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Cup standings after Darlington

Kurt Busch scrutinizes the decision by his crew chief Matt McCall to stay out and says it's exactly what allowed the team to use their strength of long-run speed for an eighth-place finish.

While Ford driver Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s Southern 500 to advance to the second round of the playoffs, other Ford drivers are at the bottom of the Cup standings after Darlington.

Aric Almirola holds the final transfer spot to the second round. He is tied with Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer but holds the tiebreaker on Bowyer. They are followed by rookie Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney at the bottom of the Cup standings after Darlington.

Two races remain in the opening playoff round before the 16-driver field is cut to 12. The series races at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Richmond Raceway. The first round ends Sept. 19 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Here is a look at the Cup playoff grid. Drivers shaded in green are locked in the playoffs. Drivers shaded in yellow are in a playoff spot based on their point total. Those shaded in red are outside a spot in the Cup playoff grid.

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