For drivers that know they need to win in order to make the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, these next two weeks are their best shot to do so. With a road course in Sonoma on Sunday and a restrictor plate race at Daytona next Saturday night, these are two opportunities for a wild card driver to find his or her way to victory lane, earning an automatic playoff bid.
That’s why Kasey Kahne has to be giddy heading to wine country this weekend. Kahne, sits a disappointing 21st in the standings right now, 108 points out of a playoff spot. But, he’s been quietly good at Sonoma recently.
He started fifth and won there in 2009, and has four straight top 10 finishes on the northern California road course. Factor in a fourth in 2010 and that win in 2009, and Kahne has six top 10’s over his last eight starts there.
For a driver that needs to win, likely to save his job at Hendrick Motorsports too, Sonoma may be his best opportunity to do so. You definitely don’t want to go to Daytona next weekend needing a victory.
Why not Sonoma then?
Kahne, is looking for a good result anyways. He’s struggling with finishes of 15th, 35th, 17th, 35th and 21st respectively over his last five races. Prior to that was a fifth at Talladega. Prior to the top five though, he was 12th, 20th, 20th, 14th, 38th, 20th and 22nd respectively.
As you can see, if Kahne can finagle a win on Sunday, it would really shake up the playoff grid.