NASCAR Cup Series: 6 playoff drivers in serious trouble

Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /
2 of 6
Austin Cindric, Team Penske, NASCAR
Austin Cindric, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

NASCAR playoff drivers in trouble: No. 2 – Austin Cindric

Championship odds: +30000

Austin Cindric’s 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is a perfect example of a sophomore slump. Last year’s Daytona 500 winner qualified for the playoffs as a rookie thanks to his victory in the “Great American Race”.

But 23 races into year number two behind the wheel of the No. 2 Ford, he has yet to finish in the top five and finds himself in 21st place in the point standings with only three top 10 efforts to his name.

Yes, Ford have struggled throughout the majority of this season, and those struggles have shown in Team Penske’s relative lack of performance compared to previous seasons. But veteran teammate Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano are both race winners who find themselves in the top 12 in the standings with a combined 11 top five finishes, locking them solidly into the postseason once again.

Cindric has often run well in road and street course races, with two of his top 10 finishes this year having come at circuits with both left and right turns, so the rest of the regular season scheduled should play to his benefit. Plus, the regular season finale is at the venue where he earned his lone victory last February.