And that's why Talladega didn't need to be an elimination race.  Fourteen cars running at the finish?  The majority of the 26 on the sidelines were there due to no fault of their own.

At least Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth still have a shot at advancing in the playoffs without winning in the Heartland.  They are 7 and 8 points out of the top 8 respectively.  And, they can make that up by running well from start to finish, making sure they pick up stage points along the way.

By the same token, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney, 7 and 9 points to the good, know the same thing: run in the top 10 all day and you should be good to go.

Talladega simply claims too many victims who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Just ask Martin Truex, Jr. from last year or Kyle Busch a couple of years before that.  Can that happen at Kansas?  Sure.   But it would likely be only a couple of cars rather than a dozen.

Plus, there was an upside to Talladega not being an elimination race: no one spent the day running in the back hoping to avoid everything.