With the race for this year’s NASCAR Cup Series approaching its final two laps, it is one that has just eight entrants left remaining and with the playoffs phase of the competition starting with 16, 8 championship hopefuls have already been left behind.
Which means those who are considered supporters of the legendary auto racing discipline, are now keenly anticipating the climax of this year’s series and for those who like to place a wager on the final outcome, they will soon have an opportunity to test their betting acumen.
Because now it simply becomes a case of predicting which of the remaining eight will scoop the 2021 honors and with Kyle Larson winning the previous three races on this year’s schedule, he certainly has the momentum at just the right time.
Momentum that also sees Larson currently sit at the top of the points standings and with one more race remaining in the Round of 8 section of the playoffs, he has certainly thrown down the gauntlet to his title rivals.
A gauntlet that has left the likes of Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin on the back foot for now and now the pair will look to at least make sure that they are also a part of the Season Finale 500 on November 7th.
That race will be open to the usual entrants in the class of 2021, it’s just that only four men can be eligible to win the championship and as things stand, Larson’s recent trio of race victories has assured him of progress to this year’s showpiece event.
An event that will be witnessed in homes and bars across the length and breadth of the United States from Michigan to Missouri and from Las Vegas to Louisiana, there will be nationwide interest in just a week or so.
While when it comes to the Bayou State, there has been a considerable increase in wagering activity over the past couple of years and the Louisiana sports betting community will be ready to put their money where their mouth is come the final race day of the year.
The question though is just where does that money end up going? With Larson being in red hot form right now, it is going to take a brave man or woman to bet against the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
However, such a bet is not quite a guarantee yet and although both his two nearest rivals have work to do in terms of bridging the gap to the champion elect, it is a task that is not considered to be impossible either.
As any of these high-profile racers will know, it only takes one retirement to change the whole complexion of the title race and if the current frontrunner’s hot streak comes to an end at this week’s Xfinity 500, things could potentially be blown wide open.
To the point where, should a blown engine or crash scupper the 29-year-old Larson, both Elliott and Hamlin – who are currently second and third in the points standings respectively, will be best placed to take full advantage.
An advantage that if taken would only add further drama going into the build up of the 2021 Season Finale 500. Before that, there is also the additional question of just who will be the fourth and final contestant in the championship race.
Taking the assumption that the top three are already home and hosed, then it is down to a one in five shot for each of the remaining drivers and with just 26 points separating the quintet, it is a battle that is going to go down to the wire.
If the points were frozen at the time of writing, it would be Kyle Busch who would advance to the final four. Then again, he is just a single point clear of Ryan Blaney and only two more clear of Martin Truex Jr in sixth.
With Brad Keselowski only three more points behind Truex Jr., it means that just six points separate a quartet of drivers and with such a slender margin between the four of them, the race for the final championship berth is going to go all the way to the finishing line at the Xfinity 500.