NASCAR Cup playoffs watch, post-Sonoma

Image by Whitton/LAT

NASCAR Cup playoffs watch, post-Sonoma


NASCAR Cup playoffs watch, post-Sonoma


With 10 races remaining in the regular season the battle to make the playoffs has taken shape, and it involves a big name at the bottom of the grid.

With a seventh-place finish at Sonoma, the final spot on the grid now belongs to Ryan Newman. However, he holds just a one-point margin on seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who has spent much of this season trying to climb out of the basement. This is unfamiliar territory for Johnson, who has the distinct honor of saying he’s made the playoffs every year since their inception (2004).

Kyle Larson gave himself more of a buffer on Johnson by finally earning a top-10 finish at Sonoma. William Byron can also breathe a little bit easier as he now looks ahead at three Stewart-Haas Racing drivers.

Via wins, six drivers have clinched a spot in the postseason and sit atop the playoff grid. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. continue to trade wins and are keeping pace with each other when it comes to valuable playoff points. Both drivers know how much those points can come in handy to assure advancement in the playoffs.

Then in the middle of the grid is Kevin Harvick, still holding onto the “best of the rest” category. The first driver on the grid without a win, Harvick has been consistent enough this season when it comes to collecting points and he has built a nice points gap on the cutoff line.

Here is the playoff grid as it currently stands, with a reminder the grid will be reseeded at the end of the regular season when additional points are awarded to the top 10. Joey Logano is the overall championship point leader.

Kyle Busch: 4 race wins, 25 playoff points

Martin Truex Jr.: 4 race wins, 22 playoff points

Brad Keselowski: 3 race wins, 19 playoff points

Joey Logano: 2 race wins, 16 playoff points

Denny Hamlin: 2 race wins, 12 playoff points

Chase Elliott: 1 race win, 7 playoff points

Kevin Harvick: +183 on cutoff, 3 playoff points

Kurt Busch: +119 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

Ryan Blaney: + 78 on cutoff, 2 playoff points

Alex Bowman: +70 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

Aric Almirola: +70 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

Clint Bowyer: +40 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

Daniel Suarez: +31 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

William Byron: +29 on cutoff, 1 playoff point

Kyle Larson: +18 on cutoff, 3 playoff points

Ryan Newman: +1 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

Below the cutoff line is Jimmie Johnson (-1), Erik Jones (-5), Paul Menard (-38), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-43).