Kevin Harvick close to clinching Cup regular-season title
The Cup Series playoffs are nearly here and Kevin Harvick can clinch the the regular-season title early if things go right for him this weekend.
Only three races remain in the regular season and two of them will occur this weekend at Dover International Speedway.
Harvick, who has six race wins this season, has an 118-point advantage over second place Denny Hamlin. To clinch the regular season championship - and the 15 playoff points that come with it - Harvick will either need to be 121 points ahead of second in the points standings following Saturday’s race at Dover or 61 points ahead of second following Sunday’s race.
More: Dover weekend schedule
Entering Saturday’s race on the 1-mile track, 10 drivers have already locked themselves into the 16 driver playoff field through race wins.
Here are the Cup playoff clinching scenarios ahead of Saturday’s race (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
Clinch On Wins
The following 10 drivers have already clinched a top 30 spot in the points and with a win this weekend, they could clinch a playoff spot:
Aric Almirola (0 Wins, 682 Points, +434 Points Ahead of 31st)
Kurt Busch (0 Wins, 673 Points, +425 Points Ahead of 31st)
Kyle Busch (0 Wins, 652 Points, +404 Points Ahead of 31st)
Clint Bowyer (0 Wins, 618 Points, +370 Points Ahead of 31st
Matt DiBenedetto (0 Wins, 596 Points, +348 Points Ahead of 31st)
William Byron (0 Wins, 577 Points, +329 Points Ahead of 31st)
Jimmie Johnson (0 Wins, 552 Points, +304 Points Ahead of 31st)
Erik Jones (0 Wins, 542 Points, +294 Points Ahead of 31st)
Tyler Reddick (0 Wins, 520 Points, +272 Points Ahead of 31st)
Christopher Bell (0 Wins, 431 Points, +183 Points Ahead of 31st)
Clinch Top 30 and Wins
The next eight drivers attempting to clinch a spot in the top 30 in the driver standings will need help this weekend to accomplish the feat, but if they do and win the race, they will clinch a playoff spot.
Bubba Wallace (0 Wins, 412 Points, +164 Points Ahead of 31st)
Michael McDowell (0 Wins, 403 Points, +155 Points Ahead of 31st)
Chris Buescher (0 Wins, 403 Points, +155 Points Ahead of 31st)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (0 Wins, 396 Points, +148 Points Ahead of 31st)
Ryan Newman (0 Wins, 396 Points, +148 Points Ahead of 31st)
John Hunter Nemechek (0 Wins, 343 Points, +95 Points Ahead of 31st)
Ty Dillon (0 Wins, 342 Points, +94 Points Ahead of 31st)
Matt Kenseth (0 Wins, 327 Points, +79 Points Ahead of 31st)
Impossible to Clinch
Even with a win, Corey LaJoie (0 Wins, 287 Points, +39 Points Ahead of 31st) would not clinch a top 30 spot, so he cannot clinch a playoff berth in the next race. If he can’t clinch a spot in the top 30 with a win, no winless driver below him in the standings could clinch either.