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William Byron stands on the grid
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

William Byron’s rise adds to playoff position comfort

For the past seven races, William Byron has held steady at 12th in the driver standings. That’s good enough for the second-year driver to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs, but also close enough to the cutline where there is still room for concern.

But in that span, since the Chicagoland race where Byron finished eighth, he’s also seen his padding on the cutline grow by 50 points.

In all, his swing on the cutline in the last 11 races has been 104 points, according to Racing Insights.

RELATED: Driver standings

Byron has had six top 10s in that span, started on the pole twice (Charlotte and Pocono-1), logged a runner-up finish at the Daytona summer race and earned the ire of Kyle Busch at Watkins Glen. Even that last one can count as a huge accomplishment because it means he’s a factor in races that the 2015 NASCAR champ can’t ignore.

If it continues, it looks like Byron will dispel any speculation of the dreaded Sophomore Slump and qualify for the playoffs in his second season of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing.

A closer look at the rise of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver in the last 11 races:

Track Race finish Standing Position  +/- Cutline
Kansas 20 19 -15
Charlotte 9 15 +7
Pocono-1 9 14 +19
Michigan-1 18 14 +22
Sonoma 19 14 +29
Chicago 8 12 +39
Daytona-2 2 12 +58
Kentucky 18 12 +46
New Hampshire 12 12 +61
Pocono-2 4 12 +62
Watkins Glen 21 12 +60
Michigan-2 8 12 +89