By Jared Turner
With three races remaining until the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff is set, two names everyone expected to be playoff bound by this late juncture of the season — Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. — each need a victory to get in. And here’s the even more complicated part: None of the three upcoming tracks are particularly good for Junior, who has never won at Darlington, and hasn’t won at Bristol or Richmond in more than a decade. Although the tracks are better for Logano, at least historically speaking, it’s hard to make a case that the Team Penske driver is likely to win, given his recent struggles relative to other top drivers. The bottom line? The possibility of NASCAR’s premier series hosting its 2017 playoffs without two of the sport’s top drivers is not optimal, but it’s starting to look more and more like reality.