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NASCAR playoffs: Meet the 16 drivers who will compete for the 2023 Cup Series championship

NASCAR playoffs: Meet the 16 drivers who will compete for the 2023 Cup Series championship

After 26 races, culminating in Saturday night’s regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are officially set, with 16 drivers seeking to claim the championship trophy and etch their name in racing history.

The playoffs consist of 10 races, beginning with next weekend’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and concluding with the championship race at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 5. The first nine races are broken up into three rounds with three races apiece. Four drivers will be eliminated after the third, sixth and ninth races, leaving a final four to battle for the championship.

While six former champions will contend for another title, the biggest shocker is who won’t be among them – 2020 champion and NASCAR’s most popular driver, Chase Elliott, who missed seven races this season and went winless in the other 19.

Who are the playoff drivers and how were the points set?

Here are the 16 playoff drivers, re-seeded after the first 26 races to include playoff points earned for race and stage wins plus bonus points for finishing in the top 10 of the regular-season standings.

Points were reset to 2,000 apiece for each playof driver before bonus points were added. Five playoff points were awarded for each regular-season win and one point each for winning a stage. The regular-season champion earned a 15-point bonus, the runner-up 10, the third-place driver eight, the fourth-place driver seven down to one point for 10th place.

Standings entering first playoff race (*-former champion):

  1. William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports — 2,036 points
  2. *Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing — 2,036 points
  3. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing — 2,025 points
  4. Chris Buescher, RFK Racing — 2,021 points
  5. *Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing — 2,019 points
  6. *Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports — 2,017 points
  7. Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing — 2,014 points
  8. Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing — 2,011 points
  9. *Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing — 2,010 points
  10. Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing — 2,009 points
  11. *Joey Logano, Team Penske — 2,008 points
  12. Ryan Blaney, Team Penske — 2,008 points
  13. Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports — 2,007 points
  14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing — 2,005 points
  15. *Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing — 2,004 points
  16. Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing — 2,000 points

What TV channels are the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs on?

The first four races will be televised on USA Network while the final six will be on NBC.

Will there be live streams of the NASCAR Cup Series playoff races?

All 10 races can be live streamed on the NBC Sports website and the NBC Sports app.

What is the NASCAR Cup Series playoff schedule?

With dates, track, time and TV network; All times Eastern.

Sunday, Sept. 3: Darlington Raceway (1.366-mile oval), 6 p.m., USA

Sunday, Sept. 10: Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile oval), 3 p.m., USA

Saturday, Sept. 16: Bristol Motor Speedway (0.533-mile oval), 7:30 p.m., USA

Sunday, Sept. 24: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval), 3:30 p.m., USA

Sunday, Oct. 1: Talladega Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval), 2 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Oct. 8: Charlotte Motor Speedway (2.28-mile road course/oval), 2 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Oct. 15: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval), 2:30 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Oct. 22: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval), 2:30 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Oct. 29: Martinsville Speedway (0.526-mile oval), 2 p.m., NBC

Sunday, Nov. 5: Phoenix Raceway – championship race (1-mile oval), 3 p.m., NBC

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