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Playoff driver feels confident entering Sunday’s race at Talladega Sean Gardner/Getty Images
RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 09: Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 Mountain Dew Chevrolet,, Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW Chevrolet,, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Hurricane Harvey Relief Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald's Chevrolet, Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Ford, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, pose for a photo after making the playoffs following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on September 9, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won at Talladega earlier this season, and he’s optimistic about his chances for Sunday’s playoff race at the Superspeedway.

Stenhouse needs a good performance if he wants to advance to the Round of 8, and he’s won at both restrictor plate tracks this season at Talladega and Daytona. According to Motor Racing Network, he said he feels confident about his car’s speed heading into the race.

“I?m not worried about the speed in our car,” Stenhouse said. “The guys on the ’17’ team work hard on building our speedway cars and getting them prepared, so I feel good about that.

“If I can win two stages and get 20 points on Sunday, I could vault ahead of the cutoff line so I think the playoff points are beneficial, right now. You?re gonna see at least 10 of us racing hard for that. How hard we race for those stage points is going to be key.”

Related: Jimmie Johnson could be in bad shape after this Talladega practice incident

A win would automatically move Stenhouse into the Round of 8; otherwise, he’ll have to rely on points to advance.

Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver who has clinched a spot in the next round, so the other 11 drivers will likely be a bit more nervous heading into the race.

Most drivers have indicated how they believe anything can happen at Talladega. Stenhouse has to like his chances given his win earlier this year, but there’s a reason Talladega is known as the ultimate wild card race.

(h/t Motor Racing Network)

Cole Frederick About the author:
Cole Frederick is from a small town in Alabama, and he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in journalism. He loves all sports - especially football and basketball - and quotes The Office frequently.
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