Playoff Points: Richmond 2 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: Richmond Raceway

Event: Federated Auto Parts 400

Race Winner: Kyle Larson

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

Who Won Big

‘Two-Mile Kyle’ no more – Kyle Larson soared into the postseason with his fourth win of 2017. (Photo: Barry Cantrell / Harrelson Photography Inc.)

  • Kyle Larson: Another strong late surge after a fortuitous yellow lifted Larson to his fourth win of the year, leading to the Chip Ganassi Racing ace entering the postseason with the second-highest playoff point total at 33.
  • Kyle Busch Martin Truex Jr.: Neither of the Toyota Racing favorites managed to pull into victory lane, but both scored stage wins that added to their lofty playoff point totals.
  • Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth: It wasn’t always pretty – don’t ask Kenseth how he feels about ambulances – but each of these three drivers did enough to score the few playoff positions available on points. That’s not the way they wanted to enter the playoffs, but it’s better to be in and winless than out and suffering the same fate.

Who Hurt Their Odds:

  • Everyone Outside of the Playoff Grid: No more hopes for a surprise victory and a playoff surge. For the 14 eligible drivers that couldn’t sneak into the playoff grids, race wins and momentum are all that remain for the year.

Playoff Standings: 

Rank Driver Wins (In Round) Points Points Ahead/Behind Cutoff
1 Martin Truex Jr. 4 2053 48
2 Kyle Larson 4 2033 28
3 Kyle Busch 2 2029 24
4 Brad Keselowski 2 2019 14
5 Jimmie Johnson 3 2017 12
6 Kevin Harvick 1 2015 10
7 Denny Hamlin 2 2013 8
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 2010 5
9 Ryan Blaney 1 2008 3
10 Chase Elliott 0 2006 1
11 (tie) Ryan Newman 1 2005 0
11 (tie) Kurt Busch 1 2005 0
Round of 12 Cutoff
11 (tie) Kasey Kahne 1 2005 0
11 (tie) Austin Dillon 1 2005 0
11 (tie) Matt Kenseth 0 2005 0
16 Jamie McMurray 0 2003 -2

Where They Stand

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff field has been set. (Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Safe (For Now)

  • Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch
    • This trio enter the postseason with healthy advantage on playoff points.

On the Bubble

  • Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch

Within Reach 

  • Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray

Likely Need to Win

Playoff Points

Total Playoff Points
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 53
2 Kyle Larson 33
3 Kyle Busch 29
4 Brad Keselowski 19
5 Jimmie Johnson 17
6 Kevin Harvick 15
7 Jimmie Johnson 13
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
11 (tie) Matt Kenseth 5
16 Jamie McMurray 3

Martin Truex Jr. leads the way. (Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Potential Playoff Points Earned During Races
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex, Jr. 38
2 Kyle Larson 23
3 Kyle Busch 21
4 Jimmie Johnson 16
5 Brad Keselowski 14
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
16 (tie) Daniel Suarez 1

Stage Points

Previous Race Results

Stage 1 Stage 2
Pos. Driver Points Pos. Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 10 (+1 Playoff Point) 1 Martin Truex Jr. 10 (+1 Playoff Point)
2 Kyle Larson 9 2 Matt Kenseth 9
3 Clint Bowyer 8 3 Erik Jones 8
4 Matt Kenseth 7 4 Joey Logano 7
5 Martin Truex Jr. 6 5 Brad Keselowski 6
6 Joey Logano 5 6 Kyle Larson 5
7 Erik Jones 4 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4
8 Kevin Harvick 3 8 Kurt Busch 3
9 Chase Elliott 2 9 Ryan Newman 2
10 Kurt Busch 1 10 Kyle Busch 1

Season Totals

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stage Points
Driver Total Stage Points Stage Wins
Martin Truex Jr. 348 18
Kyle Larson 273 3
Kyle Busch 263 11
Kevin Harvick 226 3
Brad Keselowski 209 4
Matt Kenseth 184 3
Ryan Blaney 167 3
Denny Hamlin 165 2
Jimmie Johnson 162 1
Chase Elliott 137 2
Jamie McMurray 134
Erik Jones 132
Joey Logano 123 1
Kurt Busch 117
Clint Bowyer 86 1
Ryan Newman 75
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 53
Kasey Kahne 40
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 36
Austin Dillon 22
Trevor Bayne 22
A.J. Allmendinger 22
Daniel Suarez 21 1
Danica Patrick 20
Michael McDowell 18
David Ragan 7
Paul Menard 7
Ty Dillon 6

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