This past weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Road America marked the 20th event of the season. It’s hard to believe that we are now just six races away from the start of the NASCAR Playoffs. With two months remaining in the regular season, this week marks a good time to take a look at the updated NASCAR Cup Series standings. There has been a lot of movement around the playoff cutline in recent weeks. In addition, several drivers still outside of the top-16 have been performing well and perhaps setting themselves up for a late-season push. Read on for a complete standings breakdown following Road America.
NASCAR Cup Series Standings Update
Refer to the table below for the updated NASCAR Cup Series points standings through the first five races of the season. The table also includes additional NASCAR Cup Series stats including Wins, Top-5 Finishes, Top-10 Finishes and Total Laps Led. The table is sortable by driver and statistic for your viewing convenience. Additional commentary on some notable movers in recent weeks can be found below.
|Car Number||Driver||Standings Points||Current Playoff Standing||Projected Playoff Points||Wins||Top-5's||Top-10's||Total Laps Led|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||696||2||2023||3||7||11||647|
|47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||424||N/A||N/A||0||1||2||24|
Playoff Seeding Taking Shape
With just six races left in the regular season, we are starting to get a pretty good picture of how the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs field is shaping up. Of course, plenty could still change in the next two months. That said, it’s worth pointing out some of the current highlights in terms of seeding.
After largely dominating the months of May and June, Kyle Larson has a pretty sizable lead on landing the top overall seed. He has accumulated a whole bunch of playoff points with all of his stage wins and would be a whole 19 points clear of the 2-seed, Martin Truex Jr. if the season ended today. In a way, it’s impressive to think that Truex is still in line for the second seed given the struggles of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team in recent weeks.
Kyle Busch has been one of the hottest drivers in recent weeks. After bagging his second win of the year at Pocono, Busch is now projected as the 3-seed in the NASCAR Cup Series standings for the postseason. Behind him sits Denny Hamlin, who, despite remaining winless, continues to hold a slim lead in the points standings. Chase Elliott rounds out the projected top-five seeds after scoring his second win of the year at Road America last weekend.
Kurt Busch Climbs into Top-16 on Points
After experiencing bad luck seemingly every week for the better part of the first half of the season, Kurt Busch has turned a corner in recent weeks. After scoring a top-5 finish at Road America, Busch now finds himself in the top-16 on points. He is currently 25 points above the NASCAR Cup Series standings cutline to make the playoff field of 16. Many felt that he would need to win a race to qualify for the postseason. Busch has raced his way right back into the picture.
The Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 car has climbed into the top-16 at the expense of Chris Buescher. After surprising many with several solid finishes during the season’s first half, the No. 17 team has fallen off big time in recent weeks. Buescher now finds himself 25 points below the cutline with six races remaining.
Several Names in the Hunt for Playoff Spot
While Kurt Busch and Chris Buescher are the two drivers directly on either side of the playoff cutline, they are far from the only two battling to get in. In fact, several drivers who currently sit below the cutline have put together a solid past few weeks. While any of them could automatically guarantee their spot with a race win, they aren’t out of contention on NASCAR standings points just yet.
One of the big movers in recent weeks has been Busch’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Ross Chastain. The No. 42 car finished runner-up at Nashville. He then scored his third top-10 finish in the last five races this past weekend at Road America. He is 69 points below the cutline through 20 races. One point behind him sits Ricky Stenhouse Jr. After engine failure at Pocono, Stenhouse rebounded to score a career-best road course finish of 12th at Road America. Matt DiBenedetto, Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez are also all within 90 points of the final playoff spot. Things definitely could get wild down the stretch of the regular season!