NASCAR's playoff grid tightening ahead of New Hampshire

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NASCAR's playoff grid tightening ahead of New Hampshire

NASCAR

NASCAR's playoff grid tightening ahead of New Hampshire

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NASCAR Cup Series teams are in the home stretch of the regular season with seven races to go.

New Hampshire hosts the series on Sunday, and the Cup Series is the only national series in action this weekend. Two doubleheaders, Michigan and Dover, as well as the inaugural race on the Daytona road course and a return trip to the Daytona oval lead up to the postseason.

Ten drivers have already clinched their postseason spots, with one notable exception. Reigning series champion Kyle Busch is still fighting for speed and results. He finally earned a playoff point last week at Kansas Speedway, but he is winless and mired mid-way down the playoff grid.

Cole Custer will be in the playoffs for the first time courtesy of his Kentucky Speedway win. Matt DiBenedetto is in position to do the same on the strength of his points position. Tyler Reddick could join the group should he leap up onto the playoff grid.

Reddick is the first driver on the outside looking in. He sits ahead of Erik Jones – facing another down-to-the-wire fight for a place in the postseason – and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who is looking to get back into the playoffs after missing them for the first time last year.

While Denny Hamlin holds down the top spot on the playoff grid because of his five wins, it’s Kevin Harvick who is in control of the overall point standings. Harvick would add 15 playoff points to his total if he wins the regular-season title.

Here is how the playoff grid looks going into New Hampshire:

  1. Denny Hamlin: 5 wins, 28 playoff points
  2. Kevin Harvick: 4 wins, 22 playoff points
  3. Brad Keselowski: 2 wins, 15 playoff points
  4. Joey Logano: 2 wins, 14 playoff points
  5. Chase Elliott: 1 win, 10 playoff points
  6. Alex Bowman: 1 win, 9 playoff points
  7. Ryan Blaney: 1 win, 8 playoff points
  8. Martin Truex Jr.: 1 win, 7 playoff points
  9. Austin Dillon: 1 win, 5 playoff points
  10. Cole Custer: 1 win, 5 playoff points
  11. Aric Almirola: 134 points above the cutoff
  12. Kyle Busch: 120 points above the cutoff
  13. Kurt Busch: 119 points above the cutoff
  14. Clint Bowyer: 42 points above the cutoff
  15. Matt DiBenedetto: 35 points above the cutoff
  16. William Byron: 10 points above the cutoff

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  1. Tyler Reddick: 10 points below the cutoff
  2. Erik Jones: 12 points below the cutoff
  3. Jimmie Johnson: 18 points below the cutoff
  4. Bubba Wallace: 100 points below the cutoff

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