Playoff Field Set as Series Descends on Las Vegas

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

While Brad Keselowski added five playoff bonus points to his tally with his Brickyard 400 win on Monday, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman officially locked themselves into the playoffs on points.

The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the final race of the regular season, and all 16 playoff spots are set as the series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Sin City for the first playoff race of the season.

“The Big 3” will lead the playoffs with Kyle Busch earning 35 playoff points throughout the regular season and an additional 15 points for being the regular season champion. Kevin Harvick will also enter the postseason with 50 playoff points, and Martin Truex, Jr., despite a last-place finish today, will carry over 35 points.

Two wins in the last two races will allow Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, to bring 19 points into the playoffs, and Clint Bowyer, the series’ only other multi-time winner besides Busch, Harvick and Truex, will carry over 15 playoff points.

Playoff bracket entering Las Vegas

  1. Kyle Busch — 2,050 points (11th playoff appearance; 2006-2008, 2010-2011, 2013-2018)
  2. Kevin Harvick — 2,050 points (12th playoff appearance; 2006-2008, 2010-2018)
  3. Martin Truex, Jr. — 2,035 points (6th playoff appearance; 2007, 2012, 2015-2018)
  4. Brad Keselowski — 2,019 points (7th playoff appearance; 2011-2012, 2014-2018)
  5. Clint Bowyer — 2,015 points (7th playoff appearance; 2007-2008, 2010, 2012-2013, 2015, 2018)
  6. Kurt Busch — 2,014 points (12th playoff appearance; 2004-2005, 2007, 2009-2011, 2013-2018)
  7. Joey Logano — 2,014 points (5th playoff appearance; 2013-2016, 2018)
  8. Chase Elliott — 2,008 points (3rd playoff appearance; 2016-2018)
  9. Ryan Blaney — 2,007 points (2nd playoff appearance; 2017-2018)
  10. Kyle Larson — 2,005 points (3rd playoff appearance; 2016-2018)
  11. Erik Jones — 2,005 points (1st playoff appearance)
  12. Austin Dillon — 2,005 points (3rd playoff appearance; 2016-2018)
  13. Denny Hamlin — 2,003 points (12th playoff appearance; 2006-2012, 2014-2018)
  14. Aric Almirola — 2,001 points (2nd playoff appearance; 2014, 2018)
  15. Jimmie Johnson — 2,001 points (15th playoff appearance; 2004-2018)
  16. Alex Bowman — 2,000 points (1st playoff appearance)

Seven Ford drivers, five Chevy drivers and four Toyota drivers will make up the 16-driver playoff field. Seven different teams will be represented in the playoffs.

Both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman will be making their first ever playoff appearances.

Aric Almirola, who made the switch to Stewart-Haas Racing this year, will make his first playoffs since 2014 when he was driving for Richard Petty Motorsports. Almirola’s playoff surge will mean this is the first time Stewart-Haas has had all four of its cars qualify for the postseason.

Austin Dillon’s playoff run is the third consecutive for the Richard Childress Racing driver. He qualified by virtue of his Daytona 500 win, and was the only driver outside the top-16 in driver points to advance to the playoffs by means of a win.

About Tyson Lautenschlager 552 Articles
A 22-year-old from Ontario, Canada, Tyson Lautenschlager is a Humber College journalism graduate. He is currently the managing editor of OnPitRoad and a chase producer at CTV News Channel in Toronto.