(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
(AP) -- With a bit of disbelief over his fast fall in the NASCAR standings, Ryan Blaney is determined to avoid elimination from the playoffs.
It's a daunting task and just might require an outright win Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, where four drivers will be knocked from title contention. Blaney, who was solidly inside the top 10 of the Cup Series standings all year, has plummeted to last in the 16-driver field.
William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline headed into the knockout race. It marks a bizarre collapse for Blaney, who spent 13 weeks ranked fourth or higher in the Cup standings and began the playoffs slotted seventh.