By Jared Turner
One quick look at the Monster Energy Series standings reveals a hard-to-miss fact: Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne are in big trouble. With this weekend’s playoff elimination race at Dover looming, Busch and Kahne are 15th and 16th among the 16 championship-eligible drivers, respectively, and face such a steep points climb that they probably need to win on Sunday at the Monster Mile to advance to the next round. Busch is 17 points behind bubble driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 12th, while Kahne is 21 points in arrears of the bubble spot. It’s going to be an extremely tall order for Busch or Kahne to overcome that kind of points deficit at Dover, so their best bet for moving on and keeping their title hopes alive is winning the race — which guarantees entry into the Round of 12, regardless of how the points look when the checkered flag waves on Sunday.