In what was shockingly one of the cleaner races of the Interstate Batteries Monday Night Racing season, Anthony Alfredo took the checkered flag in an epic three wide finish to win his second race of the year this past week at Talladega Superspeedway.
But, with Alfredo already locked into the playoffs due to his season-opening win at Daytona, he surprisingly doesn’t make this weeks “Who’s Hot” list after missing Eldora last week.
Heading into Worldwide Technology Raceway, with just three races left until the playoffs, the cutline is getting progressively closer. Therefore, I decided to focus on drivers who are relevant to the playoff cutline. So without further ado, here is this weeks edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not, and Where’s the Beef.
George Balfanz Jr. (55 Overall) – Just a couple of weeks after including him on the Who’s Not list, Balfanz has entered the race for the final points playoff spot with consecutive top ten finishes, and almost stole a win last week at Talladega.
It’s an impressive rebound, and with a track like WWT coming up, Balfanz could find himself above the cutline as early as next week.
Landon Huffman (65 Overall) – I know, I know. It’s strange putting the guy who finished 38th last week on the Who’s Hot list. But, Huffman has had speed all season long, and was leading with less than two to go at both Eldora and Talladega. Now, we head right into Huffman’s territory; Super late models. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Landon in victory lane in his #75 machine this week.
Matthew Stallknecht (79 Overall) – Stallknecht is quickly fading out of the playoff picture. After a season opening fifth at Daytona, Stallknecht has had just one top10. Superspeedways are usually Stallknecht’s bread and butter, but he wrecked and finished a disappointing 32nd at Talladega. It looks like Matt is now in a must win situation.
Nick Olsen (66 Overall) – After finishing 23rd or better in the first four races of the year with three top 15’s, Olsen has since had two disappointing finishes: 25th and 27th. With the playoff race being so competitive, that simply will not get the job done. Olsen has a 55 overall rating on Intermediate tracks, which doesn’t exactly bode well for him.
WHERE’S THE BEEF
The White Flag vs. The MNR Field – Even though it was a relatively clean race at ‘Dega (especially considering it was a superspeedway event), once we got to two to go, the entire Monday Night Racing field decided they did not want the event to end.
Not only did we get a regulation green-white-checkered, but, it took all three MNR overtime attempts to see the white flag fly and declare the race official. The MNR crew also struggled to take the white flag last week at Eldora, needing multiple restart attempts to get to the end.