NASCAR Playoffs 101

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See Also: NASCAR Enhanced Format Overview

As NASCAR heads into the Playoffs, here’s a quick refresher on what to expect.

What’s the same? The structure.
For all three NASCAR national series, the Championship 4 drivers race “straight-up” for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the first to cross the line is crowned the champion!

How they got here:
• “Win and you’re in.” Championship-eligible drivers who won a race during the regular season, attempted to qualify for all regular season races and met a minimum points position (Monster Energy Series: Top 30; NASCAR XFINITY Series & NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Top 20) qualify for the Playoffs.
• If there are fewer unique race winners than open spots in the Playoffs, the remaining positions will be filled based on regular season points.

Round By Round:
• Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
 - 16 drivers, four rounds (Round of 16, Round of 12, Round of 8, Championship 4)
 - Playoffs begin at Chicagoland Speedway
 - Cutoff races: Dover International Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Phoenix Raceway
• NASCAR XFINITY Series
 - 12 drivers, three rounds (Round of 12, Round of 8, Championship 4)
 - Playoffs begin at Kentucky Speedway
 - Cutoff races: Charlotte Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway
• NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
 - 8 drivers, three rounds (Round of 8, Round of 6, Championship 4)
 - Playoffs begin at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
 - Cutoff races: Talladega Superspeedway and Phoenix Raceway

What’s different? Playoff points.
Throughout the regular season, drivers in all three national series earned “playoff points” to be used in the postseason. The playoff points procedure is uniform across all three series and continues in the Playoffs for drivers who remain in contention.

Ways drivers earn playoff points:
• Win Stage 1 or Stage 2 in a race: 1 playoff point (point awarded per stage win)
• Win a race: 5 playoff points
• Win the regular season championship: 15 playoff points - Second place earns 10 playoff points, third place received eight points, and the points awarded decline to 10th (4th = 7 points, 5th = 6 points, etc.)

• Championship-contending drivers can accumulate additional playoff points throughout the Playoffs via stage and race wins and may use the points to advance all the way up to the Championship 4.

Playoff points take effect during the…Playoffs:
• Playoff points are added to a championship-contending driver’s reset points total at the start of every round of the
Playoffs until they are eliminated from championship contention.
• If a driver accumulates playoff points during the regular season, but does not qualify for the Playoffs, their playoff points are eliminated from the scoreboard.
• At Homestead-Miami, playoff points are off the table and the Championship 4 drivers enter the “winner-take-all” race all even.

How the points are reset:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
 - Round of 16: 2000 points + playoff points
 - Round of 12: 3000 points + playoff points
 - Round of 8: 4000 points + playoff points
 - Championship 4: 5000 points
 (no playoff points added)

NASCAR XFINITY Series
 - Round of 12: 2000 points + playoff points
 - Round of 8: 3000 points + playoff points
 - Championship 4: 4000 points
 (no playoff points added)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
 - Round of 8: 2000 points + playoff points
 - Round of 6: 3000 points + playoff points
 - Championship 4: 4000 points
 (no playoff points added)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Seedings/Points Going into Round 1

Rank Driver Points Ldr Nxt Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts
1 Martin Truex Jr. 2053 0 0 4 18 53
2 Kyle Larson 2033 -20 -20 4 3 33
3 Kyle Busch 2029 -24 -4 2 11 29
4 Brad Keselowski 2019 -34 -10 2 4 19
5 Jimmie Johnson 2017 -36 -2 3 1 17
6 Kevin Harvick 2015 -38 -2 1 3 15
7 Denny Hamlin 2013 -40 -2 2 2 13
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2010 -43 -3 2 0 10
9 Ryan Blaney 2008 -45 -2 1 3 8
10 Chase Elliott 2006 -47 -2 0 2 6
11 Ryan Newman 2005 -48 -1 1 0 5
12 Kurt Busch 2005 -48 0 1 0 5
13 Kasey Kahne 2005 -48 0 1 0 5
14 Austin Dillon 2005 -48 0 1 0 5
15 Matt Kenseth 2005 -48 0 0 3 5
16 Jamie McMurray 2003 -50 -2 0 0 3

Related Topics:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

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