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Bump & Run: Bold predictions, favorite Darlington throwbacks

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500

DARLINGTON, SC - SEPTEMBER 06: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Mello Yello Chevrolet, races Mike Bliss, driver of the #33 Little Joe’s Auto Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 6, 2015 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)

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Give us a bold prediction for the rest of the Cup season.

Nate Ryan: The Big Three of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. will return to prominence, winning 11 of the season’s final 12 races (only Talladega Superspeedway will go unclaimed).

Dustin Long: Kyle Larson will not win a race this year but will win the championship.

Daniel McFadin: A playoff driver seeded 12th or lower makes it to the final four and wins it all.

Dan Beaver: Someone other than the Big 3 will win the championship.

What is your favorite Darlington throwback scheme through the years?

Nate Ryan: It’s been done multiple times – this year appropriately by William Byron’s No. 24 – but the schemes that honor Jeff Gordon’s Rainbow Warriors era are striking because they evoke my first memories of following NASCAR closely and watching that car win many of the races I’d watched.

Dustin Long: Kyle Larson’s Mello Yello car in 2015 that paid tribute to the car Kyle Petty once ran.

Daniel McFadin: Going to have to go with Kyle Larson’s Mello Yello scheme from the first year of throwbacks. It had the number, the sponsor and the scheme itself, which is really hard to nail down these days. The only downside to it was that a diecast was never made.

Dan Beaver: Hand’s down, it has to be the 2016 Germain Racing throwback to Smokey Yunick’s iconic black and gold livery. It brought back a flood of stories by one of NASCAR’s true characters.

Will anybody be knocked out of a playoff spot in the last two Cup races of the regular season?

Nate Ryan: Apologies for killing the suspense entirely, but the 16 drivers on the provisional playoff grid will remain the same entering Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Dustin Long: Ditto.

Daniel McFadin: I think the field is set.

Dan Beaver: It is unlikely that any of the drivers outside the cutoff mark will be able to climb up in points, but the contenders on the cusp will have to sweat until the checkers wave over Indy. That race has been decided by pit strategy on too many occasions for them to breathe easy.