Playoff Points: Dover 2 Edition

Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Following each 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: Dover International Speedway

Event: Apache Warrior 400

Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Stage Winner(s): Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson

Who Won Big

  • Kyle Busch: Is Busch becoming the new closer? The 2015 Cup Series champion chased down Chase Elliott over the final run to snag his second-consecutive victory and add five more playoff points to his total. Suddenly ‘Rowdy’ has 41 playoff points – a 33-point edge on the Round of 8 cutoff line.
  • Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson: Neither were the star attraction on Sunday, but both Keselowski and Larson made the most of their afternoons to claim stages and snag a valuable playoff point.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Sometimes it takes a bit of luck to make a playoff run. Stenhouse got just that on Sunday, snagging seven stage points after a timely caution flag during pit stops in Stage 1 and using those points to hold on to the final spot in the Round of 12. Now Stenhouse has a chance to play spoiler moving forward – either through points or a potential season sweep at Talladega Superspeedway.

Who Hurt Their Odds:

  • Kurt Busch: Three poor races, and Busch’s entrance to the playoffs as a dark horse turned into an early exit. Surprising.
  • Richard Childress Racing: RCR teammates Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon each made the playoffs with surprising victories during the season. It’s perhaps not a surprise, then, that both drivers were quickly dispatched in the Round of 16.
  • Kasey Kahne: An unexpected Brickyard 400 win got Kahne into the playoffs in his Hendrick Motorsports swan song, but the Washington native was never much of a factor. He exited the postseason quietly, without much hope for a postseason run during his three-race playoff trek.

Playoff Standings: 

Rank Driver Wins In Round Points Points Ahead/Behind Cutoff
1 Martin Truex Jr. 0 3059 51
2 Kyle Busch 0 3041 33
3 Kyle Larson 0 3034 26
4 Brad Keselowski 0 3020 12
5 Jimmie Johnson 0 3017 9
6 Kevin Harvick 0 3015 7
7 Denny Hamlin 0 3013 5
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0 3010 2
Round of 8 Cutoff
9 Ryan Blaney 0 3008 -2
10 Chase Elliott 0 3006 -4
11 Matt Kenseth 0 3005 -5
12 Jamie McMurray 0 3003 -7

Where They Stand

Kyle Busch moved closer to playoff safety with a win at Dover. (Photo: Nigel Kinrade/NKP)

Safe (For Now)

  • Martin Truex Jr.
    • Truex holds, in essence, a full race advantage on the cutoff line.

More Work to Do

  • Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson
    • Busch and Larson hold a healthy advantage over the Round of 8 cutoff line, but are one mistake away from entering the fray.

On the Bubble

  • Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Within Reach 

  • Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray

Likely Need to Win

Playoff Points

Total Playoff Points
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 59
3 Kyle Busch 41
2 Kyle Larson 34
4 Brad Keselowski 20
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 Matt Kenseth 5
12 Jamie McMurray 3

Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson lead the way in playoff points. (Photo: Rusty Jarrett/NKP)

Potential Playoff Points Earned On-Track
Rank Driver Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex, Jr. 44
3 Kyle Busch 33
2 Kyle Larson 24
4 Jimmie Johnson 16
5 Brad Keselowski 15
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 Chase Elliott 3
15 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 Brad Keselowski 10 (+1 Playoff Point) 1 Kyle Larson 10 (+1 Playoff Point)
2 Kyle Busch 9 2 Martin Truex Jr. 9
3 Martin Truex Jr. 8 3 Chase Elliott 8
4 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 7 4 Kyle Busch 7
5 Danica Patrick 6 5 Jimmie Johnson 6
6 Kyle Larson 5 6 Denny Hamlin 5
7 Chase Elliott 4 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4
8 Kevin Harvick 3 8 Brad Keselowski 3
9 David Ragan 2 9 Jamie McMurray 2
10 Denny Hamlin 1 10 Clint Bowyer 1

Playoff Totals

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stage Points
Driver Playoff Stage Points Stage Points This Round Playoff Stage Wins
Kyle Busch 44 44 2
Martin Truex Jr. 41 41 1
Kyle Larson 40 40 1
Brad Keselowski 36 36 1
Chase Elliott 30 30 1
Denny Hamlin 23 23
Kevin Harvick 22 22
Matt Kenseth 20 20
Ryan Blaney 8 8
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 7 7
Jimmie Johnson 6 6
Kurt Busch 3 3
Jamie McMurray 2 2
Ryan Newman 0 0
Austin Dillon 0 0
Kasey Kahne 0 0

Season Totals

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Stage Points
Driver Total Stage Points Stage Wins
Martin Truex Jr. 479 19
Kyle Larson 313 4
Kyle Busch 305 13
Kevin Harvick 248 3
Brad Keselowski 245 5
Matt Kenseth 204 3
Denny Hamlin 188 2
Ryan Blaney 175 3
Jimmie Johnson 175 1
Chase Elliott 167 3
Erik Jones 146
Jamie McMurray 138
Joey Logano 133 1
Kurt Busch 120
Clint Bowyer 87 1
Ryan Newman 75
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 57
Kasey Kahne 40
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 43
Daniel Suarez 23 1
Austin Dillon 22
Trevor Bayne 22
A.J. Allmendinger 22
Danica Patrick 26
Michael McDowell 18
David Ragan 9
Paul Menard 7
Ty Dillon 6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *