If the NASCAR postseason started this week, these top drivers would be left out

With 12 races to go in the regular season, nine drivers have secured a spot in the postseason. Ryan Blaney earned his playoff spot with his first career win last week at Pocono, so the pressure is off of him during the last half of the season.

Other drivers who have secured bids are Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Newman, and Austin Dillon.

So, if the playoffs started today, only seven other drivers would be eligible to make the 16-driver field. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott are in the top six in the points standings, and they are in a relatively comfortable position.

Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer are 8-10 in the standings. All three would make the playoffs if the season ended today, but they don’t have much of a cushion at the moment.

The last driver without a win that would make the field is Joey Lagano. He’s 11th in the standings, and he technically has a win this season at Richmond, but it was an encumbered win so it doesn’t officially count for the playoffs.

Matt Kenseth is right behind Logano, while Erik Jones, Trevor Bayne and Daniel Suarez are also in the hunt.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. failed to finish for the fourth time this season at Pocono, and he slipped one spot down to No. 23 in the standings. He will most likely need a win to make the playoffs. Earnhardt Jr. has had success at Michigan International Speedway as he won the race in 2012.

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Joey Logano and Kyle Larson each won at Michigan last season, while Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth have also picked up wins there in the last few years.

The FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway begins Sunday, June 18 at 3 p.m.

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