GIF Playoffs, Round 1: Love is in the air
By Steve Luvender | Thursday, September 10, 2020
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Welcome to the playoffs! No, not the famous NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs -- these are the equally prestigious (OK, not really) GIF Playoffs. Throughout the real playoffs, we'll name a category each week, then dig deep into our endless archive of GIFs, awarding points to playoff contenders along the way who have a GIF matching the category. Let's get started!
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NASCAR heads to Richmond Raceway this weekend, and you know what they say: Virginia is for lovers. This week, we'll rank our favorite instances of the 16 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff drivers showing some love. The higher the rank, the more points earned. Got it?
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1 point: When Austin Dillon won at Texas in July, his wife Whitney showed a whole lot of enthusiasm while socially distancing at home. That's love. That's a GIF playoff point.
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2 points: Let's be honest. Chad Knaus is all business most of the time, so a little wink to the camera is actually a whole lot of love from the seven-time champion crew chief. That'll earn William Byron some GIF playoff points.
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3 points: Aw, teammates! This was back in those long-ago times when hugging was a thing. Points for both Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
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4 points: There's no greater bond in racing than between a driver and crew chief. Ideally, at least. Kurt Busch and Matt McCall get it.
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5 points: Crew chief Rodney Childers scores some GIF playoff points for Kevin Harvick, who doesn't seem like much of a hugger.
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6 points: Alex Bowman showed Jimmie Johnson how to use an umbrella. That's a loving bond between teammates.
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7 points: Cole Custer's crew caught their driver when he was about to fall over while celebrating a victory, as he's known to do. That's love.
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8 points: It won't be long until Brexton Busch is racing alongside dad in the NASCAR Cup Series. Just a hunch.
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9 points: Denny Hamlin shared some love with his crew after a clutch victory at Phoenix in last year's playoffs. We love enthusiastic hugs!
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10 points: Giving away a checkered flag to a young fan? That's some love. Well done, Martin Truex Jr.
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11 points: And, of course, there's no better bond between both Bubba and Blaney. The love between these longtime friends earns Ryan Blaney a victory in the Love Round of the GIF Playoffs, as evidenced here after Bubba Wallace's win that propelled him to the All-Star Race in 2019.
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-5 points: Oh, yeah. One twist: in the GIF Playoffs, one driver can earn negative points each week. This week, that driver is Clint Bowyer, who didn't show much love to Ryan Newman in last year's All-Star Race. Not a great start to the GIF Playoffs, Clint!
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Thanks for coming along on the first-ever round of the GIF Playoffs! Here are the current standings after Round 1.