This Sunday’s running of the Big Machine Vodka Brickyard 400 will set the field for the 16-driver Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Fourteen drivers are already locked into the playoffs either with victories or by a high enough points total. The only two drivers not locked into the playoffs but currently hold a position on the grid are Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman.
The maximum points a driver can gain on a deficit is 59 in one race. The driver would have to win both stages (10 points per stage win) and the race (40 points).
No driver outside the current top-16 on the playoff grid can earn a spot in the post-season without winning a race. All drivers on the outside looking in are in a must-win situation in order to make the postseason.
The drivers who could still make the playoff appearance via a win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray, William Byron, Chris Buescher, A.J. Allmendinger, David Ragan, Michael McDowell, Kasey Kahne, Bubba Wallace, Ty Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto.
Drivers who have made the playoffs before currently on the outside are: Stenhouse, Newman, Menard, McMurray, Buescher, Allmendinger and Kahne.
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.