NASCAR: Tyler Reddick not locked into playoffs with Talladega win

The NASCAR Cup Series has already seen seven winners in 2024, and there are still 16 regular season races remaining on the schedule.
Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, GEICO 500, Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR
Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, GEICO 500, Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

Tyler Reddick managed to avoid the chaos of a last-lap wreck in front of him and delivered the Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan-owned 23XI Racing team their first win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season in Sunday afternoon's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Reddick led 13 laps of the 188-lap race around the four-turn, 2.66-mile (4.281-kilometer) high-banked Lincoln, Alabama oval after starting in 18th place behind the wheel of his No. 45 Toyota. He became the seventh different winner through the first 10 races of the 2024 season.

But because there are still 16 races remaining on the regular season schedule, the only drivers locked into the playoffs are those who have won more than once. That list includes only Hamlin, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Hendrick Motorsports' William Byron.

Tyler Reddick not locked into playoffs after Talladega win

Single-race winners Reddick, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, Joe Gibbs Racing's Christopher Bell, and Trackhouse Racing Team's Daniel Suarez have technically not yet clinched their playoff spots, since there can still be more winners than playoff spots by the time the regular season is scheduled to come to an end in September at Darlington Raceway.

The regular season champion is locked into the playoffs whether he wins any of the 26 regular season races or not, and the next 15 spots are awarded to the drivers who rank highest in wins. There can be no more than 13 multi-race winners during the regular season, so drivers who win more than once are locked in.

In the event that there are more winners than playoff spots, the tiebreaker to determine which single-race winners advance to the postseason and which don't becomes points. Since the introduction of the modern playoff format in 2014, such a tiebreaker has never been needed, but there have been instances where it has indeed almost come into play, most recently in 2022.

There are often not enough winners to fill the 16-driver playoff field, meaning that the remaining spots are determined by points. Based on the official wording of the playoff format, points are technically considered a tiebreaker among non-winners to determine who fills out the rest of the postseason grid.

Reddick currently ranks third among the five single-race winners in the point standings. Las Vegas Motor Speedway winner Larson is the points leader while Texas Motor Speedway winner Elliott sits in third place, Reddick sits in fifth, Phoenix Raceway winner Bell sits in 13th, and Atlanta Motor Speedway winner Suarez sits in 18th.

Because one of those winners, Suarez, is positioned so low in the point standings, the current playoff cut line is positioned between the 15th and 16th place drivers (RFK Racing's Chris Buescher and Team Penske's Joey Logano, respectively) rather than the 16th and 17th place drivers (Logano and Richard Childress Racing's Kyle Busch).

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The 11th race on the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Wurth 400, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Dover Motor Speedway starting at 2:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, April 28. If you have not yet had the chance to start a free trial of FuboTV, do so today and don't miss it!