2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: Points Standings, Full Schedule, and a Breakdown of Each Round

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season came to an end this past Saturday as Ryan Blaney won the crash-filled Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, his second consecutive victory and third overall for the year. The race also finalized the 16-driver field for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as Tyler Reddick clinched the lone remaining spot with a fifth-place finish at Daytona, beating out teammate Austin Dillon.

Despite a 20th-place finish at Daytona, Kyle Larson, who came into the Coke Zero Sugar 400 with a 28-point lead in the points standings, won the regular-season title and will enter the NASCAR Playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

At the conclusion of Saturday night’s race, the point totals for the 16 drivers still in contention for the championship reset to 2,000. Their playoff point totals accumulated throughout the regular season were then added in to determine seeding for the Round of 16, which consists of three races, starting with this Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Any eligible driver who wins a race in the Round of 16 will automatically advance to the Round of 12. Following the final race of the round in Bristol, the four drivers with the lowest point totals who didn’t win a race in the round will be eliminated from championship contention.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the standings heading into the Round of 16, the full NASCAR Playoffs schedule, and how the field will be cut down after each round.

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings heading into the Cook Out Southern 500

Here’s a look at the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings heading into the Cook Out Southern 500.

  1. Kyle Larson: 2,052
  2. Martin Truex Jr.: 2,024
  3. Ryan Blaney: 2,024
  4. Kyle Busch: 2,022
  5. Chase Elliott: 2,021
  6. Alex Bowman: 2,015
  7. Denny Hamlin: 2,015
  8. William Byron: 2,014
  9. Joey Logano: 2,013
  10. Brad Keselowski: 2,008
  11. Kurt Busch: 2,008
  12. Michael McDowell: 2,005
  13. Christopher Bell: 2,005
  14. Aric Almirola: 2,005
  15. Tyler Reddick: 2,003
  16. Kevin Harvick: 2,002

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs schedule

NASCAR Cup Series logo
NASCAR Cup Series logo | Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here’s a look at the full schedule for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. (All times Eastern.)

Round of 16
  • Sunday, Sept. 5: Cook Out Southern 500, Darlington Raceway, 6:00 p.m., NBCSN
  • Saturday, Sept. 11: Federated Auto Parts 400, Richmond Raceway, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
  • Saturday, Sept. 18: Bass Pro Shops Night Race, Bristol Motor Speedway, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
Round of 12
  • Sunday, Sept. 26: South Point 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 7:00 p.m., NBCSN
  • Sunday, Oct. 3: YellaWood 500, Talladega Superspeedway, 2:00 p.m., NBC
  • Sunday, Oct. 10: Bank of America ROVAL 400, Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, 2:00 p.m., NBC
Round of 8
  • Sunday, Oct. 17: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, Texas Motor Speedway, 2:00 p.m., NBC
  • Sunday, Oct. 24: Hollywood Casino 400, Kansas Speedway, 3:00 p.m., NBCSN
  • Sunday, Oct. 31: Xfinity 500, Martinsville Speedway, 2:00 p.m., NBC
Championship 4
  • Sunday, November 7: NASCAR Cup Series Championship, Phoenix Raceway, 3:00 p.m., NBC

How the field will go from 16 to 12 to 8 to the Championship 4

At the conclusion of the Round of 16, point totals for the 12 drivers still in contention for the championship will reset to 3,000 plus playoff point totals added in. Any eligible driver who wins a race in the Round of 12 will automatically advance to the Round of 8. Following the final race of the round in Charlotte, the four drivers with the lowest point totals who didn’t win a race in the round will be eliminated from championship contention.

At the conclusion of the Round of 12, point totals for the eight drivers still in contention for the championship will reset to 4,000 plus playoff point totals added in. Any eligible driver who wins a race in the Round of 8 will automatically advance to the Championship 4. Following the final race of the round in Martinsville, the four drivers with the lowest point totals who didn’t win a race in the round will be eliminated from championship contention.

At the conclusion of the Round of 8, point totals for the four drivers still in contention for the championship will reset to 5,000. Playoff point totals will not be added in. In addition, stage points will not be awarded during the final race of the year in Phoenix. The NASCAR Cup Series champion will be the highest finishing driver of the four title-eligible drivers.

Stats and schedule courtesy of NASCAR.com