Over the past few days, the US has been battling Hurricane Laura on top of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news for NASCAR is that Florida is not in its trajectory and should remain unaffected. However, that may not be enough for the Daytona International Speedway as per the local weather forecast.
Apparently, the track could face a few storms on Friday and Saturday, with a chance of lightning. As it turns out, this is typical Florida weather, especially for the month of August.
Therefore, the drivers better pray that the race does not get canceled. This goes double for Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, and Erik Jones. The quartet is the main attraction in the battle for a playoffs spot.
For the moment, DiBenedetto and Byron are on the verge of making it to the playoffs, while Johnson and Jones have to dig deep in a bid to mount a real challenge. If the race gets called off due to inclement weather conditions, Johnson will have lost his chance to qualify for the final time.
Everything is on the line for the 44-year-old as he readies himself to step away from full-time racing towards the end of the season. Being eliminated from the playoffs will bring forth the end of his full-time career rather prematurely.
In terms of the starting grid, Byron has the advantage, as he is the highest-placed driver of the four. However, he has his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, right on his tail.
DiBenedetto and Jones are a little further behind, but if the weather plays nice, it could be a long race and anything could happen.
So, the real question is, can NASCAR finalize the playoff grids at the end of this race, or will the weather cost the drivers their last chance? One thing is for sure, the four playoff combatants will go all in to fight for the final slots.