Elite Series Playoff Grid Features Both Familiar Names and a Few New Faces

* Steve Yenisch has opted out of the playoffs due to personal commitments and has been replaced by #40 Charlie Woods.

The ASL Elite Series playoff picture came into focus at Phoenix, with Bentley Glaser clinching the regular season championship.

The top 8 drivers remained unchanged from the prior week, and are assured a free pass into the Round of 12. Those in positions 9-16 will be fighting it out at New Hampshire for four transfer spots into the Round of 12.

Here is a look at the complete playoff grid:

Bentley Glaser

Playoff Seed – #1

Playoff Appearances – 4

Best Playoff Finish – Champion (Fall 2020)

Glaser enters the playoffs as a clear favorite, having won a series high four races this season and took home the regular season championship by a comfortable margin. He also has two previous Round of 4 appearances and won the Fall 2020 championship in the Trucks.

Adam Matz

Playoff Seed – #2

Playoff Appearances – 4

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 4 (2x)

Matz is the model of consistency, always seeming to be a fixture in the Top 10 each week. Matz also has experience making deep runs in the playoffs, and is looking to avenge a disappointing result last season, where he was wrecked out early at Homestead. Prior to that disappointment, he made both of the previous championship races.

Jesse Bunnell

Playoff Seed – #3

Playoff Appearances – 3

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 12 (Fall 2020)

Bunnell is having the best season of his career, winning two races and closing out a coveted Top 3 position in the playoffs. Surprisingly, Bunnell has never advanced past the opening round of the playoffs; the free pass he earned this season will certainly change that statistic.

Michael Trevarthen

Playoff Seed – #4

Playoff Appearances – 4

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 12 (3x)

Trevarthen has quietly put together his best statistical season, even leading the points early in the season. Trevarthen seems to have a knack for avoiding trouble and is usually a factor at the end each week. Can he finally make the deep playoff run that has eluded him so far in his ASL career?

Tyler Saville

Playoff Seed – #5

Playoff Appearances – 1

Best Playoff Finish – N/A

The rookie Saville has taken ASL by storm, running up front most weeks and has narrowly fallen short of seizing his first win on several occasions. On the flip side, he has fallen victim to crashes and miscues frequently. If he can keep his nose clean, Saville has the speed to make a deep run.

Duane Hunt

Playoff Seed – #6

Playoff Appearances – 4

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 4 (Summer 2021)

Hunt is a consistent presence in the Top 10, and is coming off a strong 3rd place finish last season. Victory Lane has so far eluded Hunt in his ASL career; a breakthrough win in the playoffs would secure a repeat Final 4 appearance.

Johnny Avila

Playoff Seed – #7

Playoff Appearances – 4

Best Playoff Finish – Champion (Summer 2021)

By his standards, the defending series champion Avila has struggled this season, crashing out of several races and only has two Top 5s to his credit, including a win at Sonoma. However, as the all-time career wins leader, Avila can turn it on at any moment and is a threat to win any of the playoff races.

Hunter Waters

Playoff Seed – #8

Playoff Appearances – 3

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 8 (2x)

Waters has also had an up-and-down season, and has been inconsistent down the stretch. Waters will need to avoid recent trends, with four finishes of 18th or worse in his last seven races in order to advance to his first Championship 4 appearance.

Jeff Yenisch

Playoff Seed – #9

Playoff Appearances – 4

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 8 (2x)

Jeff Yenisch is a playoff mainstay in the Elite Series, but has yet to reach victory lane or advance to the Championship 4. His fortunes will need to turn around, as crashes, poor pit strategy and general luck have led to the worst average race finish of his career. On the flip side, he has led the third most laps this season, and is showing more speed than at any point in his career.

Patrick Desaulnier

Playoff Seed – #10

Playoff Appearances – 2

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 12 (Summer 2021)

Patrick Desaulnier is having a career season, posting five Top 10s and finishing the regular season in the Top 10 in points for the first time in his career. Desaulnier has adapted well to the Next Gen car and can certainly make a deep playoff run.

David Camarra

Playoff Seed – #11

Playoff Appearances – 1

Best Playoff Finish – N/A

Camarra has found his stride in the Next Gen car and put together a storybook season, earning the first three Top 5s and playoff berth of his career. Going into this season, Camarra had never qualified for the playoffs—finishing 11th in regular season points demonstrates the impressive turnaround. A deep playoff run would be just the cherry on top.

Mark Jenkins

Playoff Seed – #12

Playoff Appearances – 1

Best Playoff Finish – N/A

A mainstay in the ASL Elite Series, this is Mark Jenkins’ first appearance in the playoffs. Jenkins season was highlighted by a strong second place finish at Daytona. Jenkins is capable of running well at a diverse groups of tracks, as shown at Las Vegas and Martinsville, where he also posted Top 5 finishes.

Todd Cray

Playoff Seed – #13

Playoff Appearances – 3

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 16 (2x)

For such an accomplished driver with six career poles and two wins, it’s surprising that Todd Cray has never advanced out of the first round of the playoffs. Tracks on the schedule such as New Hampshire and Iowa are right in Cray’s wheelhouse and should give him an excellent opportunity to advance or possibly steal a spot in the Championship 4.

Ray Polking

Playoff Seed – #14

Playoff Appearances – 2

Best Playoff Finish – Round of 12 (Summer 2021)

Ray Polking is coming off his first playoff appearance last season where he came up one spot short of advancing out of the Round of 12 race at the Indianapolis Road Course. Polking will need to rebound from a rough stretch of races to advance out of the first round, with four straight finishes of 13th or worse.

Ricki Williams

Playoff Seed – #15

Playoff Appearances – 1

Best Playoff Finish – N/A

Ricki Williams is a newcomer to ASL, and enters his first playoff appearance on a hot streak, with three consecutive top 10 finishes. The recent uptick in performance got him into the playoff bracket and he may be well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunity.

Charlie Woods

Playoff Seed – #16

Playoff Appearances – 1

Best Playoff Finish – N/A

With Steve Yenisch bowing out, Woods takes the final spot after a blown engine at Phoenix jeopardized his playoff hopes. Before his wreck at Talladega and the blown engine at Phoenix, he had posted four straight Top-12 finishes. Woods can play spoiler in the first round and advance if he can regain that level of performance.

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