NASCAR Playoffs, Explained: Final Race Schedule, Format for 16 Drivers Who Reached the 2021 Cup Threshold
NASCAR has reached the playoff stage of the 2021 Cup Series season. The regular season ended on Saturday August 28 with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The race results finalized the peloton of 16 drivers and determined the starting order for the opening round of 16.
Sporting News details the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series qualifiers, including the drivers, format and dates of the 10 races that will decide a series champion for 2021.
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Who made the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in 2021?
Sixteen drivers advanced to the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Kyle Larson won the regular season points championship and was seeded No. 1 in the playoffs. Tyler Reddick rounded out the field on the final night of the regular season in the Coke Zero Sugar 400, fending off teammate Austin Dillon and getting help from the race-winning playoff driver Ryan Blaney.
Seven of the 16 drivers in the playoffs are former Cup Series champions: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.
|1||Kyle larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports||2052|
|2||Ryan blaney||12||Penske team||2024|
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe gibbs racing||2024|
|4||Kyle busch||18||Joe gibbs racing||2022|
|5||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports||2021|
|6||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports||2015|
|7||Denny hamlin||11||Joe gibbs racing||2015|
|8||Guillaume Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports||2014|
|9||Joey logano||22||Penske team||2013|
|ten||Brad Keselowski||2||Penske team||2008|
|11||Kurt busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing||2008|
|12||Christophe bell||20||Joe gibbs racing||2005|
|13||Aric almirola||ten||Stewart-Haas Race||2005|
|14||Michael mcdowell||34||Motorsports in the first row||2005|
|15||Tyler reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing||2003|
|16||Kevin harvic||4||Stewart-Haas Race||2002|
How do the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs work?
The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs consist of four rounds: the Round of 16, Round of 12, Round of 8, and Championship 4. The Round of 16, Round of 12, and Round of 8 consist of three races each. Championship 4 is a one-race, four-driver showdown for the NASCAR Cup.
All playoff drivers start the round of 16 with 2,000 playoff points. NASCAR then adds the bonus points that the drivers have earned during the regular season: for race wins (five points per victory), stage wins (one point per stage victory) and the top 10 in the standings. of the regular season (15 points for first place, nine points for second place and, finally, up to one point for 10th place). The final point totals define the starting order of the round of 16.
NASCAR will also reset the total points for each round: to 3,000 points (plus playoff bonus points) for the round of 12, to 4,000 points (plus playoff bonus points) for the round of 8, and to 5,000 points for the championship 4.
Playoff drivers advance to the next lap by winning a race or completing a lap with enough points to be above the cut-off line. The last four drivers at the end of each of the first three laps are eliminated. Ultimately, only four drivers will be alive for the Championship 4 race in Phoenix.
2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Schedule
round of 16
|September 5||Cook the South 500||Darlington Circuit||6:00 p.m.||NBCSN||MRN|
|September 11th||Federated auto parts 400||Richmond Racing Circuit||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN||MRN|
|September 18||Bass Pro Shops Night Race||Bristol Motor Circuit||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN||PRN|
Round of 12
|September 26||South Point 400||Las Vegas Auto Circuit||7:00 p.m.||NBCSN||PRN|
|October 3||YellaWood 500||Talladega Superspeedway||2:00 p.m.||NBC||MRN|
|October 10||Bank of America ROVAL 400||Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course||2:00 p.m.||NBC||PRN|
Round of 8
|17 october||Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500||Texas Motor Circuit||2:00 p.m.||NBC||PRN|
|24 october||Hollywood Casino 400||Kansas Motor Circuit||3 p.m.||NBCSN||MRN|
|October 31||Xfinity 500||Martinsville Motor Circuit||2:00 p.m.||NBC||MRN|
Championship Race 4
|November 7||NASCAR Cup Series Championship||Phoenix circuit||3 p.m.||NBC||MRN|