Here's the unusual NASCAR playoffs scenario if more than 16 drivers qualify


Editor’s note: This story was originally published July 29, 2022 and has been updated. Welcome to FTW Explains, a guide to catching up on and better understanding stuff going on in the world. If you’re keeping an eye on the NASCAR Cup Series standings, you may notice there are a lot of different winners this season and just 16 playoff spots available. Maybe you’re wondering who makes the cut and why. That’s OK because we’re here to help. This isn’t something NASCAR and its fans have really had to seriously consider in previous seasons, but how is the Cup Series playoff field determined if there are more than 16 different regular-season race winners? Generally, the saying “win and you’re in” is applicable: A driver wins a regular-season race and automatically qualifies for one of 16 available spots in the postseason to contend for a championship. But if there are more Cup winners than playoff spots available, what then? Let’s get into it.