Playoff Points: Indianapolis Motor Speedway 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: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Event: Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

Race Winner: Kasey Kahne

Stage Winner(s): Kyle Busch (Won Both Stages)

Who Won Big

Kasey Kahne’s day at the Brickyard finally came, sealing his place in the playoffs. (Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

  • Kasey Kahne: Talk about asking of events. Kahne spent the better part of the season dropping down the standings as rumors of his potential exit from the No. 5 Chevrolet buzzed. One fortuitous caution and a tremendous drive later Kahne’s in the playoffs with previously stale career suddenly full of life.
  • Matt Kenseth: Kenseth lost a large part of his cushion on the playoff bubble with Kahne’s surprise win, but the Wisconsinite’s good day proved enough to keep him on the right side of the cutoff by 33 points.

 Who Hurt Their Odds:

Chase Elliott and Clint Bowyer suffered setbacks in Indianapolis. (Photo: Russell LaBounty/NKP)

  • Clint Bowyer: Bowyer took more than just a big hit on-track when he crashed off of Turn 4 on Sunday. The Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver also suffered a major blow in the standings, falling 33 points out of the playoff grid after Kahne’s win shortened the openings on points by one spot.
  • Chase Elliott: He still has a decent cushion in the standings, but Elliott’s first engine failure – partnered with teammate Kahne’s win – have the Georgian feeling the playoff heat for the first time of the summer.
  • Kyle Busch: Starting on pole after back-to-back wins at the Brickyard, ‘Rowdy’ was the obvious favorite entering the day. So when Busch crashed out – continuing his winless streak beyond a year – his frustration was understandable. Still, it’ll likely take 16 or 17 different winners to keep the 2015 MENCS champion out of the playoff field.

Playoff Standings: 

Rank Driver Wins Points Points Ahead/Behind Cutoff
1 Martin Truex Jr. 3 780 247
10 Jimmie Johnson 3 564 31
2 Kyle Larson 2 732 199
6 Brad Keselowski 2 601 68
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 443 -90
3 Kevin Harvick 1 683 150
5 Denny Hamlin 1 612 79
12 Ryan Blaney 1 516 -17
14 Kurt Busch 1 463 -70
15 Ryan Newman 1 462 -71
20 Kasey Kahne 1 383 -150
21 Austin Dillon 1 379 -154
4 Kyle Busch 0 673 140
7 Jamie McMurray 0 599 66
8 Chase Elliott 0 588 55
9 Matt Kenseth 0 566 33
Playoff Cutoff
11 Clint Bowyer 0 533 -33
13 Joey Logano 1* 515 -51
17 Erik Jones 0 440 -126
18 Daniel Suarez 0 434 -132
19 Trevor Bayne 0 386 -180
22 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 0 353 -213
23 Paul Menard 0 345 -221
24 Ty Dillon 0 340 -226
25 Chris Buescher 0 311 -255
26 Michael McDowell 0 305 -261
27 A.J. Allmendinger 0 302 -264
28 Danica Patrick 0 280 -286
29 David Ragan 0 251 -315
30 Matt DiBenedetto 0 232 -334

Where They Stand

Kasey Kahne is the 12th driver to essentially lock himself into the playoffs with a win. 
(Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

(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, Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon
    • Race Winners
  • Kyle Busch

Safe (For Now)

More Work to Do

  • Jamie McMurray, Chase Elliott
    • McMurray and Elliott fall closer to potential elimination as the number of available playoff spots on points decreases.

On the Bubble

  • Matt Kenseth
    • Back-to-back strong runs have kept Kenseth afloat. Can he navigate the final stretch of the summer without any issues or another surprise winner?

Within Reach 

  • Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano
    • Bowyer’s had a strong debut year with SHR, but

Likely Need to Win

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

Playoff Points

Playoff Points Earned
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex, Jr. 29
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 (tie) Denny Hamlin 7
8 (tie) Kyle Busch 7 (+2)
10 (tie) Kurt Busch 5
10 (tie) Ryan Newman 5
10 (tie) Austin Dillon 5
10 (tie) Kasey Kahne 5 (+5)
14 (tie) Chase Elliott 2
14 (tie) Matt Kenseth 2
16 Joey Logano 1

Bad crash aside. Martin Truex Jr. still holds a clear edge in playoff points. (Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Playoff Points if Playoffs Started Today
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 44
2 Kyle Larson 23
3 Brad Keselowski 18
4 Jimmie Johnson 17
5 Kevin Harvick 16
6 Kyle Busch 14
7 Denny Hamlin 13
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 10
9 Ryan Blaney 8
10 (tie) Chase Elliott 5
10 (tie) Kurt Busch 5
10 (tie) Ryan Newman 5
10 (tie) Austin Dillon 5
10 (tie) Kasey Kahne 5
15 (tie) Jamie McMurray 4
15 (tie) Matt Kenseth 4

Stage Points

Previous Race Results

Stage 1 Stage 2
Pos. Driver Points Pos. Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 10 (+1 Playoff Point) 1 Kyle Busch 10 (+1 Playoff Point)
2 Martin Truex Jr. 9 2 Martin Truex, Jr. 9
3 Ryan Blaney 8 3 Ryan Blaney 8
4 Kevin Harvick 7 4 Erik Jones 7
5 Joey Logano 6 5 Kevin Harvick 6
6 Matt Kenseth 5 6 Matt Kenseth 5
7 Jamie McMurray 4 7 Joey Logano 4
8 Kyle Larson 3 8 Denny Hamlin 3
9 Jimmie Johnson 2 9 Brad Keselowski 2
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 10 Jamie McMurray 1

Season Totals

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stage Points
Driver Total Stage Points* Stage Wins
Martin Truex Jr. 268 14
Kyle Larson 222 3
Kyle Busch 204 7
Kevin Harvick 172 3
Brad Keselowski 147 3
Ryan Blaney 146 3
Matt Kenseth 138 2
Jimmie Johnson 128 1
Denny Hamlin 122 2
Chase Elliott 115 2
Jamie McMurray 111
Joey Logano 93 1
Erik Jones 72
Kurt Busch 62
Clint Bowyer 53
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 36
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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