Five drivers most likely to steal a playoff spot at Richmond

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Byron is in his first year of Xfinity Series competition. He will start the race 15th in playoff points, but without the victory that would guarantee him a playoff spot. "You could nearly write an article without talking to me".

The playoffs were created to generate interest during the football season.

That's a far cry from the team that placed the No. 22 into the Championship 4 and won a combined five races this season.

Kenseth said he was happy with his first two qualifying run, but unsure after the third round. With an uplifting run to end the regular season, Earnhardt leaves Richmond hopeful to continue it into the final 10 races.

The most significant benefit a driver can lose out on? Since his vehicle has lacked speed most of the year, he seems to have accepted the fact his final 10 races before retirement won't be under the spotlight. I would be lying if I said they weren't.

It also comes with his future uncertain.

"Am I happy about it? No". With a good attitude. "Do I think we are there right now?" Still obviously looking for that win this year.

With two career wins in 23 starts at Richmond, he's reaching deep to be optimistic.

"It's on us", Earnhardt said Saturday night about missing the playoffs.

Despite finishing fifth overall, Sadler got good news on this night. "We just haven't been able to get it to go our way", he said.

What also works against numerous non-winners is Toyota's late-season surge.

According to the latest oddsmakers, Kyle Busch is the favorite to win, as he has +125 odds. Even Brad Keselowski, sixth in the standings with a 14.2 average finish, can't seem to make the jump from the top-10 to top-5s.

Jones and Suarez both are in Toyotas, but both are series rookies.

Hamlin expects Elliott, Kenseth and McMurray to run close together on Saturday night.

"Well, you are never comfortable", Elliott said. We had to take a gamble on that strategy and that cost us a handful of spots. If we had ran like that all year, like we did over the last several years, we would have made it.

"If we win, your (media) guys' fingers will be burning up on those keyboards". So, it's tight for sure where we are at. We had a good vehicle. We weren't going to win staying on the same strategy as everyone else.

The feeling of desperation is shared by so many other drivers. "We're just lacking speed in general".

But unlike Daytona, there won't be any other chances after Richmond to qualify for the playoffs.

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