Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2017 Monster Energy Playoff Outlook

2017 Monster Energy Playoff Outlook
There are just three spots left for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup driver to potentially get in the Chase on points with five races left in the regular season.

Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth make up the three bubble spots heading to Watkins Glen International. Kenseth is 17 points above Clint Bowyer in the 17th spot. Joey Logano, who had his Richmond win encumbered for failing post-race inspection, is in 18th, 69 points out of 16th.

Below is the playoff grid following the Overton’s 400:

Green - In the playoffs due to wins, not locked in
Yellow - In the playoffs due to points not locked in
Red - Outside the playoff cutoff
* - Dictates the win was encumbered, and can't be used for entry to the playoffs

Sunday's race at Watkins Glen International could feature another upset winner, spoiling bubble drivers Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, and Clint Bowyer's shot at making the playoffs on points alone.

Road-course specialist AJ Allmendinger is hoping to crash the playoffs like he did in 2014 with a win at 7-turn, 2.45-mile road course of Watkins Glen. In eight races at The Glen, Allmendinger has five top 10s and an average finish of 9.4.

Sunday's race is also Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final road course race of his career. Junior, who sits a disappointing 216 points behind the playoff cutoff line, has never won at a road course and has an average finish of 21.7 at Watkins Glen. Junior needs a "Dale Mary" if he's going to win Sunday.

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