CONCORD, N.C. -- The Round of 12 will draw to a close this weekend after Sunday's race at the Charlotte roval and only eight drivers will move on to the next round.
Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman still are in the running to earn a championship, with Elliott ranking fourth in the playoff standings and Bowman ranking seventh. However, the points standings are tighter than ever. Elliott is 44 markers above the bubble while Bowman is 22 above the cutoff line.
Two spots in the next round already are taken after Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin won the first two races in the Round of 12. An outright win would secure a berth in the next round for either Hendrick Motorsports teammate but there are other ways the two drivers can move on. Here is everything they need to do to make it to the Round of 8.
Elliott has the points buffer and the experience at the Charlotte roval to help him earn a spot in the Round of 8. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE can advance if he earns 32 points during the race and is ahead of the sixth winless driver if there is a win by a playoff driver outside the top eight.
Should Busch or Hamlin win again, Elliott would clinch a berth in the next round with 12 playoff points and by scoring above the seventh winless driver in the standings.
Bowman has a slightly more difficult task ahead of him than Elliott. He will need 54 playoff points to automatically clinch a spot in the Round of 8 without any help from the other drivers in the event. To get that, Bowman would have to place second in the race, place second in one stage and win the other.
However, as long as Bowman has more points than four other winless playoff drivers, he will advance. The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet has two top-five finishes in the last two years at the roval, including a runner-up finish to Elliott last year. As long as his stage points and overall running is better than four of the winless drivers still left in the playoffs, he will be one of the last eight drivers standing.
Fans can watch Elliott and Bowman take on the Charlotte road course in the playoffs Sunday, Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.