Contender: GEICO 500 Fantasy Preview
|Dale Earnhardt Jr. used a Daytona 500 win to jump start his season.|
He'll need another restrictor plate race win to keep it going. (Getty)
After suffering issues at Kansas to open the Contender Round, not Brad Keselowski (16th at Charlotte), nor Jimmie Johnson (17th), nor Dale Earnhardt Jr. (20th) managed to gain any ground back with their mediocre finishes in the Bank of America 500 this past Saturday. That means that those three, all of whom have been considered championship favorites for much of the season, will need to race their way into the Eliminator Round.
Talladega is a wild card, and crazy enough things could happen to advance at least one or two of those drivers to the next round without a win, but don't plan on it. Keselowski is 19 points off the cut to advance, Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. are 26 apiece, and all three would need to jump Matt Kenseth (one point out) even if they caught eighth-place Kasey Kahne.
Win or go home is a pretty strong guideline for those three drivers. Here's how they stack up from a fantasy NASCAR standpoint: