With a handful of unexpected winners in 2017, the playoff bubble currently features some big names in the sport. These eight drivers make up a gap of close to 100 points right around the bubble to make the postseason.
A win would take away the uncertainty for this group of drivers but if we have another unexpected winner then the cutline for the postseason will shift even more.
Check out the eight drivers who are currently battling to stay in position to make the postseason:
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Denny Hamlin, +24 points of the playoff cutline
Of the drivers on this list, Hamlin should feel the most comfortable. He’s running nearly 10 spots better than he was at the start of the season and still has a handful of tracks where he should be a contender to score a victory.
Clint Bowyer, +7 points
Bowyer’s improvement with a competitive race team has been great, but he’s a competitor and wants to be around when the playoffs start. He’s been about a 15th-place car over the past five races. That’ll need to change if he wants to make a postseason run.
Joey Logano, final playoff spot
Logano believed his playoff spot was locked up when he took the checkered flag at Richmond but an encumbered win removed his automatic berth to the postseason. A rough stretch since then currently has him in the final playoff spot.
Matt Kenseth, -3 points of the playoff cutline
Kenseth’s bout of bad luck to start the season seems to be behind him, but he’s still digging out of the hole. If the trend continues over the past five races, he’ll overtake Logano in the standings this weekend at Michigan.
Erik Jones, -40 points
The impressive rookie posted a career-best third-place finish at Pocono last weekend and heads to his home track in Michigan this week. Expect him to keep improving through the summer and make a push for the playoffs.
Trevor Bayne, -59 points
The biggest thing in Bayne’s way of making the playoffs is that his best finish is 10th while every other driver in the top 21 spots in the standings has finished sixth or better in a race. The 17 drivers in front of Bayne in the standings have all finished third or better in a race. Bayne needs more speed in his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
Daniel Suàrez, -62 points
Suàrez seems to have a bit of the Matt Kenseth approach to racing. He quietly manages his equipment in the middle of the pack before making a late push toward a top-10 finish. It’s still an uphill battle for him to make the postseason.
Kasey Kahne, -88 points
Kahne’s gap between the final playoff spot has increased over the past several weeks. He’s been involved in a wreck in three-straight races and needs a quick turnaround if he hopes to point his way into the playoffs. He’s approach the must-win line fast.
© Nigel Kinrade LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Nigel Kinrade
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