With 10 races remaining on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season schedule, the playoff field is far from solidified. Which drivers could lose their spots?
The one and only off weekend of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is in the books. Following this past weekend, there are 20 straight weeks of action scheduled to wrap up the season.
The first 10 of those 20 races are regular season races, which serve to set the 16-driver field for the four-round, 10-race playoffs.
With so many races left before the postseason is scheduled to begin in early September, several drivers in provisional playoff spots could still drop out.
Here are the five drivers most likely to fall.
NASCAR drivers who could lose playoff spots: No. 1 – Alex Bowman
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We could spend all day talking about “what if?” in regard to Alex Bowman. Bowman currently occupies the 16th and final playoff spot by just three points over Trackhouse Racing Team’s Daniel Suarez, who is hungry to get back to the postseason after getting there for the first time last year.
Bowman has had a much stronger season than his points position indicates. He led the standings after several events early in the season, but his season has gone downhill since the 60-point penalty he was issued after the early April race at Richmond Raceway. He later missed three races with a fractured vertebra he suffered in a sprint car crash.
In terms of actual points scored (excluding the penalty), Bowman has averaged almost 10 more points per race than Suarez. Yet here he is, at risk of missing the playoffs — and thus the round of 12 — for the first time since joining Hendrick Motorsports full-time in 2018. He can only hope that he isn’t left asking “what if?” when the postseason rolls around.