Talladega shakes up NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings

Four more drivers will be eliminated from the playoffs this weekend at Kansas Speedway, cutting the field down from12 to eight title contenders.

Talladega shakes up NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings

Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Team Penske Ford - LOCKED IN

Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Team Penske Ford - LOCKED IN
1/12

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

With his victory at Talladega, Ryan Blaney has locked himself into the Round of 8 before either of his title-winning teammates.

Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet - LOCKED IN

Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet - LOCKED IN
2/12

Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images

Like Blaney, Kyle Larson has locked himself into the next round already with his first victory of the season at Dover. The win ended a 75 race winless streak for the CGR driver.

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota +56 points

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota +56 points
3/12

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

Hamlin is in the best position of the drivers who have yet to win this round, leading the standings and a solid 56 points above the cut line. His ticket to the next round is all but assured.

Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota +48pts

Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota +48pts
4/12

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Much like his teammate Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. is in a solid position to advance into the next round. Despite a rough day at Talladega, the bonus points he has secured throughout the season still give him a comfortable margin over the cut line.

Kyle Busch, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota +41pts

 Kyle Busch, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota +41pts
5/12

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

Kyle Busch wrecked out in spectacular fashion in the closing laps at Talladega, but he remains a good 41 points away from possible elimination. Like Truex, he racked up the bonus points during the season and they are paying dividends now.

Kevin Harvick, No. 4Stewart-Haas Racing Ford +36pts

Kevin Harvick, No. 4Stewart-Haas Racing Ford +36pts
6/12

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

Kevin Harvick is by no means locked into the next round, but it would take a lot to push him out of the playoffs. But things get a bit more uncomfortable for any drivers below him.

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Team Penske Ford +20pts

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Team Penske Ford +20pts
7/12

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

While his teammate was celebrating, Brad Keselowski was lamenting after a difficult day at Talladega. His DNF leaves him seventh in the standings and 20 points above the cut line. Another stumble at Kansas, and his 2019 title bid will be over.

Joey Logano, No. 22 Team Penske Ford +18pts

 Joey Logano, No. 22 Team Penske Ford +18pts
8/12

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

The reigning series champion heads into Kansas as the final driver in a transfer spot. It's a precarious position to be on, for even a strong run will mean nothing if one of the four drivers below him in the standings reaches Victory Lane.

Alex Bowman, No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -18pts

Alex Bowman, No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -18pts
9/12

Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images

Alex Bowman saved himself from elimination in the next round with a remarkable late charge at the Charlotte Roval. He may have to do it again this weekend after wrecking out of the lead at Talladega put him deep in the hole. If Blaney hadn't won, Bowman would have been in a much better position but as is the case with this format, winning is above all else and can change the complexion of a championship instantaneously.

Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -22pts

Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -22pts
10/12

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

Chase Elliott has had a rough round after winning at the Charlotte Roval a few weeks back. Mechanical issues at Dover and a crash at Talladega have put him in a likely must-win scenario this weekend. The only positive is that Kansas is a place Elliott has won at before, just last year.

Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford -24pts

Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford -24pts
11/12

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

Bowyer is in the same boat at Elliott, likely aiming for a race win this weekend. Unlike Elliott though, Bowyer has yet to win this year and he has never won at his home track of Kansas Speedway.

William Byron, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -27pts

William Byron, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -27pts
12/12

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

At the bottom of the standings is William Byron, facing elimination after making the playoffs for the first time in his career. Byron has never won a Cup race before, and likely will need to this weekend if he wants to go further in the 2019 playoffs.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Author Nick DeGroot
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