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NASCAR playoff clinching scenarios heading into Martinsville Speedway

The Championship 4 will be settled on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/BRCC Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dead on Tools 250 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2021 in Martinsville, Virginia. Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

The NASCAR Cup Series playoff is fast coming to a close with only two races remaining. The round of 8 wraps up on Halloween with the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. A week later, the season-ending Cup Series Championship will run at Phoenix Raceway in Arizona.

One driver has secured his spot among the Championship 4. Kyle Larson has dominated the playoffs, winning three straight races to secure his spot next week in Phoenix. The current projected top four includes Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch, but none of that three is guaranteed anything if they perform poorly in the Xfinity 500.

There are several clinching scenarios where someone can control their own destiny vs. someone needing certain things to happen. The most basic clinching option is outright winning the race. If one of Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, or Joey Logano win the race, that driver advances to the Championship.

NASCAR has provided a rundown of additional clinching scenarios as follows:

If there is a repeat winner or a win by a driver who cannot advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the fourth winless driver in the standings. The same point requirements listed below would hold true if a new win comes from among Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin or Kyle Busch.

  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 20 points, 22 points if Kyle Busch wins
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 23 points, 24 points if Kyle Busch wins
  • Kyle Busch: Would clinch with 54 points
  • Ryan Blaney: Would clinch with 55 points, would need help if Kyle Busch wins
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 55 points, would need help if Kyle Busch wins
  • Brad Keselowski: Could only clinch with help
  • Joey Logano: Could only clinch with help

If there is a new winner from Ryan Blaney or another winless driver lower in the standings but still eligible to advance to the next round, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the third winless driver in the standings.

  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 22 points
  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 25 points
  • Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help
  • Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Could only clinch with help
  • Brad Keselowski: Could only clinch with help