The NASCAR Playoffs field is set. The drivers have been seeded. But what do these seeds mean?
If you ask the Twitter account of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (@UMBCAthletics), it’s a number that means nothing. It’s number that should be tossed atop Klout scores in the dustbin of meaningless statistics.
You see, during the NCAA basketball tournament earlier this year, UMBC managed to pull off something that had never been done in the men’s tournament’s history. They defeated top-seeded Virginia in the first round of the tournament, and soundly. You probably remember because it was the moment you logged on to Twitter and saw that “WELP THERE GOES MY BRACKET” was the No. 1 trending topic. Never in the history of the men’s tournament had a 16-seed defeated a 1-seed.
In the NASCAR playoffs, Alex Bowman is the 16 seed (He and Jimmie Johnson both have 2,000 points, but Johnson holds the tiebreaker). Is he an underdog? Perhaps not. He made the playoffs in his first year in the No. 88 car. He’s won the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500. And after UMBC’s amazing accomplishment, everything we thought we knew about seeds is off the table.
That’s why we sat down with the UMBC Twitter account to ask them a few questions on the matter.
NASCARCASM: Hello, @UMBC Twitter account. How are you doing today?
Got a coveted parking spot in the lot right next to our arena this morning, so it’s going great tbh
NASCARCASM: To begin, what words of wisdom can you give to Alex Bowman as he enters the NASCAR playoffs as the 16-seed?
Well his first win was in Charlotte (EDITOR’S NOTE: Bowman won the Drive For The Cure 300 in the Xfinity Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, conveniently the same city where UMBC pulled off its upset win, even though the track is technically in Concord) so we already feel he’s got good karma on his side. Seriously though, once you’re in the playoffs, literally anything can happen. So drive fast and draft and, umm, there’s no Air Bud movie about auto racing so we’re just going off of Days of Thunder. Sorry, there’s no collegiate auto racing.
NASCARCASM: If Alex Bowman exceeds expectations, as UMBC did, what sort of sudden attention can he expect? How will his life change?
Everybody will claim to be your friend and know you and have predicted you were going to win, even though they probably said they’d never heard of you, and then they ask what your acronym stands for and — sorry, got off track there (ha, get it?). Honestly, you will be more in the spotlight and there will be expectations and demands you may not be used to, so it’s key to just stay grounded and remember who you are. Don’t change just because of all that attention.
NASCARCASM: If Alex Bowman advances deep into the playoffs, as he’s certainly capable of doing, what is the proper way to respond when people get mad online at him because he totally busted their brackets?
People can get mad, but he’s the one who’s deep in the playoffs. He can literally just say his standing anytime someone complains. Or, he could just make himself into a “deal with it” meme and post it in response. Have you ever Googled him and see the first image that pops up? He could totally just put the words “Deal With It” on that picture, or just post it by itself, people can’t argue with a guy who looks that cool in sunglasses.
NASCARCASM: In what ways can Alex Bowman instill a sense of fear into No. 1 seed Kyle Busch?
He could try and get into yoga or something like that and do some of those super crazy poses and positions in the garage right in front of Kyle. If I saw someone do that i’d be like, “Whoa, that guy means business.” Or, open a pack of M&M’s right in front of him, pour them on the ground and stomp on them.
NASCARCASM: After last year’s tournament, what is your opinion of seeding anyways?
Seeding doesn’t mean anything (unless you’re Kansas State, they should’ve totally been better than a nine seed and not have had to face the winner of the 1-16 in the second round, right? Right!? Hello?) as stated above, anything can happen in the playoffs. We believe in Alex Bowman … seriously, look how cool he looks in those sunglasses!
NASCARCASM: This is not Bowman-related, but we do have one driver in the playoffs from Virginia named Denny Hamlin. Anything you’d like to say to him?
Well, obviously the only thing anyone would expect us to say to someone from Virginia: How do you deal with all the humidity?! It gets bad here in Maryland, but, wow, it’s intense down in Virginia.