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Gallery: The battle to make the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs

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Gallery: The battle to make the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs
By:
Sep 8, 2019, 4:56 PM

NASCAR heads into Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the regular season finale where two spots inside the 16-driver playoffs remain up for grabs.

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15th: Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing +8pts

15th: Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing +8pts
1/17

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Clint Bowyer is in the best position of any of the 'bubble' drivers, but it is by no means a comfortable one. He sits just eight points above the cut and considering 10 points can be made up in a single stage alone, he is in no way safe. In 13 starts at IMS, Bowyer has never won but he did finish fifth last year after leading 37 laps.

16th: Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing --

16th: Daniel Suarez, Stewart-Haas Racing --
2/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

Bowyer's SHR teammate Daniel Suarez currently holds the final spot in the playoffs, but he is tied for that position with Ryan Newman. Suarez would win the tiebreaker between the two drivers (based on a driver's best season race results).

17th: Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing --

17th: Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing --
3/17

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Newman, a former Brickyard 400 winner himself, is tied with Suarez for the final position inside the playoffs. The two drivers aren't seeing eye-to-eye entering this race. After getting spun by Suarez at Darlington, Newman hinted at possible retaliation. "What goes around comes around," he said.

18th: Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports -18pts

18th: Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports -18pts
4/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to make the playoffs every single year since its introduction in 2004. He is a 7x champion, a 4x winner of the Brickyard 400, but has struggled mightily over the past two years. He has gone winless since June, 2017 at Dover and is on his second crew chief this season.

19th: Paul Menard, Wood Brothers Racing - Must win

19th: Paul Menard, Wood Brothers Racing - Must win
5/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

Paul Menard has just one career win and it came right here at Indianapolis. If he wants to be part of the 2019 playoffs, he'll have to do it again as 69 points below the cut line makes it impossible for him to point his way in. Every driver behind him in the standings is in the same must-win scenario. Menard will start Sunday's race from the outside of the front row.

20th: Chris Buescher, JTG Daugherty Racing - Must win

20th: Chris Buescher, JTG Daugherty Racing - Must win
6/17

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

21st: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing - Must win

21st: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing - Must win
7/17

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

22nd: Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing - Must win

22nd: Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing - Must win
8/17

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

23rd: Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing - Must win

23rd: Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing - Must win
9/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

24th: Ty Dillon, Germain Racing - Must win

24th: Ty Dillon, Germain Racing - Must win
10/17

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

25th: Daniel Hemric, Richard Childress Racing - Must win

25th: Daniel Hemric, Richard Childress Racing - Must win
11/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

26th: Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing - Must win

26th: Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing - Must win
12/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

27th: Bubba Wallace, Richard Petty Motorsports - Must win

27th: Bubba Wallace, Richard Petty Motorsports - Must win
13/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

28th: Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports - Must win

28th: Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports - Must win
14/17

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

29th: Corey LaJoie, Go FAS Racing - Must win

29th: Corey LaJoie, Go FAS Racing - Must win
15/17

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

30th: David Ragan, Front Row Motorsports - Must win

30th: David Ragan, Front Row Motorsports - Must win
16/17

Photo by: Russell LaBounty / NKP / Motorsport Images

31st: Matt Tifft, Front Row Motorsports - Must win

31st: Matt Tifft, Front Row Motorsports - Must win
17/17

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

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Kevin Harvick beats Menard to Brickyard 400 pole

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Author Nick DeGroot