Geoff’s Journal: Previewing the second Chase-elimination race

By Geoff Bodine
October 22, 2016

Sunday’s Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway is bound to be a great race for fans, spectators and the teams competing. It will also feature more drama with four teams being eliminated from Chase contention.

Driver’s Perspective
It’s exciting to watch, but intense to be a part of this kind of racing. You run at these tracks wide open, and for a driver, it takes a lot of skill to run wide open with downforce.

You’re not so much worried about the handling of the car or lifting off the gas entering the corner.

What you’re worried about it who is going to make a mistake and cause a wreck. It takes just a little nudge to cause a huge pileup.

For fans and spectators, it's fun to watch but nerve wracking for the drivers, because you're praying nobody makes a mistake to cause “The Big One.”

When you’re driving in the middle of a group, heading down the backstretch and the hood’s bouncing up and down, the cars are moving sideways, back and forth. When you're in the middle, you say to yourself, “I don’t want to be here, let me out of here.” You want to get out but you can't put the turn signal on. You're stuck.

Austin Dillon (-0 points)
Quite a few guys have to finish well, and that includes Austin Dillon.

When the laps wind down, the pressure ramps up. It’s a chess game at 200 miles per hour.

As a driver, you have to concentrate and make the right moves.

Dillon has to be careful, but more lucky, because nobody is guaranteed to advance, unless your name is Kevin Harvick or Jimmie Johnson.

Denny Hamlin (-6 points) and Brad Keselowski (-7 points)
As the most recent Daytona 500 winner in Denny Hamlin and a four-time Talladega winner in Brad Keselowski, they may have less pressure they are putting on themselves, but it’s hard to know.

There are so many scenarios that can take place Sunday, so the points picture will shuffle virtually every lap this Sunday. Being lucky at Talladega will erase their deficits and help them advance.

Chase Elliott (-25 points)
Elliott has a lot to be proud of. The luck hasn’t been there during this round of the Chase, but sometimes, that’s how it goes.

If he doesn’t make the Round of 8, the season isn't a failure for him and his team. The bad luck will go away. For running the way he has this season as a rookie, what a future the boy’s got in this sport.

He’s a smart racer and has been a part of the sport for a long time.

He could be champion someday, even this year, but those hopes can be dashed after Sunday if he doesn’t score enough points.

He’s not in a must-win situation, but a victory Sunday is the only guarantee for him to advance to the next round of the Chase.

What to Expect
Count on at least one big one, maybe two. I learned that a long time ago.

Who will cause the wrecks and who will be involved? Your guess is as good as mine.

Riding around in the back could be a great strategy, and it’s one I used when I was racing.

I'm a fan now, and I will watch. I’m curious to see who will make a mistake and which drivers will cause the wrecks.

That’s a terrible thing to say, but I’m an honest fan. I want to be clear, I don’t want anybody to get hurt, but the wrecks are going to be spectacular.

This race is like shooting craps. You might roll a couple times, be lucky and the chips will pile up. But, one bad throw, and the chips are gone.

 DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

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