GIF Playoffs, Round 3: Close calls
By Steve Luvender | Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Welcome to the GIF Playoffs! Throughout the real NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, we’re awarding points to playoff contenders who have a GIF in our archive matching a different weekly category. This week, we’re looking at close calls — near-misses, big saves, Code Brown moments, whatever you want to call them.
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1 point: Take it easy there, Matt DiBenedetto. Three wide, inches from the wall, inches from the car ahead … that’s asking for trouble.
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2 points: Imagine the implications had Joey Logano not successfully jumped this puddle. Crisis averted. Disaster deflected. Emergency evaded.
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3 points: We’re, like, 99.9 percent sure Ryan Blaney didn’t hit the wall here. Judges say it counts as a save.
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4 points: Generally speaking, when rounding Turn 4, you don’t want your nose pointing at the pit road entrance unless you’re about to pit. Scared us for a moment, Alex Bowman.
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5 points: No need to worry. Everything’s fine. William Byron’s got this. He has practiced that move a thousand times on iRacing.
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6 points: Rule No. 1 when warming your tires under caution: Don’t spin the wheels so hard that you spin out. Close one, Brad Keselowski!
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7 points: Denny Hamlin, look out for the camera crew!
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8 points: If there were ever a moment to listen to Clint Bowyer’s in-car audio on the NASCAR Scanner, this would have been it.
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9 points: OK, yeah, we already awarded Clint Bowyer some points for a close call, but his tire changer’s dodge here just earned him some bonus points.
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10 points: Just for this save, Kurt Busch is the honorary "KFB."
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11 points: We’re pretty sure the Busch brothers were taught how to save cars at a young age. Kyle Busch’s save here is really like two saves.
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12 points: Martin Truex Jr.’s team had one of the closest calls we’ve ever seen here. Nice teamwork to pull a crew member back over the wall without contact with the ground — despite the quarter-moon shown on national television.
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-5 points: In the GIF Playoffs, one driver can earn negative points each week if he or she has done something against the spirit of the week’s theme. This week, that driver is Clint Bowyer, who, well, did not have a close call with this barrier. Maybe it’s because there were only two wheels instead of four. Luckily for Bowyer, however, he scored eight points earlier in the round. That was close!
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Well, that’s it. The third round of the GIF Playoffs is in the books. Here are the current standings after Round 3. It’s looking like the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates are stealing the show so far. Is this the Big 3 of the GIF Playoffs?