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NASCAR Playoffs Explained: Final Race Schedule, Format for 16 Drivers Who Reached 2021 Cup Limit

NASCAR has reached the playoff stage of the 2021 Cup season. The regular season concluded on Saturday, August 28 with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The results of the race finished the field of 16 drivers and determined the starting order for the first round of 16.

Sporting News breaks down the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, 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 playoffs. Kyle Larson won the regular-season points championship and earned No. 1 seed on the playoff field. Tyler Reddick completed the field on the final night of the regular season in the Coke Zero Sugar 400, keeping teammate Austin Dillon at bay and getting help with playoff driver Ryan Blaney winning the race.

Seven of the 16 playoff drivers are Cup Series champions: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.

Article Driver Car No. team Points
1 Kyle larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports 2052
2 Ryan blaney 12 Penske Team 2024
3 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing 2024
Room Kyle busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing 2022
5 Chase elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports 2021
Sixth Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports 2015.
Seventh Denny Hamlin eleven Joe Gibbs Racing 2015.
Eighth William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports 2014
9 Joey logano 22 Penske Team 2013
10 Brad Keselowski 2 Penske Team 2008
eleven Kurt busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing 2008
12 Christopher bell Twentieth Joe Gibbs Racing 2005
13 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing 2005
14 Michael McDowell 3. 4 Front row motorsports 2005
fifteen Tyler reddick Eighth Richard Childress Racing 2003
sixteen Kevin Harvick Room Stewart-Haas Racing 2002

How do the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs work?

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs consist of four rounds: the round of 16, the round of 12, the round of 8, and the championship 4. The round of 16, the round of 12, and the round of 8 consist of three races each. a. 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 the drivers earned during the regular season: for race wins (five points per win), stage wins (one point per stage win), and finishing in the top 10 in the season standings. regular (15 points for first place, nine points for second place, and finally up to one point for 10th place). Final point totals establish the starting order for the Round of 16.

NASCAR will also reset the total points for each round: to 3,000 points (plus playoff bonus points) for Round 12, to 4,000 points (plus playoff bonus points) for Round 8 and 5,000 points for the Championship Four.

Playoff drivers advance to the next round by winning a race or by finishing a round with enough points to be above the cutoff line. The last four drivers at the end of each of the first three rounds are eliminated. Ultimately, only four drivers will remain alive for the Championship 4 race at Phoenix.

NASCAR Cup Series 2021 Playoff Schedule

Round of 16

Date Race Track Time (ET) TV radio
September 5 Cooking Southern 500 Darlington Race Track 6 pm NBCSN MRN
11 of September Federated Auto Parts 400 Richmond Raceway 7:30 pm NBCSN MRN
September 18 Bass Pro Shops Night Run Bristol racetrack 7:30 pm NBCSN PRN

Round of 12

Date Race Track Time (ET) TV radio
September 26 South Point 400 Las Vegas Expressway 7 pm NBCSN PRN
Oct. 3 YellaWood 500 Talladega Superspeedway 2 pm NBC MRN
Oct. 10 Bank of America ROVAL 400 Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Circuit 2 pm NBC PRN

Round of 16

Date Race Track Time (ET) TV radio
Oct. 17 Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 Texas race track 2 pm NBC PRN
Oct. 24 Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas speedway 3 pm NBCSN MRN
Oct. 31 Xfinity 500 Martinsville Speedway 2 pm NBC MRN

Championship 4 race

Date Race Track Time (ET) TV radio
November 7 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Phoenix race track 3 pm NBC MRN


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