run in the top 20 at times.

Kyle Busch

Something has just felt off with Kyle Busch really since he won his last race at Gateway. Something seems to go wrong every single week whether it is an issue on Saturday that drops him to the rear for the race, an issue on Sunday that costs them stage points, or just being flat-out slow on Sunday and finishing mid-pack. At some point, all of these little issues are going to come back to bite him.

He only has an eight-point cushion to work with heading into the Round of 12, and any of these minor issues can spell the difference between advancing and not advancing. There is no room for error for Busch, and if his team cannot put a full weekend together, he will have an early exit from the Playoffs.

Honorable Mentions: Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell

The Round of 12 can go a million different ways with the wild card races of the Roval and Talladega in there. What awaits the stars of NASCAR as the Round of 12 gets underway?

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Joshua Lipowski

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