How Does a Driver Qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs?

By Keith Waltz

The 16-driver field for the NASCAR playoffs will be set following the 26th race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond International Raceway.

The playoffs are comprised of the season’s final 10 races and feature an elimination-style format that will see four drivers battle for the title in a winner-take-all showdown during the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway.

Here’s how drivers qualify for the playoffs:

n The top 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the playoffs – provided they have finished in the top 30 in points and attempted to qualify for every race. The 16th playoff position will go to the points leader after race No. 26, if he or she does not have a victory.

n If there are fewer than 16 different winners in the first 26 races, the remaining playoff positions will go to those winless drivers highest in points. If there are 16 or more winners in the first 26 races, the ties will first be broken by number of wins, followed by points.

n Prior to the start of the playoffs, all playoff drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with all playoff points added to their total. Those playoff points will stay with the driver as long as he or she remains in the playoffs.