Where Cup playoff drivers stand heading to ISM Raceway

Dustin Long

One last chance remains for six drivers to claim the final two spots in the championship race. That comes Sunday at ISM Raceway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC). Two spots are filled. Who will join them in Miami for the chance to win the Cup title?

 

MOVING ON

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Kevin Harvick’s victory at Texas moves him into the championship race for the third consecutive year and the fifth time in the six years of the playoff format. He joins Martin Truex Jr. in the title race.

 

MORE OF THE SAME?

Last year’s championship field had Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, who won the title. Harvick and Truex have clinched spots in this year’s title race. Busch and Logano are in position to advance and Busch won at ISM Raceway in March. If all four return, it would mark the first time in the playoff era that the same four drivers made it to back-to-back title races.

 

THREE OF A KIND

Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson are in a similar situation outside the cutoff line. Hamlin trails Joey Logano by 20 points for the final transfer spot. Blaney and Larson are each 23 points behind Logano for that spot. If they need inspiration, they can look to the previous round. Chase Elliott entered the final race of the previous round 24 points behind Brad Keselowski for a transfer spot and took Keselowski’s spot.

 

HAIL MARY

The only way Chase Elliott will qualify for the title race is by winning at ISM Raceway. He started second there in the spring and finished 14th. Crew chief Alan Gustafson has won at Phoenix with Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon. Only once since the playoff format debuted in 2014 has a driver needing to win at ISM Raceway to advance to the title race done so. Kevin Harvick did it in 2014 and won the championship the next week in Miami.

 

POINTS

4133 — Martin Truex Jr. (advanced to Miami with win)

4113 — Kevin Harvick (advanced to Miami with win)

4113 — Kyle Busch

4111 — Joey Logano

4091 — Denny Hamlin

4088 — Ryan Blaney

4088 — Kyle Larson

4033 — Chase Elliott

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