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Big Names Who Could MISS The Playoffs

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What’s Happening?

With upset wins and underperforming drivers, the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff grid is as foggy as it ever has been. Some of the sport’s household names are in danger of missing the 2024 Playoffs, and these are the biggest of those names

  • For this list, we will focus on the big-name drivers who are on the Playoff bubble, provisionally out of the Playoffs, or have extenuating circumstances impacting their Playoff eligibility. We will consider the “Playoff bubble” as any driver within one race points above the Playoff cutline.
  • Not everyone on the Bubble or out of the Playoffs will be included on this list. Only the big names everyone generally expected would be in the Playoffs fairly easily will be included..
  • Fans are surprised that many drivers find themselves in this position. Most expected these drivers to make it without much resistance.

Kyle Larson (Waiver Pending)

Everyone’s tired of talking about it, but the reality is that Kyle Larson’s Playoff eligibility depends on whether or not he gets a waiver from NASCAR for missing the Coca-Cola 600. This may set a precedent for the sport, but it will certainly impact the Championship and Playoff race.

Larson missing the Playoffs wouldn’t just eliminate any driver, but also arguably the best driver in the series. He’s a genuine Championship favorite, and taking him out of Play would open up the Championship spot for someone else. Giving Larson a waiver also drops the Playoff cutline one spot further back in the standings, which will be monumental for at least one driver. NASCAR must consider this factor when making their waiver decision.

Joey Logano

Joey Logano’s “What If’s” from early in 2024 are looming large now. He won two poles in the first three races and had winning speed in each of the season’s first two races, Daytona and Atlanta, before crashing out. Now, Logano sits 16th in points, either four or 14 points out, depending on whether Larson gets a waiver or not.

Logano has simply not been himself since winning his second Championship in 2022. He only won one race in 2023, failing to even make the Round of 12. The 2024 season has seen Logano regress even further.

Kyle Busch

It has now been a full season since Kyle Busch last visited victory lane. After winning three of his first 15 races at RCR, he’s not been anywhere near the Kyle Busch fans are accustomed to seeing. The result, Busch, is now between 10 and 20 points below the cutline, depending on Larson’s waiver situation.

Either way, he’s on a similar path to Logano. A multi-time Champion who just might be past his prime, or is struggling with lackluster equipment.

Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney seemed poised to win at Gateway before running out of fuel on the last lap to finish 24th. The defending Champion is now 12th in points, between 47 and 51 points above the cutline. That’s a solid gap, but he’s fallen off recently.

Since taking the points lead at Phoenix, Blaney has only two top-10 finishes, and he’s dropped like a rock in points. If he’s not careful, he could be in a Bubble fight before the regular season is over.

Bubba Wallace

Bubba Wallace has faded in and out of Playoff position throughout the season, but, for now, he finds himself between 13 and 17 points above the cutline. It’s the same story as 2023 when Wallace was in the eye of the Bubble battle.

Wallace hasn’t quite shown winning speed yet this season. With wild card races like Daytona and the Chicago Street Race left in the regular season, being in Wallace’s position is not ideal.

Chris Buescher

Chris Buescher has had two close calls this season. He finished second in the closest finish in NASCAR history at Kansas, and he had a tire cut while battling Tyler Reddick at Darlington. As a result, Buescher is, at best, 14 points above the cutline.

Like Wallace, the wild card races threaten Buscher’s Playoff eligibility. However, he has shown winning speed on intermediate tracks, so he can win a race.

Which of these drivers do you think will end up missing the Playoffs? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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