Week 28 GFT NASCAR AI Driver Rankings: Elliott Starts Playoffs P1, Astin Dillion Win and In

28 August 2022
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA — Austin Dillon wins the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, and locks into NASCAR Playoffs. With Dillion’s win and Kurt Busch’s withdrawal from Playoff eligibility, that resulted in only one driver getting in on points. Rayn Blaney had significant damage from an earlier incident, but his crew patched his Team Penske Ford Mustang up and he completed the race finishing 15th and 3 points ahead of Martin Truex, Jr. who was eliminated.

NASCAR CUP PLAYOFF GRID SET / GFT AI Models Reset for Playoffs
Our data science gurus have adjusted the inputs to focus our rankings and predictions for the NASCAR Cup Playoffs. Chase Elliott remains P1 with Joey Logano P2, Ross Chastain P3, Kyle Larson P4, William Byron P5. That’s 4 Chevrolets, 3 of which are from Hendrick Motorsports, making up the Top 5 in our models as we start the Playoffs.

Week 28 of the NASCAR GFT Top 25 AI Driver Rankings following the NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 28, 2022 (Image: GFT Digital / gofullthrottle.net)
Credit: DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA — AUGUST 28: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 BREZTRI Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 28, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

THE WINNING MOVE:
After a 3 hour rain delay and half the field on the hook, the race restarted with 13 laps to go. With 2 laps to go as the field entered Turn 1, Dillon tapped Cindric‘s № 2 Team Penske Ford, and the Chevrolets of Dillon, Reddick and Landon Cassill moved past as Cindric made a miracle save on the apron. Reddick then closed up to the bumper of Dillon‘s № 3 Chevrolet and drafted with his teammate to the finish line, holding off a last-ditch run from Cindric, who finished third, just 0.140 seconds behind the winner.

“There was a lot going on there,” Dillon said. “I knew that if we got to the white (final lap), I was afraid somebody would — if I waited too long, I was afraid somebody would wreck behind us, so I wanted to go ahead and get the lead. We were able to get it.

“I had a big run to him, and then I had my teammate, the 8 (Reddick), back there. I knew we were in good shape there to the end. He did a good job checking up any kind of run. Just a little too much push there and got him (Cindric) loose.”

Cindric said the bump was fair game, given what was on the line for Dillon.

NASCAR PLAYOFFS START SUNDAY AT DARLINGTON
When the points were totaled, Austin Dillion completes the “Win and In” and Blaney holds onto Playoff eligibility by a mere 3 points over Truex Jr.

Look for the GFT Race Prediction for Round of 16 Race 1 on Friday.

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association