NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: Points Standings and Clinching Scenarios Heading Into the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

With just three races remaining in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, 11 drivers have already clinched their spot in the postseason, which means five spots are still available. Despite being tied for the overall points lead heading into the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, which will be held on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Denny Hamlin is not one of the 11 to have clinched a spot in the final 16. But there are a couple of different scenarios in which he could earn his spot this Sunday, one of which is obviously winning the race.

But Hamlin isn’t the only one who could snag one of the final five spots with a victory. So let’s take a quick look at the points standings heading into the Verizon 200 as well as the NASCAR playoff-clinching scenarios that could play out at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup Series points standings heading into the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Here’s a look at how the NASCAR Cup Series points standings look heading into the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Those in bold have won at least one race this season, while those in bold AND with an asterisk have already qualified for the NASCAR playoffs.

  1. *Kyle Larson: 917
  2. Denny Hamlin: 917
  3. *William Byron: 786
  4. *Kyle Busch: 779
  5. *Joey Logano: 760
  6. *Chase Elliott: 749
  7. *Martin Truex Jr.: 740
  8. *Ryan Blaney: 712
  9. Kevin Harvick: 710
  10. *Brad Keselowski: 678
  11. *Alex Bowman: 633
  12. Tyler Reddick: 630
  13. Austin Dillon: 615
  14. *Kurt Busch: 576
  15. *Christopher Bell: 571
  16. Chris Buescher: 495
  17. Matt DiBenedetto: 483
  18. Ross Chastain: 482
  19. Michael McDowell: 464
  20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 442
  21. Bubba Wallace: 440
  22. Chase Briscoe: 411
  23. Daniel Suarez: 407
  24. Aric Almirola: 398
  25. Erik Jones: 371
  26. Ryan Newman: 366
  27. Ryan Preece: 366
  28. Cole Custer: 356
  29. Corey Lajoie: 282
  30. Anthony Alfredo: 233
  31. Josh Bilicki: 111
  32. James Davison: 104
  33. Quin Houff: 101
  34. Jamie McMurray: 30
  35. Scott Heckert: 20
  36. Kyle Tilley: 15
  37. Mike Marlar: 6
  38. Chris Windom: 4
  39. David Ragan: 4
  40. R.C. Enerson: 3
  41. Shane Golobic: 1
  42. Ryan Eversley: 1
  43. Derrike Cope: 1

NASCAR playoffs clinching scenarios at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo at a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Race in September 2018
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo at a NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Race in September 2018 | Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here’s a look at the different NASCAR playoff-clinching scenarios that could play out at the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Drivers who can clinch with a victory alone
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Tyler Reddick
  • Austin Dillon
  • Michael McDowell
  • Aric Almirola
Drivers who can clinch with a victory but need help
  • Chris Buescher
  • Matt DiBenedetto
  • Ross Chastain
Drivers who can clinch via points
  • If the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard is won by a repeat winner or by a driver who has no chance of advancing to the NASCAR playoffs, Denny Hamlin would clinch a spot by being 111 points ahead of the second winless driver in the points standings regardless of where he finishes in the race.
Drivers who can clinch via previous victories
  • If the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard is won by a repeat winner or Denny Hamlin, Michael McDowell and Aric Almirola would clinch a spot regardless of where they finish in the race.
  • If the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard is won by a new winner, Michael McDowell could clinch a spot with help. Aric Almirola would clinch a spot if that new winner is Corey Lajoie or another driver lower than 29th in the NASCAR points standings.

How to watch the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard

The Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take place this Sunday, August 15, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The race will air on NBC and can also be streamed on the NBC Sports app.

The penultimate race of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season takes place August 22 with the running of the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway. And the season comes to an end on Saturday, August 28, with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Stats courtesy of NASCAR.com

RELATED: Who Has the Most NASCAR Cup Series Wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?