With four races remaining in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, take a look at five drivers who can play a key role in solidifying this year’s 16-driver playoffs.
The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season has been eventful, producing 13 winners in 22 races thus far, and with four races remaining before the playoff field is set, there’s still the chance that all 16 playoff slots go to race winners.
There have been two new winners in the last two races, and with three of the four remaining races coming at venues that can be unpredictable, let’s take a look at five drivers who have a legitimate chance to change the playoff picture before the regular season concludes at Daytona International Speedway in August.
Drivers who can impact the playoffs: No. 1 – Tyler Reddick
Two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick has struggled to find victory lane in his first year and a half as a driver in the sport’s premier series. He has only scored four top five finishes to date, and only one of them has come in 2021. But he has been steadily improving as a whole.
Reddick has finished in the top 10 in 11 of the 22 races that have been contested so far this year, bettering his results from last year when he only recorded nine in 36 races.
He has shown strength at a variety of race tracks this season, including the road courses. He took the pole for the inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas in May before finishing in ninth place. He also won his first stage at Road America before finishing in eighth.
The driver of the #8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet has finished in the top nine in three of the last four races and has scored stage points in the last six stages. He currently sits 12th in the point standings as the final driver above the playoff cut line on points, just five points ahead of the first driver below it.
A win for Reddick would secure his position in the postseason, putting Kevin Harvick, a nine-time winner in 2020, just above the cut line and in danger of missing the playoffs.