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Cup Series playoff grid following Talladega

NASCAR America reviews the moment of solidarity for Bubba Wallace prior to the Talladega Cup race, salutes the speed of Ryan Blaney and Team Penske, and analyzes the performance of the underdogs and the exciting finish.

With the completion of Monday’s Cup race at Talladega, we’re now halfway through the regular season with 13 of 26 races behind us.

Ryan Blaney’s victory, his first of the year, locked him into the playoffs along with his two Team Penske teammates, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

Blaney is the eighth different driver to lock themselves into the playoffs with a victory this season. Denny Hamlin leads the standings with three race wins and 18 playoff points.

That leaves eight of 16 spots to be filled over the next 13 races before the playoffs begins.

The last two drivers currently in the top 16 are Matt DiBenedetto (+7 points above cutline) and rookie Tyler Reddick (+1 point).

The first four drivers currently outside the top 16 are Erik Jones (-1 points), Austin Dillon (-24), Chris Buescher (-40) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-43).

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