What to know about the NASCAR Cup Series playoff chase going into Talladega

The fall Talladega NASCAR Cup Series race is part of the second round (Round of 12) of the NASCAR playoffs.

Only eight drivers will advance to the Round of 8, basically the semifinal round to see who will compete for a championship in Phoenix in November. Talladega is the middle race of the round, following the Texas race and before the Charlotte Roval. Both Talladega and the ROVAL are considered 'wild card' races that are more unpredictable to predict a winner.

A win for any driver already in the playoffs would send them to the next round.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: NASCAR cup series 2023 fall Talladega race, What to know: tickets, parking, TV, etc

NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings

  1. William Byron - clinched

  2. Denny Hamlin +37

  3. Chris Buescher +22

  4. Christopher Bell +20

  5. Martin Truex Jr. +19

  6. Ross Chastain +12

  7. Brad Keselowski +8

  8. Kyle Larson +2

  9. Bubba Wallace -2

  10. Tyler Reddick -3

  11. Ryan Blaney -11

  12. Kyle Busch -17

Two superspeedway racers below cutline

Both Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace have had success at Super Speedways. Blaney has won twice at Talladega (Fall 2019, Spring 2020) and the summer Daytona race in 2021. Wallace first win came at Talladega, in a rain shortened fall race in 2021. Wallace also has two second-place finishes in the Daytona 500, the most prestigious NASCAR race that's also on a Super Speedway.

Wallace sits just two points below the cutline while Blaney is 11 points back, meaning they are coming to a favorite track needing to earn some points to stay in the chase.

No worries for Byron

William Byron has been the class of NASCAR this season with six wins on the season and important win at Texas last week to clinch his spot in the Round of 8. Talladega hasn't be the kindness of tracks to Byron and the No. 24 team with eight finishes outside the top 10 in 11 tries. Byron has finished second and fourth at Talladega as well.

Denny Hamlin is another driver that should feel good about their position going into Talladega, sitting 37 points above the cutline, along with 35 points above eighth place. Hamlin has been strong at Super Speedways picking up five wins, including three Daytona 500 wins.

Past winners still fighting in playoffs

Along with Wallace, Blaney and Hamlin there is still another racer who has had major sucess at Talladega still fighting in the driver's playoff. Brad Keslowski, a six time winner at Talladega, which is tied for second with Dale Earnhardt Jr and only behind Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s 10 wins at the track.

In the owner's playoffs Chase Elliott's No. 9 Hendrick Chevrolet is ninth in the standings. Elliott is the YellaWood 500 defending champion and a two-time winner at the track. Wallace is not in the owners playoff.

Maxwell Donaldson covers high school sports and Jacksonville State athletics for the Gadsden Times. Find him on Twitter/X @_Max_Donaldson and contact him at

This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: How does the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings look going into Talladega