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How the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Grid Challenge works

During the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, fans have the first-ever opportunity to compete in The Playoffs Grid™ Challenge presented by Ruoff Mortage on their own or as part of a created league.

Fans can enter by visiting The Playoffs Grid™ Challenge page beginning Monday, Aug. 30 and registering for a free NASCAR.com account before filling out a bracket. From there, choose from a list of playoff-eligible drivers round by round and you’re on your way to compete for prizes!

RELATED: How the NASCAR Playoffs work

Why do I need an account?

Registering for an account allows you to score points and keep track of your progress throughout the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Additionally, a NASCAR.com account allows you to keep track of the latest news, customize updates and learn inside information throughout the playoffs and beyond. If you already have a registered NASCAR.com account, simply logging in with the same credentials will allow you to compete without additional steps or the creation of a new account.

Can I create multiple entries?

All entrants are eligible to create up to three entries per person.

Does The Playoffs Grid™ Challenge work on mobile?

Participants are able to access the challenge and fill out brackets on mobile web and desktop applications.

Can I set up a league? 

In addition to joining the overall leaderboard, participants can create their own leagues to compete with friends and others throughout the community. Leagues can be public and available for anyone to join or private and password protected. To join or create a league, follow the instructions on the Leagues tab. There, you can see participants, standings and point totals for each of your league entries. Creating or joining a league does not impact the eligibility to win prizes.

When do I make my picks?

The Playoffs Grid™ Challenge is conducted in a round-by-round format, mirroring the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs elimination rounds. Beginning with the first opportunity to register on Aug. 30, each round has a window for participants to make their picks. When choosing drivers, list them in the correct order you think they will finish in.

Selections for the playoff-opening Round of 16 (drivers you believe will advance to the Round of 12) can be submitted before 6 p.m. ET on Sept. 5. Not long after the elimination at Bristol Motor Speedway, points are awarded and the Round of 12 selections (drivers you believe will advance to the Round of 8) will open until 7 p.m. ET on Sept. 26. After the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, Round of 8 selections (drivers you believe will make it to the Championship 4) will be available until 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 17. The Championship 4 and final round opens after the race at Martinsville Speedway (picking the driver you believe will win the title) and must be submitted by 3 p.m. ET on Nov. 7

What am I picking? When does it open? When does it close?
Which drivers from the Round of 16 will advance to the Round of 12? The Playoffs Grid™ Challenge launches Monday, August 30. Participants, start your selections! Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. ET — before the elimination race at Darlington Raceway
Which drivers from the Round of 12 will advance to the Round of 8? Within 12 hours of the race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 18 Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. ET — before the elimination race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Which drivers from the Round of 8 will advance to the Championship 4? Within 12 hours of the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on Oct. 10 Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. ET — before the elimination race at Texas Motor Speedway
Which driver will win the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship? Within 12 hours of the race at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 31 Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. ET — before the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway

RELATED: Cup Series schedule | Cup Series Playoffs hub

Is there a points system?

Yes. During each round, participants will earn points based on their selections. Participants will receive 10 points for each driver correctly selected to advance to the next round of the playoffs, except for the Championship Round™. For the final round, all coming down to the finale at Phoenix Raceway, the correct driver chosen to win the 2021 Cup Series championship earns participants 40 points.

Five bonus points (per correct pick) are also awarded for arranging playoff drivers in the correct finishing order and one point for finishes one spot before or after. Points carry from round to round, and the eligible participant with the most points at the end of the Championship Round™ will be declared the winner.

Scoring factors in official finishing order after post-race inspection.

What are the prizes I can win for competing? 

Cash prizes for The Playoffs Grid™ Challenge are awarded to the top three eligible entrants in the overall standings. One first-place winner will receive $10,000, one second-place winner will receive $5,000 and one third-place winner will receive $2,500. Participants can track their place in the standings with the live leaderboard throughout each round of the playoffs. Accounts listed in the top three positions — or any other position — may not necessarily be the top participants eligible to win prizes.

See the official rules for additional information on eligibility, prizes and tiebreak procedures.

RELATED: Analyzing the 16-driver field

Who are the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs drivers?

Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Michael McDowell, Christopher Bell, Aric Almirola, Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick.