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) /
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Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

NASCAR playoff drivers in trouble: No. 6 – Chase Elliott

Championship odds: +2200

Chase number two and Hendrick Motorsports driver number two on the list: Chase Elliott. Like teammate Alex Bowman, Elliott missed several races earlier this season, six due to a fractured tibia he suffered in a snowboarding crash and one due to a suspension for an ill-advised retaliation move on Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Elliott actually hasn’t had a terrible season — when he has actually driven the No. 9 Chevrolet. Despite missing four more races than Bowman, his lack of a 60-point penalty and overall better performance have him sitting just 11 points behind his teammate.

His average finish of 13.3 is tied for fourth in the series and is close to his series-leading mark of 12.5 from last year, when he also led all drivers in wins, laps led, and total points scored. Despite having been sidelined from seven races, there are only nine drivers who have recorded more top five finishes than he has.

But following a recent DNF at Michigan International Speedway, Elliott’s path to qualify for the playoffs on points is narrow, if even existent. He may need to win one of the final three races of the regular season to get in.

Elliott has never missed the playoffs — or the round of 12 — as a full-time Cup Series driver, and he hasn’t missed the round of 8 since his rookie season in 2016. The 2020 champion is the only driver riding a streak of three consecutive Championship 4 appearances.

All of those streaks could be in serious jeopardy.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

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