After a dramatic race at Kentucky Speedway in which Kurt Busch outran brother Kyle down the back stretch in overtime, the playoffs have one more guaranteed driver.
Kurt’s win was his first of the season and now there are eight drivers officially qualified for the playoffs in Joey Logano (two wins), Kyle (four wins), Brad Keselowski (three wins), Martin Truex Jr. (four wins), Denny Hamlin (two wins), Chase Elliott (one win) and Alex Bowman (one win).
This was a great race for Kurt as he earned a playoff spot but it was tougher for Erik Jones who sits on the bubble just outside of the playoffs. Jones was in contention in overtime but couldn’t quite pass the Busch brothers.
Daniel Suarez also had a tough race as he made a bad decision early as he took four tires on a pit stop after leading more than 40 laps to start. That decision dropped him back to 14th and he was never able to recover.
He is also currently on the outside looking in on the playoffs.
Below are the new standings following the Quaker State 400. Winners are in bold and guaranteed a playoff spot.
|No. 1||Joey Logano||2||746|
|No. 2||Kyle Busch||4||735|
|No. 3||Kevin Harvick||0||645|
|No. 4||Brad Keselowski||3||630|
|No. 5||Denny Hamlin||2||627|
|No. 6||Martin Truex Jr.||4||618|
|No. 7||Kurt Busch||1||618|
|No. 8||Chase Elliott||1||607|
|No. 9||Alex Bowman||1||554|
|No. 10||Aric Almirola||0||542|
|No. 11||Ryan Blaney||0||535|
|No. 12||William Byron||0||517|
|No. 13||Kyle Larson||0||511|
|No. 14||Clint Bowyer||0||481|
|No. 15||Jimmie Johnson||0||481|
|No. 16||Erik Jones||0||473|
|No. 17||Ryan Newman||0||471|
|No. 18||Daniel Suarez||0||469|
|No. 19||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||0||427|
|No. 20||Paul Menard||0||419|
|No. 21||Chris Buescher||0||396|
|No. 22||Austin Dillon||0||376|
|No. 23||Ty Dillon||0||321|
|No. 24||Daniel Hemric||0||308|
|No. 25||Matt DiBenedetto||0||297|
|No. 26||Ryan Preece||0||251|
|No. 27||Michael McDowell||0||234|
|No. 28||Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.||0||232|
|No. 29||Corey Lajoie||0||222|
|No. 30||David Ragan||0||216|
|No. 31||Matt Tifft||0||191|
|No. 32||Reed Sorenson||0||51|
|No. 33||Quin Houff||0||46|
|No. 34||J.J. Yeley||0||29|
|No. 35||Jamie McMurray||0||19|
|No. 36||Stanton Barrett||0||2|
|No. 37||Casey Mears||0||1|
Kyle Larson, who came into the race 14th in the playoff standings, did well by himself to earn a fourth-place finish and keep some distance on Clint Bowyer who finished sixth.
Bowyer’s sixth-place finish though won’t hurt him at all, he beat out Suarez who was eighth and came into the race 15th in the standings.
Ryan Newman was close behind in ninth so that should keep him in front of Suarez. He though did fall to the 17th spot in the standings, so he’ll need a good race next week to get back in.
Each finishing spot in the field earns driver points with the maximum being 40 for a win. These points accrue over the season as do owner points.
Drivers can also earn points based off of their finishes in the first two stages of the race. The driver who finishes first earns 10 points, the man who finishes in second earns nine and so on and so forth, points earned in those stages are then added to the points earned at the finish of a race.
The points are added up over all of the races and there is a reset after the regular-season finale in the 26th race. Drivers who have earned wins or finish in the top 16 of the Cup Series standings then move on to the playoffs.
Drivers accumulate playoff points earning five bonus points for a win and one for a stage win. Those points are added to a driver’s total at the start of the playoffs.
For a more in-depth look at how scoring works, click here.