Twenty-five races in, and here we are. So, what were in your cards for the 2023 regular season? A Chase Elliott, albeit win-and-your-in, winless streak? A winless regular season (so far) for Stewart-Haas Racing? A playoff grid with one spot remaining with one regular season race to go, and seventeen drivers to vie for it? It all comes down to Saturday night under the lights on stock car racing’s biggest stage. Let’s go.
Driver to Fade:
Alex Bowman starts 31st tonight. He’s one of those guys right on the bubble, but luck hasn’t been his buddy this year. Generally showing speed early and often at Daytona, he’ll have to make his way through a crowded field tomorrow. Making things worse, his teammate Chase Elliott, will be taking no prisoners. Sitting in the hornets nest, things could be disappointing for the #48 this evening.
If there’s any track where the Wood Brothers would love to punch their ticket for the playoffs, it’s Daytona. Harrison Burton has talked a big game for the past two weeks, threatening a promising performance on Saturday night. He’s got the qualifying position to do it. He’s just got to keep the car out of trouble all night.
He’s a superspeedway fiend. A strong stature in the cockpit, and a tight wheel, locked him into Round 2 of qualifying yesterday evening, landing Ryan Blaney an 8th place starting position on Saturday night. He sits in a better spot this year than at this point last year, as an early wreck nearly dashed his hopes for a playoff appearance in 2022. He’ll be a bit more comfortable tomorrow, but would nonetheless love some momentum heading into the playoffs.
In dramatic fashion. Can’t end the regular season without fireworks on the playoff bubble, right? For us, it’s a no brainer. Bubba Wallace has run up front on superspeedways all year long, and starting 4th tonight, we don’t look for it to be any different. Bubba Wallace for the win in the #23 Luke Combs Columbia Toyota Camry, and a last-chance playoff ticket punch for the man from Alabam’.