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Three best limited budget NASCAR Cup Series drivers at the 2020 Blue Emu 500

Image Reference: GalaxyTrooper via Wikipedia, 12/9/11, CC BY 3.0

Looking back at the midweek Martinsville Cup race from last night, there is not much carnage as it ran mostly under green.

Though a few of the limited budget drivers have done well through merit, in contrast, some of the big teams performed below than expected mainly due to inadequate equipment or problems encountered mechanically.

Let us find out now which three drivers have made it to the top of this group.

Bubba Wallace

Image Reference: Zach Catanzareti via Wikipedia, 9/5/18, CC BY 2.0

Bubba too ran off very nicely from 23rd to 10th thanks to the short-run speeds which benefitted his excellent displays on the race track, including one time when he fended off Kurt Busch.

Having finished in 5th after Stage 1 & 6th before the halfway distance, the long-run speed & the first restart may have seen Bubba fall back some spots.

But the last two yellows during the final stage saw him eventually bounce back in 11th thanks to the necessary changes during these breaks on pit road.

Yes, he may have ended just short of the Top 10 mark, which he would like to take if there was a late caution and survived.

But Bubba would be happy to take this result having improved from 21st a few days ago in Atlanta.

Michael McDowell

Image Reference: Zach Catanzareti via Wikipedia, 13/11/18, CC BY 2.0

From towards the back end of the field in 29th, McDowell to catches up ahead of the race field, having run as high as 10th by the competition caution on around the Lap 60 mark.

The two yellows oversaw during the 2nd half of Stage 1 may have seen McDowell slip back a bit to 15th.

Though at the end of the day, it is all about keeping that fantastic race car tick, which can aid you for as many points as gained possible.

It proved right when McDowell enjoyed a quiet second half of the night having survived another few yellows along the way.

From there, it allowed his team to modify the necessary changes before some of the clean air helped McDowell to stay within the lead lap that justified his P14 finish in the end.

Corey LaJoie

Image Reference: Jkb24 via Wikipedia, 20/07/19, CC BY 4.0

He went off to a great start from 25th, having enjoyed a Stage 1 breakthrough inside the Top 20 as well as an extended run at the top after the Lap 113 caution.

Yes, his No.32 Ford Mustang may not be the fastest car out there.

However, despite ending the night with two laps down, LaJoie did remain patient & survived through every yellow flag break throughout the night.

That way, having seen some of the significant team drivers drop out through their issues, it allowed LaJoie to alter and experiment a few tactics as mentioned a while ago above before he stayed ahead and just focused on the overall finish where he came home in P18.

Conclusion

Congratulations to the three best-limited budget drivers on display last night.

After two weeks of least than expected finishes from Bristol & Atlanta, Corey LaJoie bounced back with his 4th Top 20 finish of 2020.

It can be hard at times to fend off against the big guns, especially racing for a limited-budget team like GO FAS Racing.

But LaJoie did not make a single mistake or suffer mechanically like some of the significant team drivers experienced last night.

All he does is a race within his best, and having survived each yellow, he & his team made a few exciting ideas while staying ahead when Kyle Busch couldn’t catch to him, which helped LaJoie gain as many points as possible within the Top 20 mark.

Going into Homestead, LaJoie is hoping a much superior race car will come to him.

Looking back at his Cup record there, he last achieved his highest finish at P31 twice in 2017 & 2019.

So, if LaJoie survives this Sunday like he did last night, he will improve & finish merely fine.

For Michael McDowell, he’s happy to have a superior race car, which helped him stay ahead of the race field.

Having finished P14 last night at Martinsville, last time he ran on a small track is at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, where McDowell came home in a similar position.

You see, the key to his success at short tracks is survival where he passed the first checkpoint, then a clean run to the finish as long as the fast race car is there, which sums up McDowell’s great series last night.

When I first interviewed David Ragan a few years ago, we know McDowell is usually a road course ringer.

Now, he is learning nicely both at pretty much all tracks.

And finally, Bubba Wallace.

With a superior No.43 Chevy Camaro, Bubba displayed something extraordinary, having built a great base during the first half of the night.

He may have fallen short of a Top 10 finish having fallen back a bit earlier in Stage 3, but at least the two yellow breaks, later on, have seen him finish in P11.

It’s such a big day for Bubba, having appeared a lot in the press lately, such as his heritage, etc.

Beyond that, he’s a talented driver with a point to prove at the top level.

And despite the limited budget his team has got at Richard Petty Motorsports right now, the ability behind the driver is still there.

Now what Bubba needs to do next is turn into a consistent run inside the Top 15-20 & go from there.

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