The Citizen Solider 400 at Dover International Speedway will see four drivers eliminated from the 2016 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. The event marks the final race of the Round of 16. This NASCAR Chase elimination round will see the field reduced to 12 drivers. These 12 drivers will continue on to compete for the Sprint Cup at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As the race weekend falls upon us, here’s your NASCAR Chase elimination round preview on LastWordOnSports.com.
NASCAR Chase Elimination Round: Citizen Soldier 400 Preview
With his victory in Chicagoland, Martin Truex Jr. was the first driver to solidify his place in the Round of 12. The No. 78 team advanced to the Championship Four round in 2015. Also with a solidified place in the championship hunt is 2014 Sprint Cup Series Champion Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 team’s victory in New Hampshire one week ago has put the Stewart-Haas Racing team in continued contention.
Of the drivers who have not secured their place, few boast a track record like Jimmie Johnson. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have been noticeably, struggling as of late, but appear to be making a return to form. A hard-charging Johnson and rookie teammate Chase Elliott are both strong contenders for another spot in the Round of 12. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch has also performed strongly at Dover and could lock a championship spot. Points leader Brad Keselowski is sure to qualify for the Round of 12 regardless of a victory locked position.
Determining which drivers qualify for the Round of 12 depends heavily on those who do not advance. Although he is the Cinderella story of the Chase, Chris Buescher‘s championship hunt is likely to end this weekend. The Front Row Motorsports driver was able to race his way into the Chase on a win and points, but the small team is showing its limitations. Unfortunately for many NASCAR fans, it is likely that Tony Stewart‘s swan song season could have an uneventful end in the Round of 16. The retiring driver has expressed frustration with the sport as of late. Stewart is likely to end his career on a low note.
Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon has not fared as well as his peers Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Dillon’s strongest finish in the Chase has been 14th at Chicagoland. While Dillon has made great strides in qualifying for the Chase, RCR has not been able to find the pace of other teams. As far as the final elimination spot is concerned, the Round of 12 could likely come down to a must-win situation. Jamie McMurray is currently on the hot seat, but a wrong move by Kyle Larson could see the young driver eliminated in the first round. The final spot in the Round of 12 will be decided by who is in the garage, and who is in victory lane.