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2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs

See below for an explanation of the playoffs.

Date Race
Track Winner
Sun., Feb 14 DAYTONA 500 Daytona International Speedway #34-Michael McDowell (1)
Sun., Feb 21 O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 Daytona International Speedway (road course) #20-Christopher Bell (1)
Sun., Feb 28 Dixie Vodka 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway #24-William Byron (1)
Sun., Mar 7 Pennzoil 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway #5-Kyle Larson (1)
Sun., Mar 14 Instacart 500 Phoenix Raceway #19-Martin Truex, Jr. (1)
Sun., Mar 21 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway #12-Ryan Blaney (1)
Sun., Mar 28 Food City Dirt Race Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt) #22-Joey Logano (1)
Sat, Apr 10 Blu Emu Maximum Relief 500 Martinsville Speedway #19-Martin Truex, Jr. (2)
Sun., Apr 18 Toyota Owners 400 Richmond Raceway #48-Alex Bowman (1)
Sun., Apr 25 GEICO 500 Talladega Superspeedway #2-Brad Keselowski (1)
Sun., May 2 Buschy McBusch Race 400 Kansas Speedway #18-Kyle Busch (1)
Sun., May 9 Goodyear 400 Darlington Raceway #19-Martin Truex, Jr. (3)
Sun., May 16 Drydene 400 Dover International Speedway #48-Alex Bowman (2)
Sun., May 23 Echopark Texas Grand Prix Circuit of the Americas #9-Chase Elliott (1)
Sun., May 30 Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway #5-Kyle Larson (2)
Sun., Jun 6 Toyota / Save Mart 350 Sonoma Raceway #5-Kyle Larson (3)
Sun., Jun 20 Ally 400 Nashville Superspeedway #5-Kyle Larson (4)
Sat., Jun 26 Pocono Organics CBD 325 Pocono Raceway #48-Alex Bowman (3)
Sun., Jun 27 Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 Pocono Raceway #18-Kyle Busch (2)
Sun., Jul 4 Jockey Made in America 250 Road America #9-Chase Elliott (2)
Sun., Jul 11 Quaker State 400 Atlanta Motor Speedway #1-Kurt Busch (1)
Sun., Jul 18 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 New Hampshire Motor Speedway #10-Aric Almirola (1)
Sun., Aug 8 Go Bowling at the Glen Watkins Glen International #5-Kyle Larson (5)
Sun., Aug 15 Big Machine Vodka 400 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course #16-A.J. Allmendinger (not eligible)
Sun., Aug 22 FireKeepers Casino 400 Michigan International Speedway #12-Ryan Blaney (2)
Sat., Aug 28 Coke Zero Sugar 400 Daytona International Speedway #12-Ryan Blaney (3)
Playoff Drivers: #1-Kurt Busch, #2-Brad Keselowski, #4-Kevin Harvick, #5-Kyle Larson, #8-Tyler Reddick, #9-Chase Elliott, #10-Aric Almirola, #11-Denny Hamlin, #12-Ryan Blaney, #18-Kyle Busch, #19-Martin Truex, Jr., #20-Christopher Bell, #22-Joey Logano, #24-William Byron, #34-Michael McDowell, #48-Alex Bowman.
Playoffs Round of 16
Sun., Sep 5 Cook Out Southern 500 Darlington Raceway #11-Denny Hamlin (1)
Sat., Sep 11 Federated Auto Parts 400 Richmond Raceway #19-Martin Truex, Jr. (4)
Sat., Sep 18 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Bristol Motor Speedway #5-Kyle Larson (6)
Round of 12 Drivers: #2-Brad Keselowski, #4-Kevin Harvick, #5-Kyle Larson, #9-Chase Elliott, #11-Denny Hamlin, #12-Ryan Blaney, #18-Kyle Busch, #19-Martin Truex, Jr., #20-Christoper Bell, #22-Joey Logano, #24-William Byron and #48-Alex Bowman.
Playoffs Round of 12
Sun., Sep 26 South Point 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway #11-Denny Hamlin (2)
Sun., Oct 3 YellaWood 500 Talladega Superspeedway #23-Bubba Wallace (not in Playoffs)
Sun., Oct 10 Bank of America ROVAL 400 Charlotte ROVAL #5-Kyle Larson (7)
Round of 8 Drivers: #2-Brad Keselowski,  #5-Kyle Larson, #9-Chase Elliott, #11-Denny Hamlin, #12-Ryan Blaney, #18-Kyle Busch, #19-Martin Truex, Jr., and #22-Joey Logano.
Playoffs Round of 8
Sun., Oct 17 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Texas Motor Speedway #5-Kyle Larson (8)
Sun., Oct 24 Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas Speedway #5-Kyle Larson (9)
Sun., Oct 31 XFINITY 500 Martinsville Raceway #48-Alex Bowman (not in Playoffs)
Championship Race – Drivers: #5-Kyle Larson, #9-Chase Elliott, #11-Denny Hamlin, #19-Martin Truex, Jr.
Sun., Nov 7 Season Finale 500 Phoenix Raceway #5-Kyle Larson


2020 Playoffs Information

2019 Playoffs Information

2018 Playoffs Information

Playoffs Explanation

  • The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs consist of 16 drivers.
  • The regular season points leader qualifies for the playoffs, even if they don’t have a win.
  • Additional drivers automatically qualify for the playoffs with a win (as long as there are no more than 16 winners) in the first 26 races.
  • Any playoff positions not filled with a race winner are filled based on point standings.
  • There are 4 rounds of playoffs:
    • Round of 16: Darlington, Richmond, Bristol
    • Round of 12: Las Vegas, Talladega, Charlotte
    • Round of 8: Kansas, Texas, Martinsville
    • The Championship race at Phoenix
  • A win during a playoff race automatically advances the driver to the next round.
  • The bottom 4 drivers at the end of each round are eliminated.
  • The highest finishing driver at Homestead is the Champion. Playoff drivers do not earn any stage points at Homestead.

Playoff Structure

  • After the third playoff race, there will be 12 drivers. After the sixth playoff race, the field will drop to eight drivers, and following the ninth playoff race, only four drivers will remain in championship contention.
  • Round of 16: The first round (races 27-29) is the Round of 16. If a playoff driver wins a race in this round, the driver automatically advances to the next round (Round of 12). The remaining available positions 1-12 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 3,000, with any awarded playoff points added.
  • Round of 12: The second round (races 30-32) is the Round of 12. Likewise, if a driver in the top 12 in points wins a race in this round, the driver automatically advances to the next round (Round of 8). The remaining available positions 1-8 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 4,000, with any awarded playoff points added.
  • Round of 8: The third round (races 33-35) is the Round of 8. If a driver in the top eight in points wins a race in this round, the driver automatically advances to the next round (Championship 4). The remaining available positions 1-4 that have not been filled based upon wins will be based on points. Each will then have their points reset to 5,000.
  • Additionally, drivers who are eliminated in the Round of 12 and Round of 8 will have their points readjusted. Each eliminated driver will return to the playoff-start base of 2,000 with any awarded playoff points and any accumulated points starting with race No. 27 added. This will allow all drivers not in contention for the title to continue to race for the best possible season-long standing, with final positions fifth-through-16th still up for grabs

Playoff Eligibility

  • The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the playoffs – provided they have finished in the top 30 in points and attempted to qualify for every race (except in rare instances). The 16th playoff position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he/she does not have a victory. In the event that there are 16 or more different winners over 26 races, the only winless driver who can earn a playoff spot would be the points leader after 26 races.
  • If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining playoff positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by points.
  • Prior to the start of the playoffs, all playoff drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with all playoff points added to their total.

Playoff Points

  • In addition to points awarded to drivers based on their finish at the end of stages and the race itself, the winner of a race stage is awarded one playoff point, and the race winner receives 5 playoff points.
  • At the end of the regular season, the points leader is awarded 15 playoff points. Second place receives 10 playoff points, 3rd place 8, 4th place 7, 6th place 5, 7th place 4; 8th place 3, 9th place 2, and 10th place 1 playoff point.
  • As the start of the playoffs, each eligible driver’s point total is reset to 2000 points, plus the total number of playoff points they earned during the regular season.
  • Playoff points are also awarded during each round of the playoffs.
  • At the start of each following round of the playoffs, the points are again reset (3000, 4000, and 5000) among eligible drivers and playoff points are added to that amount, with the exception of the Championship race at Homestead-Miami. For the championship race, the final four drivers start with 5000 points, earn no bonus points, and the highest finisher is the Champion.