NASCAR, NASCAR Cup Series, Texas Motor Speedway, Racing Playoff drama heading to the Lone Star State: Backseat Drivers | NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway
We have kim koon jonathan merriman, danny b i’m alex weaver for this week, let’s tap in get right to things kansas. An interesting and interesting show out there in kansas, joey logano is just staring down the floor. Making sure that he’s blocking the heck out of him gets the win kim let’s start with you. How do we feel about the 22 locked into phoenix? I mean no surprise there. It always seems like whenever we kind of i don’t say forget about joy legano, but just don’t have our focus on him. He’S there knocking at the door like hey reminder, i’m here, but honestly, no surprise that he and paul wolfray would pull it off. They they’re a great team. Granted we haven’t seen them win since, before the coveted times um back in the spring, however he’s been you know, strong and always there, the entire season. So no surprise for me. I i don’t know that really he was the focus for anybody this past weekend at kansas, but i definitely think that they are going to be contenders when we go to phoenix because he was the winner there in the spring. You know i think he had he’s had two. I don’t want to say bad weeks, but vegas and talladega weren’t. You know up to part of what they had been running ever since you know they kind of corrected the ship mid season. But if you take those two races out of it, i mean you’re, talking top fives top tens almost every single week, so they’re running well, like kim said they’re just under the radar.
I think the big story coming out of kansas is man. Did denny hamlin throw one away? He looked like he had a car. He we knew he had a car that could beat harvard because he did it in that stage. One um gets into the wall right in front of his teammate um you know is that the the tape on the grill moment from last season you know is that is that what we’re gon na remember out of that 11 car going forward? I don’t think so. I think you know the gear he’s having he can go to martinsville and win we’re. Seeing you know for the past two years. This is old, school denny hamlin can win at these race tracks and don’t count them out at texas either. But you know joe logano upsets the apple cart a little bit moves that cut line in a weird direction and and look if we have a if we have a driver wind who is not harvick or hamlin, going coming out of texas going into martinsville. I think we’ve got a real real dead on shot of having either before the 11 missing the the round of four in phoenix. It certainly feels a little bit like 2018. You know a few years back when obviously joe logano won a championship and he flew under the radar then and now he’s kind of doing the same thing here again coming. You know: hasn’t won since before coed and now here’s his third win of the season.
So he’s in championship, four, with only three wins and all year we thought we knew exactly who to count on for a championship. We fought harvick, we fought hamlin and really that’s about all we’ve had on our mind now, here’s joey logano, coming in saying hey. Remember me i’m, a champion too. I want to do this again, so we might be looking at that and, like jonathan said, you know, hamlin kind of went down a little bit and if he does it again the next two weeks i know the pressure’s on and obviously he knows that he’s not It’S, not anything that’s, not in his mind i’m sure so. He’S gon na know that going into these next few races – and you know, martinsville – is very good for martin truex jr, his teammate it’s, very good for a chase, elliot uh, texas, a few guys who could potentially pull an upset on a mile and a half track. You got ta remember the last time we were texas. We saw a far crazy result that most people would admit to with the two rcr cars finishing one two, so anything can happen in these next two weeks, yeah and as kim brought up uh the latest winner in phoenix. The last time we raced there was the 22 of joey logano and guys don’t forget. He has two weeks now to prepare it’s a pretty sitting pretty place for the 22 camp, because all eyes are on phoenix that’s all they have to worry about, but now heading to texas and to martinsville for the next two weeks and that’s.
What will determine who will be the championship for competing for a title? Uh come november in phoenix, but kurt busch had some engine problems now in a must win situation. I think there are some other drivers below the cut line who are now in must wins. What are the danger of the one and others not making it to the championship for as we head to texas, i think the possibility of kurt bush missing the championship. Four is very high. Obviously, we currently have eight drivers, four of them and four of them can’t make it. So to me this is always the biggest cut of the year. You’Re cutting the field in half and honestly it’s a must win for kurt and i don’t think he wins at texas there’s. Just too many drivers who are stronger at that track and i actually don’t necessarily think we’ll see a playoff driver when in texas um to danny’s point, we saw you know a crazy race earlier at texas, with the rcr cars up front. So i certainly think we should consider some other drivers to be in the mix in the final laps at texas this coming weekend and might not be a playoff driver yeah. I think if you look at if at the top eight, i think the one car is probably the car that you look at and say you know, barring something nuts happening like we saw in vegas with the pit strategy.
They’Re, probably not going to go out and heads up beat the other seven cars. Everybody else you look at can bowman win. Yeah they’ve had speed. He you know had a really good car at kansas. Can we know the four can win? We know the 11 can win. The potential’s been there for the 19 all year. Long um they’ve just had things not go their way and we know chase elliot can win. So i i don’t know you hate to write somebody off with two races to go, but it’s going to take a win for those guys, and i don’t know if they can, if lightning can strike twice so to speak, like we saw in vegas yeah. I think the two specifically that are below the cut off line right now to have to have this as their you know. You have to have a home run. This weekend is a 200 cars. Obviously, bowman has been very strong in the playoffs he’s, been rather consistent. Getting a lot of stage points and getting top tens top five, but that’s not going to be enough for him, where he’s at 27 points out chase elliot’s a little bit different. He needs to try to stay consistent. He could you know, theoretically, get in with some top fives but that’s, hoping that honestly, harvick or hamlin wins for him to get in. So really those two have to go in trying to win or go home because, quite frankly, i’m looking ahead to martinsville.
After this, my circled guy is martin truex jr. I feel like that’s going to be where he gets his chance into the championship for so it’s really interesting. You know it’s make make or break it right now for a lot of these guys, but the 200 cars they got to have this one or else i don’t think that they have the best chance to get in but yeah well, since all of us are counting Out the one of kurt busch, it looks like kurt busch might be winning at texas because that’s how it goes. Um, okay, let’s tap into our mobile one driver of the week with kevin harvick. No doubt that he has been one of the best in the field. All of 2020 nine wins there for the four camp. This season hasn’t been done since jimmy johnson had a double digit win season in what i think it was 2007. uh. So can kevin harvick get 10 wins in 2020 i’m gon na give that a no um it’s, not a confident, no but i’m gon na say no just because we have not seen the same dominance. We saw from the four car and kevin harvick that we saw. I feel like earlier in the season mid season, i feel like there’s, some other drivers and cars and teams that have kind of risen to the top, as we’ve kicked off the playoffs now that’s, not to say that kevin harvick has been shabby when we’ve been racing, They still are bringing great cars to the racetrack kevin harvick, obviously, a skilled driver, but i don’t think it’s in the cards for him to win at the remaining three races, texas.
I think there are a lot of different players, uh that come into factor that can get to victory, lane martinsville kind of a little bit of a wild card for me and then phoenix phoenix is not the same as when kevin was dominating a few years ago. Um there’s other drivers. I definitely have on my radar, including the spring winner, joey logano, as well as a guy like chase elliott, maybe even kyle busch, so that’s a no to kevin harvick, getting 10 wins in 2020.. If it’s coming it’s coming this weekend, it ain’t going to happen in martinsville and it ain’t going to happen in phoenix um. You know weaver pointed out to me earlier in the day: he’s won the past two playoff races at texas, motor speedway, but man i don’t know. I think there are a lot of players in this thing now. I don’t think that him and the 11 are as far ahead as everyone thought they were over the summer. People have buckled down and they’ve they’re, starting to figure this out and they’re, bringing fast stuff to the track every week and granted. It was super cold at kansas and i think that threw everybody for a loop, but you know can kevin, do it. Yes, i think texas is his best shot. Will he no and that doesn’t mean i don’t, think he’s going to win the title either? So things are weird, get 10 wins i’m gon na say yes do.
I think it comes this weekend, not necessarily i’m kind of looking at phoenix theoretically, but for him. I think this race is very important for him to continue to have top three strength, as he’s had the majority of the year in playoffs, because this race, in my opinion, back in 2017, was where we saw the the revamped kevin harvick that we had today, because The 2017 season was a year where he kind of flew under the radar for a lot of people. In fact, i think when he won that race, it was only what his second or third win of that season, but it propelled him into the championship four, when a lot of people didn’t expect it, and now ever since then, he’s been this dominant force that we Know today, and just truly the best veteran in the sport at the moment, so i think this race is important to him i’m sure he wants to get that 10th win. But do i think it’s going to happen this weekend? Maybe not well i’m disagreeing with all three of you um i’m, going to go really far out on the limb here and pick. The driver who’s won the last two playoff races at texas and make it a third i’m going. Kevin harvick wins this weekend. I don’t know why it’s just hanging fruit, so here here we go um, okay, let’s get into our race day, picks uh this or that. So this is just for texas this upcoming weekend.
So are we taking i already kind of know the answer to this? Are we taking for the winner, kevin harvick or the field kim? You start i’m going with the field just like i did last weekend when it was denny hamlin versus the field chose the field, the field one. I think the same thing happens this weekend. Yes, kevin harvick has won the last two fall, playoff races at texas, but the third time is not going to be the charm for him. There’S too many other strong drivers when we go to texas motor speedway and we can’t count them out. I want to know what the odds are on winning three races at the same track in a row at the playoffs, so i i think the odds are against harvard in terms of numbers wise. So for that reason i will say no he’s not gon na win. This weekend i will take the field more specifically the nine car i think, uh he’s gon na make some magic happen at the side of his first ever nascar xfinity series win. I got the liner in there well, just like. Last week, i’m gon na go uh with kevin harvick against the field i’m picking harvick. So look for him when he has a teammate in front of him to scrape the wall and knock his chances out highest finish at texas. Is it gon na be elliot or bowman i’m gon na go with chase elliot he’s the only driver to have led in all seven of the 2020 playoff races.
I think he leads again coming this weekend and i think, ultimately finishes higher than his teammate alex bowman. I think if we would have had two or three more laps at kansas, bowman would have won that race so i’m, going to take the 88 of bowman um. They just won’t go away. He’S like the new ryan newman. He just he’s that that thorn in your side, he’s always there at the end and has been these past couple weeks. I think the 88’s going to uh to outpace the nine this weekend. Thanks me to say this because i wouldn’t love the sadie 88 win and get to compete for the championship at his home track, but i am going to take the nine car because i got him winning this weekend. Oh danny b, we won’t tell him um all right. What about a i’m gon na go with elliot has a higher finish. I do like the 88 chances. He’S had a lot of speed but there’s, just something about the round of eight knocking on chase elliot’s store that i think he wants to head to phoenix um all right top five finish for texas. Is it going to be martin tricks, jr or brad keselowski? Uh? I’M gon na go truex and that’s, because i don’t really feel like we’ve seen complete consistency from brad keselowski. I was looking at the kansas finish: uh yeah. He finished fourth but surprising that it was his only his second top five finish in the last 12.
Races of 2020, so i don’t want to call last weekend’s top five, a fluke but koslowski’s, certainly not performing, in my opinion, to um playoff contention so i’m going to go with trixx rx is my pick to win, but i’ll argue with kim, for the sake of Arguing with kevin he’s a counter puncher, he is, you know a contrarian through and through his teammate just won. You know he’s mad about that. I mean yeah he’s, happy that roger penske has a car racing for a championship. He’S, a company guy, but brad, wants to be the guy at penske, so i think that might motivate him just a little bit. I mean he capitalizes too. I mean when, when something goes wrong for other people, who’s there it’s brad keselowski someway somehow finds himself at the end of these races. So you know, i think i can make a case for the two you know being there at the end too and maybe coming home with a win. So you have your winner not getting a top five finish, but winning hey. There are no rules to this game. Right all right, danny b i’m going to martin truex on this couple years ago. He was the mile and a half king. I think this is part of his surge to get him into the championship for all right. Two of the fastest cars from kansas, one hit the wall suffered some damage, didn’t get it done.
The other one is the winner, but who is your stage two winner at uh texas? Is it gon na be denny, hamlin or joey? Logano got ta, go with denny hamlin. Yes, he’s coming off um an unfortunate situation from kansas, but i think they kind of regroup, plus denny has been the better stage winner all year, long versus legano. I think denny’s got ten stage ones versus logano’s. Six, so danny knows how to get it done when it comes to winning stages and winning races. So danny hamlin stage wins mean nothing to legano. At this point, he’s locked in at phoenix so um, i think they can get a little wacky with the calls – and you know paul wolf loves to do that. So if that means you know, you’re not going to win a stage which in part is meaningless to joey. At this point, uh, i think denny hammond will probably outpace him in the stages i’m, probably wrong because of my nascar fantasy, almost always get my stage victories wrong, so i’m gon na say joey logano, just because he won last week. Don’T we all danny b week. If we could throw a dart at the board, we would all still be wrong. Uh i’m gon na go with denny hamlin i’m agreeing with merry men. Kyle that’s like choking up words that i’ve never had i’m a genius um, but i think that denny hamlin is gon na go after stage points more legato is going for the win uh.
I don’t think he’s going after points all right who struggles the most at texas. Is it going to be the two drivers still left in the playoffs for hendrick motorsports, or is it going to be the two drivers still left in the playoffs for team penske? I don’t want to say they’ll struggle, but i think team penske has the worst day in texas and that’s a because joey logano really at this point, has nothing to lose so to marim’s point. They can be a little bit riskier, which doesn’t always end up in good results and then keslowski i’m, just not feeling them for this weekend in texas mark my words, watch he’ll probably get to victory lane and then on the flip side, hendrick those guys alex bowman And chase elliot are always there. They are always somewhere up front sticking out that wind. This could be potentially um a weekend that we see one of them in victory lane. So i think kendrick has the better day at texas. Are we limiting this to just playoff guys? No, you can throw in look, i think you know blaney will be a force too um. He he was. He was up there a little bit uh at kansas, but i mean those guys are racing. Just four wins. So you have to you have to bring that into account too kim said earlier, is that you know we could see a non playoff winner um, so i don’t know: i’ll go penske here, i’m gon na go with hendrick having a better day, i’m kind of with Cam on this one, i think the pencil guys are gon na do good, but i think that they’ll probably be in the top 10, whereas the 200 guys could potentially be in the top five, so i’m gon na say hendrick has a better day.
I agree with kim and danny v because i just have to balance it out. I’M gon na go with uh. Hendrick has a better day at texas and pinsky struggles, a little bit more um. All right guys. Do we want to change our championship? For is everybody sticking with what they said at the beginning of the season, because i am at phoenix going to bring those back. I don’t even remember what i said: i’m already way wrong, so bring him back. To remind me, i think i said 4, 11, 2 and 9, which is i’m already i’m. Already. I don’t remember what i said: maybe 4 11.. I feel like the 9 was in there. Who knows, i had the 11 as my championship pick you’re gon na have to uh go back into the archives. Oh don’t worry we’ll, bring them back, uh, so cliff notes from this episode in case you missed. None of us can remember what the heck happened in march and uh. If you are putting money this weekend, put it on the one of kurt bush, because we all counted them out, but we’re racing at texas. On sunday, three drivers are trying to walk into phoenix to compete for a championship for joey logano all eyes on phoenix we’re raising texas sunday, 3 30 nbc will have the coverage uh and anybody at texas. If you can deliver us torchies uh, we would like four tacos sent this way.