Back to News

August 17, 2023

Clinch scenarios for Cup Series, Xfinity Series drivers at Watkins Glen


Michael McDowell’s breakthrough win last week at the Indianapolis Road Course locked the Front Row Motorsports driver and the No. 34 team into the postseason field and helped make the scenarios for Watkins Glen this week a little more clear.

For Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, who sit in the provisional postseason grid but without a win, a victory by either locks both drivers into the postseason. If a driver already in the playoffs wins, both veterans would also lock in. But if a driver below the elimination line is victorious? Buckle up for Daytona.

With two races remaining in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, 13 playoff spots are locked up. Those 13 drivers are Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

With the series heading to Watkins Glen for the penultimate regular-season race, here’s a look at the playoff-clinching scenarios.

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 Kevin Harvick or Brad Keselowski.

Kevin Harvick: Would clinch regardless of finish
Brad Keselowski: Would clinch regardless of finish

If there is a new winner from Bubba Wallace or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the playoffs, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the second winless driver in the standings.

Kevin Harvick: Could only clinch with help

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone: Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suárez, Ty Gibbs, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Justin Haley, Aric Almirola, Ryan Preece, Corey LaJoie, Todd Gilliland, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon, Harrison Burton, Chase Briscoe and Ty Dillon.

Can clinch Regular-Season Championship

The Regular-Season Championship could be clinched by the following drivers:

Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 56 points

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

More spots are up for grabs in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, which still has four regular-season races remaining and eight available playoff spots. Here’s an extensive look ahead of the series’ road-course race at Watkins Glen.

The following four drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: Austin Hill, John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer.

Can clinch via previous wins

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Austin Hill, John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Josh Berry, Sam Mayer, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith and Jeb Burton:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Sammy Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Jeb Burton: Would clinch regardless of finish

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Daniel Hemric, Riley Herbst, Sheldon Creed, Parker Kligerman or Brandon Jones:
Sam Mayer: Could only clinch with help
Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Brett Moffitt:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch with 37 points
Chandler Smith: Could only clinch with help

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Kaz Grala:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 39 points

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Parker Retzlaff:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 19 points

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Ryan Sieg:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch with 3 points
Sammy Smith: Could only clinch with help

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Jeremy Clements:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Sammy Smith: Would clinch with 33 points

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Josh Williams:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Sammy Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Jeb Burton: Would clinch with 5 points

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Anthony Alfredo:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Sammy Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Jeb Burton: Would clinch with 3 points

The following drivers could clinch on previous wins with a win by Joe Graf Jr. or Brennan Poole:
Sam Mayer: Would clinch regardless of finish
Chandler Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Sammy Smith: Would clinch regardless of finish
Jeb Burton: Would clinch regardless of finish

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:
Josh Berry, Sam Mayer, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith and Jeb Burton

The following drivers could clinch with a win:
Daniel Hemric: Could only clinch with help

MUST WATCH