After four playoff races, 12 drivers remain in the running for the 2017 championship lead by Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson.
Truex, who held a 20-point lead over Kyle Larson to begin the postseason, won the first and fourth playoff race (Sunday at Charlotte) with Kyle Busch earning back-to-back wins at New Hampshire and Dover.
Dover was the site of the third and final race in the Round of 16, with the four drivers lowest in the standings eliminated from the postseason. Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillon failed to advance to championship contention.
Entering Sunday’s race at the famed Talladega Superspeedway, two-time restrictor-plate winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has the most work to do if he is to advance to the Round of 8 on Oct. 22 at Kansas.
2017 NASCAR playoffs Round of 12 standings
- Martin Truex Jr., 3,106 points
- Kyle Larson, -34
- Kevin Harvick, -37
- Chase Elliott, -47
- Denny Hamlin, -50
- Kyle Busch, -51
- Jimmie Johnson, -55
- Jamie McMurray, -62
- Matt Kenseth, -63
- Brad Keselowski, -64
- Ryan Blaney, -67
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr., -72
2017 NASCAR playoff rules
“Win and you’re in.” Just like regular-season races, winners move on to the next round. The remaining seven playoff events will feature stage racing, with playoff bonus points up for grabs that drivers can take to the next round.
Points are reset before the Round of 12 and Round of 8. The Championship 4 drivers will race straight up at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the title.
After three playoff races (Oct. 22 at Kansas), four drivers will be eliminated from the playoffs based on points, then again at Phoenix November 12 until four drivers remain.
2017 NASCAR playoff schedule
Oct. 15 — Talladega (2 p.m. ET, NBC)
Oct. 22 — Kansas (cutoff race, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Oct. 29 — Round of 8 begins at Martinsville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Nov. 5 — Texas (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN)