An ideal weekend looks like this: Alabama’s homecoming game against Missouri on Saturday night, and NASCAR’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. The two venues are about 100 miles apart. Both involve tailgating.

While Alabama fans do their thing on the Quad, NASCAR fans take over the infield. One is significantly larger than the other, considering it takes a 2.66-mile track to encircle it. Key word: encircle.

Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney has witnessed both pregame festivities since his younger sister, Erin Blaney, attends UA. He visited campus for the 2016 Iron Bowl.

“That was my first time going to a college football game, one of the biggest games of the year,” Ryan said. “That was amazing, how many families were so, so dedicated to Alabama football. And there were a bunch of Auburn fans there, too. It was really neat. You get that many people in a confined space, it definitely makes the atmosphere a lot different. Opposed to … let’s say we go to a big mile-and-a-half track, there’s so much room and people are so spread out.”

NASCAR gets a little bit of both since tracks are all different lengths. Talladega is the longest. Martinsville Speedway’s 0.256-mile oval is the shortest.

But who cares? The people who fill the space are the only thing that matter anyway.

Since she’s close, Erin goes to Ryan’s races at Talladega. There are two every year – spring and fall.

“It does mean a lot when you can have family there to me and I think to anybody because we travel so much and they have jobs of their own, jobs and school,” Ryan said. “It does mean a lot, especially if we can win for them when we’re there. That makes it extra special for sure.”

Ryan won at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course two races ago. Older sister Emma, who he said moved to West Virginia earlier this year, was there.

“Me and my sisters are really close,” he said.

That’s why, since he’s not able to this weekend, Ryan plans to come back to Alabama in November for the Iron Bowl, after NASCAR’s season is over. Then he’ll get to properly tailgate - no worries about an upcoming race - and cheer on the Crimson Tide with his sister. Family bonding and what not.

Normally, though, Ryan’s Ohio roots make him a Buckeyes fan.

“I’ll support Alabama just because of her,” Ryan said. “But if they meet in the national championship game, I will obviously be (for) Ohio State.”

Last Race

Chase Elliott won the Gander Outdoors 400 at Dover International Speedway last Sunday, giving him five playoff points and locking him into the next round of playoffs. It was his second career victory. Both came this season.

Denny Hamlin finished second. Joey Logano was third.

Kevin Harvick took Stages 1 and 2, earning a playoff point for each mini victory, but ended up sixth overall thanks to tire issues. He led a race-high 286 laps.

Fast Five

This is where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings will be updated each week.

1. Chase Elliott, 3,056 points

2. Kevin Harvick, 3,101 points

3. Kyle Busch, 3,096 points

4. Martin Truex Jr., 3,069 points

5. Joey Logano, 3,064 points

Clinched a spot in Round of 8: Chase Elliott, who was actually below the cutoff line last week

Below the cutoff line: Aric Almirola (-10), Clint Bowyer (-10), Kyle Larson (-12) and Alex Bowman (-34)

Round of 12 races left: Talladega Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway

Next Race

The 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday will start at 1 p.m. CT and air on NBC.

Joey Logano won the Geico 500 there back in the spring. Brad Keselowski won this race last season. Together, the two have won five of the last seven races at this track.

Reach Terrin Waack at twaack@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0229.