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

Five drivers who made it to the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are at serious risk of not making it back to the postseason in 2024.
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
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The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season was guaranteed to see a different playoff field than the 2023 season, given the fact that Kevin Harvick retired at the end of last year.

With eight races remaining on the 26-race regular season schedule, it's looking like that 16-driver playoff grid might actually be much, much different.

Several drivers who did not make it into last year's playoffs have already won this year, including Hendrick Motorsports' Chase Elliott, Trackhouse Racing Team's Daniel Suarez, and Team Penske's Austin Cindric, and a few others are sitting in favorable positions in the point standings.

Here are five playoff drivers from 2023 at risk of not getting back in 2024.

1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Barring another upset victory like he earned in last year's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, JTG Daugherty Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was simply never going to get back to the playoffs in 2024.

His only two playoff appearances in 11 previous seasons in the Cup Series came after he found his way to victory lane. He would not have gotten in on points either year (2017 or 2023).

Stenhouse finds himself in 24th place in the point standings, 132 points below the cut line. He has recorded four top seven finishes this year, including two in the top five, but he has yet to prove himself as a true contender, having led only five laps in the first half of the year. He led at least 35 laps each year from 2017 to 2023.