NCS Playoff Bubble: Spots for the postseason are dwindling

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Last weekend at the Circuit of the Americas the NASCAR Cup Series welcomed its 11th different winner in 14 races this season. Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott is now locked into the postseason and has the opportunity to become the first driver to win consecutive title since his former teammate Jimmie Johnson accomplished the feat from 2006-2010. Elliott’s win also dwindles the number of available spots for this season’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, now down to five total – four by virtue of points or a win and one reserved for the points leader (currently Denny Hamlin).

Following Circuit of The Americas, Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick strengthened his grip on 16th in driver standings – the final transfer position to the Playoffs – by 38 points over Wood Brothers Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto in 17th.

The most successful driver at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the Playoff bubble still looking for his first win of the 2021 season is Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick. Harvick is currently a comfortable 132 points ahead of the Playoff cutoff heading into this weekend. Harvick has made 38 series starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway posting three wins, nine top fives and 19 top 10s. He finished fifth in the Coca-Cola 600 last season. 

2021 Driver Playoff Outlook Following Race No. 14 – Drivers Without Wins
RankDriverPointsWinsStagesPlayoff PtsPts From Cutoff
12Denny Hamlin597055301
13Kevin Harvick428000132
14Austin Dillon36600070
15Chris Buescher33801142
16Tyler Reddick33400038
17Matt DiBenedetto296011-38
18Kurt Busch286000-48
19Ricky Stenhouse Jr.281000-53
20Ross Chastain276000-58
21Ryan Newman273000-61
22* Ryan Preece254000-80
23Bubba Wallace250011-84
24Daniel Suarez246000-88
25Chase Briscoe #237000-97
26Erik Jones224000-110
27Cole Custer220000-114
28Aric Almirola180000-154
29Anthony Alfredo #153000-181
30Corey LaJoie150000-184

Harvick is not the only former Charlotte winner looking for a win this season, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon won the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch won the 2010 Coca-Cola 600. Dillon has made 12 series starts at Charlotte posting a win and three top 10s; he finished 14th in the Coke 600 last season. Kurt Busch has made 39 series starts at Charlotte posting one win, eight top fives and 15 top 10s. 

Kurt Busch’s brother Kyle is the only driver in series history to win in all three NASCAR national series at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Three Cup drivers looking for their first wins of the 2021 season that have won at Charlotte in the NASCAR Xfinity Series previously, are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Tyler Reddick. 

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