Chase Elliott earned his fifth win of the season on Sunday and the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff picture has changed a bit since Talladega. Elliott had fallen in the points standings just after Texas. His DNF did not help him at all during that race. However, he now has his ticket punched to the Round of 8.
As Chase Elliott smells that Bill France Cup getting closer, other drivers are still fighting for spots. 11 other teams have yet to punch their tickets, but that all changes this Sunday at the Charlotte Roval. Some are in a good position, as long as they are able to finish the race.
Others are going to need to put together a complete race, with stage points. And in the case of Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman, if he is able to drive this weekend, they will need a win to advance to the next round.
NASCAR Playoff Standings
With Elliott winning at Talladega, this is now an equation that features one less driver. Of course, the No. 9 is no slouch on road courses and will have a chance to snatch away another win from the rest of the field. Here’s how the NASCAR Playoff standings are looking after the results from Sunday.
55 points is the magic number to clinch. There likely won’t be seven playoff drivers able to pull that off, so it’s more of a reference point than anything. In the case of Ryan Blaney that means 23 more points. He doesn’t have to get stage points but they wouldn’t hurt. A top-15 finish or so should be good enough.
However, as we go down the list, it gets tougher for each driver looking to clinch. Again, it isn’t necessary but it puts the doubt away just as much as a win does.
William Byron, Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, and Daniel Suarez will all be battling back and forth in the points standings. So, we could see some interesting strategies at the end of stages, during pit stops, and elsewhere. It’s the playoffs, this is where things really get intense.