NASCAR: 5 playoff drivers who might not be back in 2024

No two NASCAR Cup Series playoff fields have ever been alike, and there is little reason to believe that will change in 2024. Who will drop out?

Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., NASCAR
Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., NASCAR / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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No. 4 - Kyle Busch

A lot of people doubted Kyle Busch's ability to perform at a high level after moving from Joe Gibbs Racing to Richard Childress Racing, especially after a 2022 season which saw his only win come because the two leaders tangled in the last corner on the final lap. That victory extended his win streak to a record-tying 18 seasons, and he would have missed the playoffs otherwise.

Busch quickly proved the doubters wrong, winning in his second start at Richard Childress Racing to extend that streak to a record-breaking 19 seasons. He established himself as the early championship favorite and added two more wins, but the second half of the season illustrated why many still believe that Richard Childress Racing are still a tier below some of the sport's top teams.

Busch recorded just three top 10 finishes in the playoffs and plummeted to 14th place in the point standings, his worst finish since his rookie season with Hendrick Motorsports in 2005.

He has now recorded back-to-back finishes outside of the top 12, something he had never previously done, and he has followed up his five-year Championship 4 streak with a four-year streak of not making it to the winner-take-all round.

I still wouldn't bet against Busch to at least make the playoffs, likely with at least another win, in 2024, but it won't be easy, especially not if the second half of the 2023 season is any indication.