Playoff Points: Pocono 2 Edition

Matthew T. Thacker/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: Pocono Raceway

Event: Overton’s 400

Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Stage Winner(s): Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer

Who Won Big

Welcome to the playoffs, Kyle Busch. (Photo: Rusty Jarrett/NKP)

  • Kyle Busch: After a year of close calls ‘Rowdy’ and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team finally delivered. The group stamped their postseason bid, and earned six playoff points in the process. Not bad for a driver that had never conquered the Tricky Triangle entering the weekend.
  • Clint Bowyer: He’s still searching for his first win, but Bowyer made steps towards rejoining the playoff field with his first stage win of the year and a sixth-place finish.

 Who Hurt Their Odds:

  • Jamie McMurray: After a strong start to the year, McMurray’s gap to the playoff bubble is shrinking slightly with each passing week. A 26th-place run on Sunday brought the 2010 Daytona 500 champion to within 38 points of the postseason cutoff.
  • Joey Logano: After making the Championship 4 in two of the past three years, Logano is in serious danger of missing the postseason altogether due to a poor summer stretch and an encumbered victory. The Team Penske shoe’s 27th-place run at Pocono have him trapped 69 points out of a playoff spot.
  • Jimmie Johnson: He’s already guaranteed into the playoff field with three early wins, but Johnson’s third crash in four weeks have the El Cajon, California native outside of the top 10 in points – a notable drop considering the bonus playoff points that will accompany the top 10 at the end of the regular season.

Playoff Standings: 

Rank Driver Wins Points Points Ahead/Behind Cutoff
1 Martin Truex, Jr. 3 823 246
11 Jimmie Johnson 3 566 -11
2 Kyle Larson 2 738 161
5 Brad Keselowski 2 649 72
17 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 2 468 -109
3 Kevin Harvick 1 726 149
4 Kyle Busch 1 723 146
6 Denny Hamlin 1 649 72
12 Ryan Blaney 1 529 -48
14 Kurt Busch 1 494 -83
15 Ryan Newman 1 491 -86
19 Kasey Kahne 1 414 -163
21 Austin Dillon 1 395 -182
7 Chase Elliott 0 616 39
8 Jamie McMurray 0 615 38
9 Matt Kenseth 0 594 17
Playoff Cutoff
10 Clint Bowyer 0 577 -17
13 Joey Logano 1* 525 -69
16 Erik Jones 0 469 -125
18 Daniel Suarez 0 464 -130
20 Trevor Bayne 0 406 -188
22 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 0 378 -216
23 Paul Menard 0 363 -231
24 Ty Dillon 0 360 -234
25 Michael McDowell 0 326 -268
26 Chris Buescher 0 320 -274
27 A.J. Allmendinger 0 317 -277
28 Danica Patrick 0 310 -284
29 David Ragan 0 266 -328
30 Matt DiBenedetto 0 233 -361

Where They Stand

Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 team continue to hold on to the final playoff spot. (Photo: Rusty Jarrett/NKP)

(All But) Locked In

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

Safe (For Now)

More Work to Do

  • Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray
    • These two continue to drift closer to the playoff bubble.

On the Bubble

  • Matt Kenseth
    • Kenseth was lucky to escape his Lap 1 crash without any debilitating damage. Crisis averted.

Within Reach 

  • Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano
    • Bowyer made small gains with a strong strategy play in Stage 2 and a good run to the finish.

Likely Need to Win

  • Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Trevor Bayne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher, 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
3 (tie) Kyle Busch 13
6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 10
7 (tie) Ryan Blaney 8
7 (tie) Kevin Harvick 8
9 Denny Hamlin 7
10 (tie) Kurt Busch 5
10 (tie) Ryan Newman 5
10 (tie) Austin Dillon 5
10 (tie) Kasey Kahne 5
14 (tie) Chase Elliott 2
14 (tie) Matt Kenseth 2
16 (tie) Joey Logano 1
16 (tie) Clint Bowyer 1

Clint Bowyer earned his first playoff point at Pocono Raceway, but isn’t currently in a position to benefit from it. (Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/NKP)

Playoff Points if Playoffs Started Today
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 44
2 Kyle Larson 23
3 Kyle Busch 20
4 Brad Keselowski 19
5 Jimmie Johnson 17
6 Kevin Harvick 16
7 Denny Hamlin 12
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 10
9 Ryan Blaney 8
10 Chase Elliott 6
11 (tie) Kurt Busch 5
11 (tie) Ryan Newman 5
11 (tie) Austin Dillon 5
11 (tie) Kasey Kahne 5
15 (tie) Matt Kenseth 4
16 Jamie McMurray 3

Stage Points

Previous Race Results

Stage 1 Stage 2
Pos. Driver Points Pos. Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 10 (+1 Playoff Point) 1 Clint Bowyer 10 (+1 Playoff Point)
2 Martin Truex Jr. 9 2 Brad Keselowski 9
3 Kevin Harvick 8 3 Danica Patrick 8
4 Brad Keselowski 7 4 Kurt Busch 7
5 Ryan Blaney 6 5 Ryan Newman 6
6 Jamie McMurray 5 6 Kasey Kahne 5
7 Denny Hamlin 4 7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 4
8 Clint Bowyer 3 8 Trevor Bayne 3
9 Kyle Larson 2 9 Michael McDowell 2
10 Chase Elliott 1 10 A.J. Allmendinger 1

Season Totals

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stage Points
Driver Total Stage Points Stage Wins
Martin Truex Jr. 277 14
Kyle Larson 224 3
Kyle Busch 214 8
Kevin Harvick 180 3
Brad Keselowski 163 3
Ryan Blaney 152 3
Matt Kenseth 138 2
Jimmie Johnson 128 1
Denny Hamlin 126 2
Chase Elliott 116 2
Jamie McMurray 116
Joey Logano 93 1
Erik Jones 72
Kurt Busch 69
Clint Bowyer 66 1
Ryan Newman 39
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 36
Kasey Kahne 34
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 21
Austin Dillon 19
Trevor Bayne 18
Danica Patrick 18
AJ Allmendinger 17
David Ragan 7
Michael McDowell 7
Ty Dillon 5
Paul Menard 4
Daniel Suarez 4

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