Two races in the second round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are in the books, and two drivers can breathe a sigh of relief heading into next weekend’s elimination race.
Ryan Blaney won Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway and clinched a berth in the third round along with William Byron, who won the second-round opener at Texas Motor Speedway.
The series now heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a race on the Roval – the part road course, part oval circuit that will conclude the Round of 12.
The four playoff drivers with the fewest points following the Roval race will be eliminated from contention, leaving eight drivers to continue their championship push.
How do the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs work?
The playoffs consist of 10 races, starting with 16 drivers. The first nine races are broken up into three rounds with three races apiece, with winners automatically advancing to the next round. Four drivers will be eliminated after the third, sixth and ninth races, leaving a final four to battle for the championship on Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway.
What are the standings after the fifth playoff race?
Here are the points after Sunday's race at Talladega, the second race of the second round (*-former champion; x-clinched spot in Round of 8):
x-William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports — 3,136 points
x-Ryan Blaney, Team Penske — 3,078 points
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing — 3,108 points
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing — 3,080 points
Chris Buescher, RFK Racing — 3,077 points
Martin Truex Jr.*, Joe Gibbs Racing — 3,075 points
Kyle Larson*, Hendrick Motorsports — 3,073 points
Brad Keselowski*, RFK Racing — 3,060 points
Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing — 3,058 points
Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing — 3,051 points
Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing — 3,050 points
Kyle Busch*, Richard Childress Racing — 3,034 points
What TV channels are the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs on?
The final five playoff races will be on NBC.
Will there be live streams of the NASCAR Cup Series playoff races?
All playoff races can be live streamed on the NBC Sports website and the NBC Sports app.
What is the NASCAR Cup Series playoff schedule?
With dates, track, time and TV network; All times Eastern.
Sunday, Sept. 3: Darlington Raceway (1.366-mile oval). Winner: Kyle Larson
Sunday, Sept. 10: Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile oval). Winner: Tyler Reddick
Saturday, Sept. 16: Bristol Motor Speedway (0.533-mile oval). Winner: Denny Hamlin
Sunday, Sept. 24: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval). Winner: William Byron
Sunday, Oct. 1: Talladega Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval). Winner: Ryan Blaney
Sunday, Oct. 8: Charlotte Motor Speedway (2.28-mile road course/oval), 2 p.m., NBC
Sunday, Oct. 15: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval), 2:30 p.m., NBC
Sunday, Oct. 22: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval), 2:30 p.m., NBC
Sunday, Oct. 29: Martinsville Speedway (0.526-mile oval), 2 p.m., NBC
Sunday, Nov. 5: Phoenix Raceway – championship race (1-mile oval), 3 p.m., NBC
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NASCAR playoffs: Drivers points, standings, schedule for second round