Random Power Rankings: Stress level of playoff drivers
By @nascarcasm | Thursday, November 7, 2019
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As we head into the penultimate (the term for “second to last” used by people who want to sound really smart) race of the season, we rank our remaining playoff drivers by their stress level heading into this weekend. Some are already through to Miami. Some have to win in order to advance. Let’s take a look.
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Martin and crew chief Cole Pearn can just kick back, relax and let their playoff beards grow another two inches.
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Punched his ticket to Miami last week at Texas, where he wins all the time. If he hadn’t, he’d be heading to Phoenix, where he wins all the time. Basically, it’s Zen-like calm either way.
4 of 9
He’s 22 points to the good and won at ISM Raceway the past two races. So, he’s relatively relaxed, and as you’ll recall, he can nap pretty much anywhere – in cars, on floors, under tables. He’s basically part cat.
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Wait, why would Chase Elliott be only the fifth most stressed out? Doesn’t he HAVE to win at Phoenix in order to advance to Phoenix? Yes. That’s why he’s fifth. The No. 9 team is 78 points below the cutline and has one objective, and that is to win. That mean they don’t have to worry about the points-as-they-run of all the other playoff drivers. This means they don’t have to do any math, which means less stress.
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He’s 23 points below the cutline, but he ran strong at Phoenix in the spring, leading 94 laps, winning the first stage and overcoming pit-road miscues to finish third. So, he’ll be stressed, but Blaney is not the kind of driver who wears his emotions on his sleeve. Nor on his upper thigh or midriff area, as his Halloween costume revealed.
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Joey Logano enters the weekend 20 points to the good, in the final transfer spot. However, his teammate Brad Keselowski entered the previous elimination race at Kansas with a decent points cushion also – and was eliminated. Plus, Joey has a few enemies on track now. We all saw what happened with Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell this spring at Phoenix, so Joey will likely be debuting his pit-road safety suit (pictured).
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Kyle Larson never seems stressed. Dude is California cool. But so many people are discussing how amazeballs it would be watching Kyle Larson run for the championship at Homestead – a track that suits his rip-the-top, right-side-of-car-be-damned driving style. He might be like “YEAH, I KNOW. I GET IT. BUT I HAVE TO GET THERE FIRST. LAY OFF.” Overall, the constant chorus of “WE WANT TO SEE KATELYN LARSON SHOTGUNNING BEERS AND KYLE LARSON PROBABLY SIPPING A WHITE CLAW WITH A STRAW IN IT” might become a distraction.
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Denny Hamlin has five wins this season, but suddenly sees himself 20 points below the cutline, on the outside looking in. And this is a picture of him on the outside looking in.