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Drivers in Danger: Who Won’t Make it to the Playoffs?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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Nine races remain until the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, and some big names find themselves on the outside looking in. Who are the big name drivers that are in danger of missing the Playoffs?

Erik Jones

Erik Jones won a race last year, and many felt that with the influx of Jimmie Johnson and the rebranding to Legacy Motor Club, Jones was a hot pick to make the Playoffs. This season, a mixture of bad luck, poor performance, and a costly penalty have made for a difficult season for the 43 team. Add to that being in a lame duck season with Chevy does not help matters.

Jones sits 30th in points, and he is well out of the Playoff picture unless he finds a way to win. Last weekend he recorded a top-10 at Nashville, so maybe Legacy Motor Club is finding a way to turn things around.

Aric Almirola

Aric Almirola and Stewart-Haas Racing are in the midst of an incredibly difficult season. Almirola was planning on retiring at the end of last season, and his plans for next year still remain uncertain. There has been almost no silver lining for him or Stewart-Haas Racing this season.

The one top-10 of the season for Almirola came at Martinsville, and he only has two other finishes inside of the top-15. If there is any silver lining at all, it’s that Almirola has not had a DNF since Atlanta back in March.

Chase Briscoe

It’s hard to remember now, but Chase Briscoe was a few laps away from the Championship Four last season. This year has been a disaster for him. He’s had a few good runs including three straight top-5 finishes at Bristol, Martinsville, and Talladega.

However, the recent penalty following Charlotte has been a gut punch to the team. Now Briscoe sits in absolute must-win territory in 31st in the Playoff standings. With how SHR has performed this year, that win is not guarantee.

Alex Bowman

Alex Bowman was the points leader at one point this season, but his season has been difficult since. His last top-10 came at Richmond in the spring, before his much-publicized back injury. Since then it’s been underwhelming run after underwhelming run.

He only sits two points out of the Playoff heading into Chicago Street Race weekend. However, if these runs keeps up, he will either slip out or stay stagnant. If there are new winners outside of the top-16, then Bowman could be in trouble.

Chase Elliott

The biggest name outside of the Playoff picture, Chase Elliott has the potential to turn the entire Playoff field upside down. He could either point his way in potentially based on how he is running, or he can win a race to get in. Elliott is a curious case because of how much of a wild card he is. It seems that he will win, but what if he doesn’t?

There are multiple race tracks that Elliott is good at left on the regular season schedule. He can make the Playoffs one way or another, and, if he does, that spells bad news for the others on this list.

The current Playoff picture still remains very unclear. These guys continue to be a threat to take points positions away if they can sneak in a win. They should make these next nine weeks fun to watch.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts