All but two playoff spots have been spoken for as the NASCAR Cup Series prepares for the penultimate race of the regular season, the Firekeepers Casino 400, at Michigan International Speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin became the most recent driver to clinch and did so on points following Indianapolis.
RELATED: Driver standings entering Michigan
The following 14 drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell and Aric Almirola.
Can Clinch Via Points
If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the third winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from Denny Hamlin.
Kevin Harvick: Would clinch with 44 points.
Can Clinch Via Win
The following drivers would clinch on their win alone this weekend: Kevin Harvick, Tyler Reddick, Austin Dillon, Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher, Ross Chastain, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bubba Wallace, Chase Briscoe, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Ryan Newman, Ryan Preece, Cole Custer, Corey Lajoie and Anthony Alfredo.
Larson could clinch regular-season title this weekend
Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson has opened up his points lead over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in second in the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season driver standings by 22 points and has a chance this weekend at Michigan International Speedway to clinch the Regular Season Championship.
Larson needs to be at least 61 points ahead of the driver ranked second in the regular-season driver standings at the conclusion of the race at Michigan.
It will be tough for Larson to accumulate that many points on Hamlin this weekend at Michigan because both have run well at the 2-mile track. Larson has made 12 series starts at Michigan posting three wins (2016, 2017 sweep), five top fives and six top 10s. His average finish is 12.4 — fourth-best among active drivers. Hamlin has made 30 series starts at Michigan putting up two wins (2010, 2011), nine top fives and 15 top 10s. His average finish is 13.1 — sixth-best among active drivers.