While anything could go awry for any driver at any of the 10 playoff races, three tracks stand as potential trouble spots. The trio of tracks — which most drivers consider to be “wild cards” — consist of Talladega Superspeedway, the ROVAL at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Talladega and the ROVAL host the second and third races in the Round of 12, respectively, while Martinsville plays host to the elimination race in the Round of 8.
Of particular concern to 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch is Martinsville, the .526-mile paperclip shaped oval that is the last stop on the Cup calendar before the season-ending championship event at Phoenix Raceway. “You look at it as a wild card,” Busch said. “That’s how I see it. Heck, you could be running third and the leaders take each other out, and you get an invite to the Championship Round. There are going to be so many variables and so many wide-open chances for Martinsville; that’s why NASCAR chose to put that track as the cutoff race.”
Meanwhile, Kurt’s younger brother — two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch — is more focused on surviving the ROVAL, an ultra challenging road course that is only in its fourth year on the Cup schedule. “We were going to have a decent run maybe the first year, maybe a third- or fourth-place finish, and then in 2019 we were destined for a top six,” Kyle said. “Each year we get caught up in stuff. Just unfortunate circumstances. We just have to keep ourselves out of trouble. That’s hard to do on such a tight circuit with a lot of stuff going on and a lot of guys making desperation moves and us needing to make some desperation moves, too, most likely.
“The Round of 12 is probably the most challenging round for us, with the ROVAL and Talladega being in there. Just have not had a good ROVAL experience yet, and Talladega is always Talladega.”