The Talladega race earlier this season did not go well for Briscoe, who was collected by Daniel Hemric after he lost control of his Kaulig Racing car. It was a brutal hit for Chase, who was running inside the top-ten at the time. It was a classic Talladega moment, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hoping for a different stroke of luck this time around, Briscoe comes into this race with a sense of momentum. The Stewart Haas Racing driver finished fifth last weekend at Texas. It was his fifth top-ten of the season and his first since the Coca-Cola 600 back in May. It has been a rough stretch for Briscoe, but his team has fought through it.

While his fifth place finish was great, the team struggled for a majority of the race, finishing outside of the top 20 in each of the first two stages. "The first 90 percent of the race we were struggling," Briscoe said last week. "We did what we needed to do but we were not a fifth-place car. We weren’t even a 15th-place car. To steal some points like that is huge."

By not earning any stage points, Briscoe came into this weekend seven points above the playoff cutline in 8th place. There is still one more race after this one before four more drivers are eliminated, but getting caught up in something tomorrow could put him in a dire situation next weekend at the ROVAL.

After winning his first Cup race back in March, Briscoe essentially disappeared for the rest of the regular season. "Outside of Bristol and Charlotte, we really weren’t around," the driver of the No. 14 car admitted.

Viewed by most experts as a playoff underdog, Chase has embraced that mentality. "Nobody expects us to be here right now, and I like that. There are not as many cameras on you and people talking about you. You can just go do your normal deal at the racetrack. I like the no pressure side of it."

The team is relaxed, and so is the driver. "We have high expectations on our 14 team, but we don’t have the pressure of the world telling us that we got to make it to the Championship Four so I like it better being on this side of it. And hopefully we can keep proving people wrong."

"We had a chance to win the race at Richmond and rubber gets up in the exhaust and catches on fire. We go to Watkins Glen, win the first stage then bend a toe link on a restart. We go to Daytona and battle for the lead and wreck. I feel like a lot of people have written us off, because we don’t have the results but we have good speed, it’s just a matter of putting it all together."

That is what needs to happen tomorrow for Briscoe to avoid a must-win situation next weekend at Charlotte. Should Briscoe not find victory lane, he can take solace in the fact that his team should be strong on the Charlotte road course.

Briscoe has demonstrated himself as one of the better road course racers in the garage. Although he doesn't have the wins to back it up, he is constantly running at the front of the field and contending. It wouldn't shock anyone to see him win on the ROVAL next week, but having his back against the wall is not a situation that he wants to be in after this race.

Tomorrow marks the halfway point in the playoffs, and no one has yet been able to seize control. Drivers are expecting another wild race on Sunday, and for the playoff standings to be shaken up once again.

"I don’t think anyone expected Texas to go the way that it did, but it was a nice primer for the chaos of Talladega,” Briscoe said. “There are just so many unknowns here. You never really know what you're going to be up against. There's just not much you can control in these superspeedway races. Things happen so fast and it’s easy to end up in someone else’s mess."

The theme in the playoffs this year has been to simply survive and advance. The good news for Briscoe is that he will start up front, after qualifying 5th today. "We have to just run our best race and don’t do anything that can take us out of it. If it ends in a win, that’s great, but we really just can’t have a bad day."

The big debate has been to race for stage points versus riding around in the back of the field until the end. There is some serious risk involved, but the numbers don't give an accurate read on the right choice. A stage winner has not gone on to win the race in the last 11 events at Talladega. On the flip side, the driver leading at the white flag as not finished inside the top-five in the last four full-distance races here.

The driver that has won the playoff race at Talladega has never gone on to win the championship that same year. In what has been a very wild and wacky season, Briscoe would love the opportunity to change that. "We just want to make it through this round."