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Which Playoff Drivers are In DANGER of Elimination in the Round of 8?

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Joshua Lipowski

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The Round of 8 is now upon us, and we are only four races away from NASCAR determining who will race for a Championship at Phoenix Raceway. The Round of 8 may be the most difficult round to Heading into the Elite Eight, which four drivers are in the greatest danger of being eliminated in the Round of 8?

Ryan Blaney (-10)

Ryan Blaney took advantage of his golden opportunity to make it into the Round of 8 by winning at Talladega, but, aside from that, he has been less than stellar throughout the Playoffs. He only has one other top-10 finish in the Playoffs at Darlington, and he has two finishes outside of the top-20. Penske as a whole has been down throughout the second half of the season.

Getting into the Round of 8 could be seen as a big win for Team Penske given their performance this season, but a Championship 4 appearance may be out of the question. Given how tough the competition gets later in the Playoffs, it’s tough to see Blaney finding a way into the Championship 4, but, he has a chance just like anyone else.

Tyler Reddick (-8)

This is not so much about Reddick’s performance as much as it is about those who are in front of him. Reddick won at Kansas earlier this year, and there are two intermediates in the Round of 8. The problem is that he has Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, and William Byron in front of him. All of these have consistently run well throughout the Playoffs, particularly on intermediates.

Reddick won at Kansas earlier in the Playoffs, however, and that means he has a legitimate chance. It all comes down to how those in front of him perform. Solid 7th-10th place runs may not be good enough to make the Championship 4. He is by no means down and out, but he could find himself in a tough spot.

Christopher Bell (-8)

Christopher Bell proved last year that he can come away with a clutch performance in the Round of 8 after his win at Martinsville. Again, putting him on this list is not so much about his performance, but it’s about those in front of him. He has the three-headed monster of Hamlin, Larson, and Byron in front of him.

On top of that, Bell has at times been limited by his pit crew so far this post-season. He has been able to overcome some of that throughout the Playoffs to get decent finishes, but can this team put together three races in a row? That is the question with Bell.

Martin Truex Jr. (+15)

Thanks to his gargantuan points cushion, Martin Truex Jr. has found a way into the Round of 8. However, he has yet to finish in the top 15 since Watkins Glen back in August. If he continues to run like this, he will not make the Championship 4, plain and simple. The competition he is up against is much too fierce for only a 15-point cushion.

Truex Jr. is going to have to find some magic in the Round of 8. Quite frankly, it is tough to see that magic happening. However, he has something that no other driver on this list has, and that is a points cushion.

The Round of 8 is one of the toughest rounds to project, and that makes this list all the more cloudy. Just because these drivers are in danger does not mean they are out, and they can go multiple different ways.

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Joshua Lipowski

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