NASCAR playoffs watch, post-Watkins Glen

Image by Baker/LAT

NASCAR playoffs watch, post-Watkins Glen

NASCAR

NASCAR playoffs watch, post-Watkins Glen

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff grid hasn’t been decided just yet as a wild afternoon at Watkins Glen shook things up once again.

Kyle Busch is back atop the point standings after he salvaged an 11th-place finish following some beating and banging with multiple drivers. Busch and Joey Logano have been trading the top spot all season in the battle for 15 additional playoff points awarded to the regular season champion.

Logano had an uncharacteristically down day as he finished 23rd.

With his second win of the season, which included winning both stages, Chase Elliott doubled his playoff point total.

Many other drivers saw their advantages on the cutline grow Sunday afternoon, including Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, and Kyle Larson. Almirola continues to be the “best of the rest” as the highest driver on the playoff grid without a win. And Jones has been impressively collecting points over the last month, potentially earning a playoff spot that at one time looked unlikely.

On the other hand, Clint Bowyer didn’t lose or gain any points in Watkins Glen, but he is no longer tied for the last spot on the grid. That position now belongs to Jimmie Johnson (who scored points in both stages to help erase a 12-point deficit), with Ryan Newman just below the cutline.

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

Kyle Busch: 4 race wins, 28 playoff points

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

Denny Hamlin: 3 race wins, 18 playoff points

Brad Keselowski: 3 race wins, 19 playoff points

Joey Logano: 2 race wins, 17 playoff points

Chase Elliott: 2 race wins, 14 playoff points

Kevin Harvick: 1 race win, 9 playoff points

Kurt Busch: 1 race win, 6 playoff points

Alex Bowman: 1 race win, 5 playoff points

Aric Almirola: +96 on cutoff, 1 playoff points

Ryan Blaney: +89 on cutoff, 2 playoff points

William Byron: +60 on cutoff, 1 playoff point

Erik Jones: +54 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

Kyle Larson: +46 on cutoff, 3 playoff points

Clint Bowyer: +12 on cutoff, 0 playoff points

Jimmie Johnson: +0 on cutline, 1 playoff point

Below the cutoff line is Ryan Newman (-0), Daniel Suarez (-23), Paul Menard (-61), and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-78).

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