Playoff Points: New Hampshire Motor Speedway 1 Edition

Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Following each regular season points race, Kickin’ the Tires takes a deep look at the current playoff grids for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, evaluating each team’s postseason odds and highlighting those that made steps in the right direction, as well as those who dug themselves into a hole. 

Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Event: Overton’s 301

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin

Stage Winner(s): Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch

Who Won Big

Matt Kenseth’s playoff odds took a swing in the right direction. (Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

  • Denny Hamlin: Welcome to the playoffs, Denny. The Joe Gibbs Racing veteran officially stamped his playoff bid with a New Hampshire win, earned five playoff points in the process and jumped up to fifth in the championship standings.
  • Matt Kenseth: He may not have made a statement, but Kenseth’s strong day in New Hampshire was critical for the 2003 MENCS champion’s playoff hopes, elevating him to a 52-point edge over Joey Logano for the current final spot in the postseason field.
  • Martin Truex, Jr.: A late tire issue arguably cost Truex a shot at the win, but the Mayetta, New Jersey still left the northeast with another stage win, as well as a 38-point edge for first in the championship standings.

 Who Hurt Their Odds:

  • Joey Logano: Forget the fact that his failed part was taken by NASCAR for review – Logano’s dreadful finish at his home track left the encumbered winner trapped 52 points out of a playoff spot on points. Logano’s made the Championship 4 in two of the past three years, but may need a late win to make the playoffs at all this season.
  • Erik Jones: What a brutal blow. Jones’ early exit due to a tire issue left the rookie 97 points out of a playoff spot heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His season’s been impressive, but Jones will likely need a victory to make his playoff debut.
  • Jamie McMurray: No massive issues befell McMurray, but a subpar 17th-place run left the 2010 Daytona 500 champion within 50 points of Clint Bowyer and Kenseth. The Chip Ganassi Racing shoe is still safe for now, but one issue and a surprise winner could change everything.

Playoff Standings: 

Rank Driver Wins Points Points Ahead/Behind Cutoff
1 Martin Truex, Jr. 3 758 286
9 Jimmie Johnson 3 552 80
2 Kyle Larson 2 720 248
8 Brad Keselowski 2 564 92
15 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 2 441 -31
4 Kevin Harvick 1 639 167
5 Denny Hamlin 1 589 117
12 Ryan Blaney 1 486 14
14 Kurt Busch 1 455 -17
16 Ryan Newman 1 428 -44
20 Austin Dillon 1 363 -109
3 Kyle Busch 0 650 178
6 Chase Elliott 0 587 115
7 Jamie McMurray 0 572 100
10 Clint Bowyer 0 526 54
11 Matt Kenseth 0 524 52
Playoff Cutoff
13 Joey Logano 1* 472 -52
17 Erik Jones 0 427 -97
18 Daniel Suarez 0 404 -120
19 Trevor Bayne 0 369 -155
21 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 0 351 -173
22 Kasey Kahne 0 343 -181
23 Paul Menard 0 324 -200
24 Ty Dillon 0 322 -202
25 Michael McDowell 0 286 -238
26 Chris Buescher 0 283 -241
27 A.J. Allmendinger 0 275 -249
28 Danica Patrick 0 254 -270
29 David Ragan 0 250 -274
30 (tie) Matt DiBenedetto/Landon Cassill 0 203 -321

Where They Stand

(All But) Locked In

  •  Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.,  Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon
    • Race Winners
  • Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray

Safe (For Now)

More Work to Do

  • Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth
    • Kenseth’s strong day helped him establish a large gap on the playoff bubble, but one slip (or surprise winner) could change everything.

On the Bubble

Within Reach 

  • Joey Logano
    • What appeared to be Logano’s best shot at a non-encumbered win instead ended with only a lone point to show for it. Logano could make the playoffs on points, but will probably need some misfortune for Kenseth or Bowyer to pull it off.

Likely Need to Win

  • Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Trevor Bayne, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher, A.J. Allmendinger, Danica Patrick, David Ragan, Matt DiBenedetto, Landon Cassill

Playoff Points

Playoff Points Earned
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex, Jr. 29 (+1)
2 Jimmie Johnson 16
3 (tie) Kyle Larson 13
3 (tie) Brad Keselowski 13
5 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 10
6 (tie) Ryan Blaney 8
6 (tie) Kevin Harvick 8
8 Denny Hamlin 7 (+5)
9 (tie) Kurt Busch 5
9 (tie) Ryan Newman 5
9 (tie) Austin Dillon 5
9 (tie) Kyle Busch 5 (+1)
13 (tie) Chase Elliott 2
13 (tie) Matt Kenseth 2
15 Joey Logano 1

Denny Hamlin’s first win under Monster Energy’s NASCAR reign guarantees the Virginian a playoff spot. (Photo: Rusty Jarrett/NKP)

Playoff Points if Playoffs Started Today
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 44
2 Kyle Larson 23
3 Jimmie Johnson 18
4 Brad Keselowski 16
5 Kevin Harvick 15
6 Kyle Busch 13
10 Denny Hamlin 13
7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 10
8 (tie) Ryan Blaney 8
8 (tie) Chase Elliott 7
11 (tie) Kurt Busch 5
11 (tie) Ryan Newman 5
11 (tie) Austin Dillon 5
11 (tie) Jamie McMurray 4
15 (tie) Matt Kenseth 2
15 (tie) Clint Bowyer 1

Stage Points

Previous Race Results

Stage 1 Stage 2
Pos. Driver Points Pos. Driver Points
1 Martin Truex, Jr. 10 (+1 Playoff Point) 1 Kyle Busch 10 (+1 Playoff Point)
2 Matt Kenseth 9 2 Denny Hamlin 9
3 Kyle Larson 8 3 Kevin Harvick 8
4 Jamie McMurray 7 4 Kurt Busch 7
5 Kyle Busch 6 5 Jimmie Johnson 6
6 Kasey Kahne 5 6 Martin Truex, Jr. 5
7 Ryan Newman 4 7 Matt Kenseth 4
8 Ryan Blaney 3 8 Ryan Blaney 3
9 Denny Hamlin 2 9 Kyle Larson 2
10 Chase Elliott 1 10 Clint Bowyer 1

Season Totals

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stage Points
Driver Total Stage Points* Stage Wins
Martin Truex Jr. 250 14
Kyle Larson 219 3
Kyle Busch 184 5
Kevin Harvick 157 3
Brad Keselowski 145 3
Ryan Blaney 130 3
Matt Kenseth 128 2
Jimmie Johnson 126 1
Chase Elliott 115 2
Denny Hamlin 119 2
Jamie McMurray 106
Joey Logano 83 1
Erik Jones 65
Kurt Busch 62
Clint Bowyer 53
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 35
Ryan Newman 33
Kasey Kahne 29
Austin Dillon 19
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 17
AJ Allmendinger 16
Trevor Bayne 15
Danica Patrick 10
David Ragan 7
Ty Dillon 5
Michael McDowell 5
Paul Menard 4
Daniel Suarez 4

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