NASCAR: Two 2-time champions at risk of missing the 2024 playoffs

Joey Logano and Kyle Busch are not in great positions in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings with the playoffs quickly approaching.
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR
Joey Logano, Team Penske, Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The 26-race 2024 NASCAR Cup Series regular season is nearly two-thirds of the way complete, with Sunday night's inaugural race at Iowa Speedway being race number 17 on the schedule.

The first 17 races have produced 10 different winners, including two who find themselves outside of the top 16 in the point standings (Trackhouse Racing Team's Daniel Suarez in 18th place and Team Penske's Austin Cindric in 19th).

As a result, the cut line to get into the four-round, 10-race postseason on points is currently between the 14th and 15th place drivers, not the 16th and 17th place drivers.

Two NASCAR Cup Series champions at risk

Sitting in 15th and 16th place in the point standings are two two-time series champions: Team Penske's Joey Logano and Richard Childress Racing's Kyle Busch.

Logano won the race at North Wilkesboro Speedway in May, but that race was the All-Star Race, an exhibition race, and therefore did not count toward the driver of the No. 22 Ford qualifying for the playoffs.

Busch entered the 2024 season on a record 19-year winning streak, but he has not yet found victory lane this year, despite having spent time atop the standings earlier in the season.

23XI Racing's Bubba Wallace sits in 14th place in the point standings and currently occupies the 16th and final playoff spot. He sits six points ahead of Logano and 31 points ahead of Busch.

Logano, champion in 2018 and 2022, hasn't missed the playoffs since 2017, when he ultimately missed out on points after his victory at Richmond Raceway was encumbered. In fact, he has never missed the Championship 4 in an even year, a streak that dates back to the introduction of the modern playoff format in 2014.

Busch, champion in 2015 and 2019, hasn't missed the playoffs since 2012. Both drivers have just five top 10 finishes and two top five finishes this year. Logano's top finish is second place at Richmond Raceway, while Busch's top finish is third at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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Both drivers do have multiple victories at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which is scheduled to host the USA Today 301 this coming Sunday, June 23. Busch has won there three times, most recently in 2017, while Logano has won there twice, more recently in 2014. Tune in to USA Network at 2:30 p.m. ET for live coverage. Start a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it!