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April 26, 2024

The Field of 16: Projecting the Cup Series Playoffs entering Dover

Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Bubba Wallace drive at Dover.
Tim Nwachukwu
Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Racing Insights’ playoff projections use a combination of current standings and historical performance at upcoming tracks to determine the probability of each driver winning or making the playoffs on points.

With the Cup Series Playoffs on the mind throughout the season, what if there was a way to project how the 16-driver field could look before each race weekend?

It now exists via Racing Insights. From now until the start of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, ‘The Field of 16’ will give fans a weekly look at where their favorite drivers could potentially land in the postseason field – and the likelihood of having a shot at the Bill France Cup.

Dover projections
Provided by Racing Insights

Here’s this week’s update on the projections heading into Dover Motor Speedway.


With multiple wins in 2024 already, William Byron and Denny Hamlin are safely into the Cup playoffs with 100% probability. Both drivers now have their eyes set on the regular-season title and the 15 bonus playoff points that come with it. After crashing out at Talladega, Hamlin fell three spots in the Cup standings and is now 51 points behind points leader Kyle Larson. Byron moved up to fourth and is 24 points behind his Hendrick teammate.


Tyler Reddick’s rousing Talladega victory last Sunday made it seven different winners through 10 races, tightening the playoff picture further for those on the outside looking in. Larson, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell and Daniel Suárez also fall into this category with a win each. All will be seeking more to fully lock in their spot in the event of more than 16 winners before the playoffs begin at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but if you’re a fan of these drivers, you can relax for the time being.

With the NASCAR circuit shifting to the Dover concrete this weekend, Martin Truex Jr. stands out as the next in line to grab a victory in 2024 as he’s collected four wins at his home track.

If Truex is the next new victor of the season Sunday, the pressure’s really going to be applied to a group of Ford drivers in Chris Buescher, Brad Keselowski and defending champion Ryan Blaney as they still seek to put the automaker in Victory Lane for the first time in 2024.

Ross Chastain could also grab the checkered flag Sunday as he’s scored top-three finishes in both Dover races in the Next Gen era.


Experience and championship pedigree may not matter in a few weeks’ time as multi-time champs Joey Logano and Kyle Busch sit at the bottom of those projected in the 16-driver field. It’s been a season of few positives for either driver as both share the same stats of a single top-five result and three top 10s. Based on how the two have performed so far this season, their best hopes may await at World Wide Technology Raceway in June as they split the first two checkered flags at the Illinois oval.

On the other hand, the majority of Toyota’s field has been pretty fast everywhere. May could be a huge month for both Ty Gibbs and Bubba Wallace as Kansas Speedway, Darlington Raceway and the Coca-Cola 600 are on the horizon.


Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, Erik Jones and Michael McDowell return as the frontrunners to stir up drama in the playoff field. Bowman is a recent winner at the Monster Mile, nabbing the victory in 2021.

Erik Jones will sit out Sunday’s race due to an injury following a wreck at Talladega last weekend. Corey Heim will sub for the veteran in his first Cup Series race.

Briscoe and McDowell haven’t fared well at Dover in the Next Gen era, but a good sign for Briscoe is that Stewart-Haas Racing has scored at least one top-1o result at all but one track a mile or smaller this season.


Bowman sticks out the most as the guy who can really make those near the bubble sweat as the heat of summer rapidly approaches. The driver of the No. 48 didn’t compete at Dover last year due to injury but finished fifth in 2022.

MORE: Racing Insights predicts Dover | 2024 Cup Series schedule

Give Ricky Stenhouse Jr. a long-shot look this Sunday. The No. 47 JTG Daugherty team gathered some much-needed momentum with a season-best top-five result at Talladega and Stenhouse was the runner-up at Dover in 2022.

Before each race weekend, check back into The Field of 16 to see the latest projections of the 2024 Cup Series playoff field.