CONCORD, N.C. – This Sunday, the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs comes to a close.
Only eight drivers will advance to the next round, keeping their hopes of competing for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway alive.
That means there will be four drivers on the outside looking in after Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway. And since Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski have already clinched their positions thanks to wins in this round, there are only six positions up for grabs.
Currently, both of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers still competing in the playoffs – Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson – are inside the top eight in the standings.
And both have a scenario in which they can guarantee their places in the Round of 8 even if they don’t find Victory Lane.
Elliott, currently sixth in the standings, is 20 points ahead of the ninth-place driver, which would be the first competitor eliminated.
If he scores 43 points in Sunday’s race, he would clinch his place in the next round regardless of who wins the race.
His teammate, Johnson, can also guarantee his spot in the next round by scoring 49 points – as long as either Truex, Keselowski or a non-playoff driver wins the race. Johnson is eighth in the standings, seven points ahead of ninth place.
While there are certainly other scenarios in which the drivers can advance depending on what happens in the race, those are the Hendrick Motorsports teammates’ guaranteed paths.
Of course, either driver could also advance by taking the checkered flag as the winner.
Sunday’s race at Kansas is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.