NASCAR: 5 playoff drivers who could be in trouble

Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /
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Brad Keselowski, NASCAR
Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Playoff drivers who could be in trouble: No. 5 – Brad Keselowski

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has been nothing shy of a disaster for Brad Keselowski in his first season a driver/co-owner at RFK Racing. While growing pains were expected in year number one of his post-Team Penke career, the season has truly been a disappointment.

Things started off quite well, with Keselowski winning his Bluegreen Vacations Duels qualifying race for the Daytona 500 and teammate Chris Buescher winning his.

Keselowski then led the most laps in the Daytona 500 itself, and while he had to settle for ninth place, he emerged from Daytona International Speedway tied for the lead of the point standings.

But he has yet to finish higher than 10th place since, and he and the #6 team were issued a 100-point penalty after the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March as a result of a violation discovered during teardown inspection at the NASCAR R&D Center.

Through 16 races, Keselowski sits in 30th place in the point standings, and even without that penalty, he would be in 21st, which is nowhere near the playoff cut line.

Keselowski has not missed the playoffs since the 2013 season, and he has not had a winless season since 2010. Unfortunately, both streaks are at risk in 2022.

Fortunately, a win would count toward his playoff eligibility, since he has been able to climb back into the top 30 in the point standings after being initially knocked to 35th place, below all of the other full-time drivers and even a few part-time drivers.

But even a win wouldn’t necessarily clinch him a playoff spot, since there could very well be more than 16 regular season winners. There have already been 12, and there are still 10 regular season races to go.

Plus, Keselowski isn’t exactly in an ideal position to be ahead of any other race winners on points in the event that there are more than 16 winners.

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Will any of these five drivers qualify for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs? Will somebody else who made the playoffs last year fail to qualify? Which other drivers who were not in the playoffs last year could sneak in, either by getting in on points or scoring upset victories before the regular season ends at Daytona International Speedway in late August?