The race starts at 7 pm EDT
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South Point 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
It’s playoff time for NASCAR.
Over the next 10 weeks 16 drivers will have their sights set on The Cup.
The first three weeks, beginning Sunday night in Vegas (followed by Richmond and Charlotte) will see four drivers eliminated, the next three races will see three more eliminated and so on to finally the final race of the season in Miami for the final four drivers.
How much does the atmosphere change during the playoffs? Not much according to last year’s champ.
"You just line up to race to win, like we have 26 times," Joey Logano told NASCAR.com. "There's nothing different from this race to last week's race. You line up to win and if you can't, you maximize your day no matter what. That's kind of where we're at.”
The 16 playoff cars have identifying marks, including Monster-green trim on the front splitter and rear spoiler. The distinctions are reminders for fans but also for non-playoff drivers.
So what about the other 23 drivers in Sunday race?
"You don't let them go and you don't give anything to them, but you're definitely respectful for their position," David Ragan, who sits 30th in the Monster Energy Series standings, told NASCAR.com. "They've earned it, and you don't want to be that guy who makes a mistake that's stupid and causes one of those guys to miss out on a championship. We all hope to be in that position or have been in that position over the points of our lives. ... I definitely pay attention to where those guys are at, but it feels rewarding to beat 'em, too."
Here are today’s selections from the Eckel Three who have brought you winners all season and of course that includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney. We’re looking at the winner, top three, top five and your fantasy pools.
The playoffs are different here, because all three of us had different drivers on top and we were all over the place with our picks.
Kevin Harvick (5-1): “Left Turn’’ Sweeney touted Harvick, who qualified well (3rd), seems ready for the playoffs as the second favorite and has won twice in Vegas.
Brad Keselowski (7-1): BK was TR’s top pick, and with good reason. He’s won in Vegas three times, including this same race a year ago.
Joey Logano (7-1): The defending champ came in fourth in this race a year ago on the way to the title. He’s also won earlier this year in Vegas.
Martin Truex Jr. (11-1): The New Jersey native hasn’t finished in the top 10 the past three weeks, so he’s not coming in with momentum. But it’s playoff time and it’s Vegas, Truex has performed well in both. He also represents the best value.
Kyle Busch (9-2): You can’t leave out the favorite and regular-season point champion, you just can’t.