With four regular-season races to go, the winds of fate could still shift for Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and others.

, NASCAR Cup 16-Driver Playoff Field Still Has Room for Spoilers
Tim NwachukwuGetty Images

  • With four races to go before the Playoffs, most of the 14 regular-season winners are close to locking spots in the 16-player Playoff field.
  • Two drivers in the top 16 who remain winless are Ryan Blaney (above) and Martin Truex Jr., though both are in good shape to make the Playoffs.
  • Kevin Harvick is almost certainly in a “must win” situation since he’s 96 points below the 16-driver cutoff line.

    With 14 regular-season winners almost locked in and two winless drivers comfortable in points, it seems NASCAR’s 16-driver Playoff field is virtually set.

    Well, except for those “almost” and “virtually” parts, that is.

    Four regular-season races remain before the Playoffs open at Darlington (South Carolina) Raceway on September 4. The upcoming stretch begins with a 400-miler on Sunday afternoon at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway. It continues with afternoon races August 14 at Richmond and August 21 at Watkins Glen, and wraps up with an August 27 night race at Daytona Beach.

    After opening at Darlington next month, the Playoffs continue on consecutive weekends at Kansas City, Bristol, Fort Worth, Talladega, the Charlotte roval, Las Vegas, Homestead, and Martinsville. The championship race will be at Phoenix Raceway on November 6.

    The 16-driver field will be trimmed to 12 survivors after Bristol, eight after Charlotte, and four after Martinsville. The best finisher among the final four at Phoenix—regardless of where they finish among the entire field—will be the 2022 Cup Series champion.

    The next four races will give winless Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and a handful of others more opportunities to win their way into the Playoffs. For most of the “outsiders,” nothing short of a victory will be enough. For others, earning points is Job 1.

    , NASCAR Cup 16-Driver Playoff Field Still Has Room for Spoilers

    Kevin Harvick (left) is almost certainly in a “must win” situation, while the prospects for Martin Truex Jr. (right) are much safer given his current fourth-place standing.

    Icon SportswireGetty Images

    Even if they don’t win, their points position might be good enough for Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. If more new winners emerge, though, one or the other or both likely would miss competing for the championship. Harvick is almost certainly in a “must win” situation since he’s 96 points below the 16-driver cutoff line. Truex Jr. currently resides there, and it seems inconceivable Harvick can overtake him in four races.

    For Harvick, that’s the bad news. The good news is that he’s a five-time Michigan winner, once each in 2010, 2018, and 2019, then a sweep of both races in 2020. Likewise, Blaney has to feel confident about his chance to win his way into the Playoffs. After struggling at MIS early in his career, he’s been Top-10 in six of the last eight races there, including a victory last summer.

    , NASCAR Cup 16-Driver Playoff Field Still Has Room for Spoilers

    Kyle Busch (left) has one win, which puts him in pretty good shape, while Chase Elliott’s four victories locks him into a Playoffs spot.

    James GilbertGetty Images

    Former champion Chase Elliott (four victories) is locked into the Playoffs. With two victories each, so are Ross Chastain, former champion Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, and Denny Hamlin. Among the one-time winners, reigning champion Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, former champion Kyle Busch, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, and former champion Kurt Busch are in pretty good shape.

    Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe are vulnerable going into this weekend, however. Each has one victory, but they’re also near the bottom in points among one-timers. That means a new winner this weekend—say, Blaney or former champions Truex Jr. or Harvick—would bump one of them from the field for the time being.

    Despite missing his third-consecutive start this weekend with concussion-like symptoms, Kurt Busch has a medical waiver to remain Playoff-eligible. (He earned his Playoff spot by winning at Kansas in the spring). Based on points, he’s the lowest-rated one-time winner after missing Pocono, Indy, and Michigan.

    Ironically, his brother, Kyle, missed 11 races in 2015 due to severe foot injuries suffered in an Xfinity Series race during Speed Week in Daytona Beach. He returned in the summer, won five regular-season races, and took the first of his two Cup Series championships by winning the season-finale at Homestead.

    The Xfinity Series is also at MIS this weekend. The Camping World Truck Series has the weekend off before going to Richmond (Virginia) Raceway next weekend.

    • The New Holland 150 for the Xfinity Series is Saturday afternoon. It’s the season’s 20th regular-season race, leaving six remaining before its 12-driver Playoff field is set after the Bristol (Tennessee) Motor Speedway race on September 16. Its seven-race Playoff Series features 12 drivers, starts at Fort Worth and goes to Talladega and the Charlotte roval. It continues at Las Vegas, Homestead, and Martinsville, with the championship race November at Phoenix Raceway.

    • AJ Allmendinger (three victories) leads the standings going into Michigan. He’s ahead of Justin Allgaier (three), Ty Gibbs (four), Josh Berry (two), Noah Gragson (three), Austin Hill (two), Brandon Jones (one), and winless Sam Mayer, Riley Herbst, and Daniel Hemric. Cup Series drivers Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer also have Xfinity victories.

    • In addition to his Xfinity ride on Saturday, Hill will drive a third Richard Childress Racing car in Sunday’s main event. It’s difficult to see Hill’s first Cup start as anything but an audition as Childress wrestles with the reality of losing Reddick to 23XI’s expanding Cup team in 2024. Given his druthers, it’s logical to assume that Childress would rather have Reddick’s 2024 replacement in a Cup Series car sooner rather than later. Like this weekend, in fact.

    TECH NEWS RELATED

    Like the Alza and Ativa, the D92A 2023 Toyota Vios will offer more features per RM

    Mid-spec variants are cheaper by around 2 percent High specs variant now matches Honda City's Sensing, full suite of TSS ADAS offered The D92A all-new 2023 Toyota Vios (model code NGC100) is here and the burning question on everyone’s mind is, “is the new Toyota Vios more expensive than ...

    View more: Like the Alza and Ativa, the D92A 2023 Toyota Vios will offer more features per RM

    Rolls-Royce Cullinan Yachting Edition By Carlex Design Gets Brushed Metal Finish

    Even though Rolls-Royce offers virtually endless personalization possibilities, aftermarket specialists still invest the time and effort to customize products from Goodwood. Why? Because regardless of a vehicle’s specification, the owner will get bored of it sooner or later. Another plausible scenario is when the car is changing hands as ...

    View more: Rolls-Royce Cullinan Yachting Edition By Carlex Design Gets Brushed Metal Finish

    Skoda Enyaq line-up revised for 2023 with fresh tech and more range

    Skoda Enyaq MY23 front Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV vRS rear Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV vRS side Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV vRS front Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV vRS rear Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV vRS grille Skoda Enyaq iV front three quarter Skoda Enyaq iV rear Skoda Enyaq iV tailgate Skoda ...

    View more: Skoda Enyaq line-up revised for 2023 with fresh tech and more range

    Renting a Tesla? Here’s What You Need to Know

    So right now, chances are, you’re holding a credit-card-sized piece of plastic in an airport parking garage, looking at the Tesla Model 3 or Model Y you’ve just rented and trying to figure out how to open the damn thing. So you brought out your phone, Googled “how to ...

    View more: Renting a Tesla? Here’s What You Need to Know

    Is Nashville a ‘Crashville’ mess or one of IndyCar’s best?

    Whether you think it’s the peak of unpredictable but exciting IndyCar street racing or a contrived mess, Nashville certainly divides opinion between drivers, teams and fans. On the one hand, it gives us the most exciting race of the year on a street or road course and it reflects ...

    View more: Is Nashville a ‘Crashville’ mess or one of IndyCar’s best?

    Honda Releases Shiny New CB300F In India

    It slots below the neo-retro-style CB300R in Honda's naked sportbike lineup in India.

    View more: Honda Releases Shiny New CB300F In India

    Ferrari’s ‘no reason to change’ defiance misses the point

    Ferrari went into the summer break with defiant statements that its performance in the first half of the 2022 Formula 1 season means there is “no reason why we should change” despite its fading title bid. The recent Hungarian Grand Prix was the latest race to be led by ...

    View more: Ferrari’s ‘no reason to change’ defiance misses the point

    No Reserve Wildcat Convertible Selling At Maple Brothers' Kansas City Sale This Weekend

    Buick came out swinging with the Riviera, then put a Wildcat engine in this cat. Before there was the Hellcat, there was the Wildcat. We’re just kidding, the cars have nothing to do with each other, except maybe offering as much luxury as a performance car can for a good ...

    View more: No Reserve Wildcat Convertible Selling At Maple Brothers' Kansas City Sale This Weekend

    Chery smashes it out of the park in South Africa

    Perodua Received Over 24,000 Orders In July 2022

    Mahindra Scorpio-N Vs MG Hector Price, Engine Specs, Dimensions Comparison

    Road trip on superbikes in the rain: 500 km on an R1 & CBR Fireblade

    Nismo Festival will be held this December at Fuji Speedway

    Jaguar I-PACE Sales Continue The Downward Trend In Q2 2022

    Old Dacia Logan MCV Morphs Into Lada's First Electric Vehicle

    Upgraded from i20 diesel to Nexon EV Max: 1-month ownership experience

    Sime Darby EV Charger Network Every 200km To 300km Along The Highway

    ‘What goes around comes around’ – Ericsson hits out at Grosjean

    SUV Comparison: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid vs 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

    Tesla equips China-made Model Y with new airbag for extra safety

    OTHER TECH NEWS

    Top Car News Car News