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Perfection Needed to Succeed in XFINITY Playoffs

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Since its inception, the playoff format has allowed drivers to quietly but consistently sneak their way into the final four competing for a title. Most notably, Ryan Newman in 2014, who advanced after finishes of third, 15th, and 11th.

But is a scenario like that possible this season with the NASCAR XFINITY Series?

Heading into Texas Motor Speedway, their current playoff standings arguably paints the most competitive picture across NASCAR.

Unlike the Camping World Truck Series or the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, no one has locked up a spot to battle for a championship;  looking at XFINITY’s current situation, it tells quite the tale.

Elliott Sadler, who is the current points leader, is only safe by 14-points. Christopher Bell, who sits in fourth, only holds a single point advantage over Matt Tifft in fifth.

Two of the best this season in Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer,  are five and 23-points out. Then there is Austin Cindric, who is 43-points out, but drives for Team Penske, and could realistically win and get in.

So, what does this all mean?

Throughout the next two weeks, these drivers are going to have to be perfect because nobody is even close to safe right now.

You will not be able to run outside the top-10 practically at all during these races because stage points are going to be that valuable. For a driver like Tyler Reddick, who has not been the most consistent in the field, he will need to show strength right off the truck to maintain his current positioning in the top-four.

It also means bad days will be killers. Look at Cindric, whose early exit during the Kansas Lottery 300 put him in a must-win position. With just 36-points separating the top-seven, even one mistake for a team cannot be allowed because of the possible ground lost to competitors.

And finally, you have to finish strong these next two races. Yes, with the stage format, a bad finish after a dominating can still be somewhat salvaged but again it comes down to being perfect, and every point is that important.

These final two weeks before the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway are going to be must-watch races. You have young drivers looking to prove they can get they can get the job done and, a veteran in Sadler, looking to go out on top.

One thing is for sure, whoever wins this championship will have earned it.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Mitchell Breuer

Mitchell Breuer, is a 21-year-old Minnesota native who is currently attending Winona State University to obtain a degree in Mass Communications-Journalism. In addition to POPULAR SPEED, Mitchell is currently the sports editor at WSU's student paper, The Winonan.