NASCAR Cup Playoff update after Pocono

Jimmie Johnson won his first Stage since 2017, and only the second of his career Sunday.

Typical of this time of year, NASCAR’s playoff standings were shuffled only slightly in Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway. Five races remain before the 10-race playoffs begin: next weekend at Watkins Glen, then at Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and Indianapolis.

Nine drivers have won and thus earned one of the 16 playoff spots: Joey Logano, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. That leaves seven other drivers realistically within reach of the playoffs, either by winning at least one of the next five races or by regular-season points.

At ninth in points, Aric Almirola leads the winless “outside seven.” Ryan Blaney is second among winless drivers and 10th overall. William Byron is 12th, followed by Erik Jones in 13th, then Kyle Larson in 14th and Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman (tied for 15th-16th). Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is 17th-ranked, just 12 points behind Bowyer and Newman for the last transfer spot. Despite another dismal run at Pocono, he gained five points on the cutoff line.

It doesn’t much impact his playoff chances, but Keselowski dropped from fifth to sixth in points, swapping places with Truex Jr. Blaney moved from 11th to 10th, pushing Bowman (who already has a victory, so it doesn’t much matter) from 10th to 11th.  

The 16-driver, 10-race, four-round playoff opens Sept. 15 in Las Vegas.  It continues on Sept. 21 in Richmond and Sept. 29 on the roval at Charlotte. Round 2 for the 12 remaining contenders is Oct. 6 at Dover, Oct. 13 at Talladega and Oct. 20 at Kansas City. Round 3 for the last eight contenders is Oct. 27 at Martinsville, Nov. 3 at Fort Worth and Nov. 10 at Phoenix. The 2019 champion will be the highest-finishing driver from among the final four in the Ford Championship 400 on Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

Sights from the NASCAR action at Pocono Raceway, Sunday July 28, 2019

 

1. Joey Logano   824  
2. Kyle Busch   818 -6  
3. Kevin Harvick   739 -85  
4. Denny Hamlin   722 -102  
5. Martin Truex   701 -123
6. Brad Keselowski  695 -129
7. Kurt Busch  650 -174  
8. Chase Elliott   616 -208  
9. Aric Almirola  614 -210  
10. Ryan Blaney  599 -225  
11. Alex Bowman  596 -228  
12. William Byron   582 -242  
13. Erik Jones  559 -265  
14. Kyle Larson   557 -267  
15. Clint Bowyer   532 -292  
16. Ryan Newman  532 -292

—————————————
17. Jimmie Johnson 520 -12
18. Daniel Suarez 501 -33

 

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