By Geoff Bodine
November 13, 2016
Sunday’s Can Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will see the Sprint Cup Chase field dwindle from eight to four drivers.
There's a lot of pressure on the remaining eligible drivers to make the Round of 4. Plus, the fans will feel pressure as their driver tries to advance.
Even if your favorite driver didn’t make it, you’ll still be glued to the television and/or radio to see who makes the final cut.
Drivers are watching the points, where they need to finish, where they can pick up bonus points. It doesn’t matter if you’re locked into Homestead-Miami Speedway or are at the bottom of the Chase grid, you look at everything you can, and that includes the stats.
Matt Kenseth -1 point, Denny Hamlin -2 points
Both have run really well at PIR and have won at the track.
Even though they have a small deficit, everyone on those teams are working just as hard to prepare for Sunday’s race.
Drivers may have different strategies, but for all the employees within the team, it's business as usual.
With Kenseth and Hamlin being so close, it begs the question of how far will a driver go to try and advance?
Kevin Harvick, -18 points
We will know if the luck well has run dry for Harvick in the desert after Sunday’s race.
He needs to win, the odds of advancing on points alone are alone are not good. It could happen, of course, but a victory is the only guarantee.
Kurt Busch, -34 points
I can’t speak for him, but if I was in his position, I’d probably feel less pressure, because his only scenario to advance is to win.
His team has struggled in this round of the Chase, and he’s a past winner at PIR, but with track position so important, a 12th place starting effort will be another obstacle to overcome in trying to get to the front.
What to expect
It won’t be a boring race. PIR has a lot of great areas to pass and have side-by-side racing. It is likely someone may be mad after the checkered flag falls tomorrow, more particularly, a Chase driver.
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.