NASCAR: Cup standings after Charlotte chaos, points reset

The final round of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs ahead of the Championship 4 is scheduled to get underway this Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

The third and final race of the round of 12 of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs was contested on Sunday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, and it did not disappoint — unless your name is Kevin Harvick.

Technically, three other drivers left the track very disappointed in that they also saw their championship aspirations end for 2021, with those drivers being Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman as well as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, who was making his playoffs debut.

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick, seeking his first career win, was also somewhat disappointed with a career-best-tying second place effort behind race winner Kyle Larson, who is set to enter the round of 8 with a hefty gap over all seven of the other remaining title contenders.

How do things stack up heading into the round set to feature races at Texas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Martinsville Speedway?

Here are the updated playoff standings, factoring in the post-Charlotte reset and the playoff points that each of the eight remaining contenders have accrued since the 2021 season began back in mid-February with the Daytona 500.

Rank – Driver – Points (Behind)
1 – Kyle Larson – 4065 (0)
2 – Denny Hamlin – 4030 (-35)
3 – Martin Truex Jr. – 4029 (-36)
4 – Ryan Blaney – 4024 (-41)
5 – Kyle Busch – 4023 (-42)
6 – Chase Elliott – 4022 (-43)
7 – Joey Logano – 4013 (-52)
8 – Brad Keselowski – 4008 (-57)

Here is how things stand in relation to the Championship 4 cut line.

Rank – Driver – Points (Ahead/Behind)
1 – Kyle Larson – 4065 (+42)
2 – Denny Hamlin – 4030 (+7)
3 – Martin Truex Jr. – 4029 (+6)
4 – Ryan Blaney – 4024 (+1)
——-CHAMPIONSHIP 4 CUT LINE——-
5 – Kyle Busch – 4023 (-1)
6 – Chase Elliott – 4022 (-2)
7 – Joey Logano – 4013 (-11)
8 – Brad Keselowski – 4008 (-16)

Larson has been the betting favorite to win the 2021 championship, according to WynnBET, for the last four-plus months.

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He has maintained that status heading into the round of 8, as he is listed at +225. Interestingly, he was listed at +200 before the round of 12, so the fact that his odds actually got worse, despite the fact that he won one of the three round of 12 races to add to his series-high win total, make him an even more attractive option now.

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The round of 8 is scheduled to get underway this Sunday, October 17 with the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500, which is set to be broadcast live from Texas Motor Speedway on NBC beginning at 2:00 p.m ET. So start your free trial of FuboTV today if you have not already done so!