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How the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs Work

SHANE van Gisbergen is almost certainly locked into the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs after his victory in Portland.

But how does the second tier of the stock car series, the equivalent of football finals, actually work?

When do the Xfinity Series Playoffs start?

The final round of the ‘regular season’ is race 26, the 300-lap Food City 300 night race in Bristol on September 20.

The first race of the playoffs is a week later in Kansas, the Kansas Lottery 300 on September 28.

What races are in the Xfinity Series playoffs?

The final seven races of the Xfinity Series season make up the playoffs, with the 2024 champion being crowned on November 9 in Phoenix.

Eligibility

Only twelve drivers will take part in the championship play-offs, with preference given to drivers who have won races.

The first hurdle is that you must have attempted to qualify for each race, although NASCAR may grant drivers a waiver in exceptional circumstances.

A driver must also certify that he has elected to earn points in the Xfinity Series in 2024. Drivers can start in all three of NASCAR’s top series, but they can only pursue a championship in one of those series in a given year. .

Winning races is the easiest way to make the play-offs, but the rules surrounding who makes the cut and who doesn’t are a little more complex than ‘win and you’re in’.

The top 11 drivers with the most wins at the end of the 26 regular season races will earn a playoff spot.

The 12e The spot is reserved for the points leader at the end of the regular season, in case he fails to win a race during that time.

Otherwise, it is the top twelve drivers with the most wins who will be at the top of the eligibility list.

Van Gisbergen is the 11the other driver to win an Xfinity race in 2024, but he is only the sixth full-time series competitor to record a win.

That should mean he’s safely locked into the playoffs; The only scenario in which he would be bumped now would be if a total of thirteen full-time Xfinity drivers win races in the regular season and Van Gisbergen has the fewest points of all, but that is highly unlikely.

If fewer than 11 drivers win races in the ‘regular season’, the remaining spots will go to winless drivers in order of their points.

The drivers who do not make the play-off spots will continue to participate in the remaining races of the season.

Eligibility tie-breaks

If more than twelve drivers win races, tiebreakers start with the number of races they won.

Multiple race wins put you at the front of the queue; Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill and Chandler Smith are the only eligible multiple race winners so far in 2024.

Van Gisbergen could join this weekend should he rise for the road course win in Sonoma.

If there are a bunch of drivers all tied at one win, then series points break the tie.

Playoff points

At the start of the play-offs, the points of the twelve eligible drivers will be reset to 2000.

Additionally, drivers earn bonus points throughout the season that are added to their total when the playoffs begin.

A stage win earns one playoff point, while a race win earns five playoff points.

More playoff points will be awarded to each eligible driver if he finishes in the top 10 in points at the end of the regular season:

1st: 15 points
2NL: 10 points
3rd: 8 points
4e: 7 points
5e: 6 points
6e: 5 points
7e: 4 points
8e: 3 points
9e: 2 points
10e: 1 point

For example, Austin Hill led the points at the end of the regular season last year, taking four race wins and four stage wins, adding 39 playoff points to his total.

However, John Hunter Nemechek actually led the standings going into the playoffs, thanks to earning 49 bonus points: 30 for six race wins, nine for each of his stage wins, plus 10 for his second-place finish in points.

The bonus points for stage and race wins will still be awarded during the first two play-off stages and will continue to count towards the driver’s total until the final race.

Playoff Phase 1: the Round of 12

This phase consists of three races: Kansas, Talladega and the Charlotte Roval.

After Charlotte, the playoff field is reduced to eight.

The 12 playoff drivers will continue to earn regular stage and race points, as well as collect more playoff points for stage and race wins.

If a play-off driver wins any of these three races, he automatically secures a spot in the round of eight.

In addition to the race winners, the rest of the eight-driver field will be filled on a points basis.

Playoff phase 2: the Round of 8

The eight drivers’ points will be reset to 3,000 plus their playoff points prior to this phase, which consists of three races: Las Vegas, Homestead-Miami and Martinsville.

After Martinsville, the playoff field is reduced to just four drivers who will compete for the title in the season-ending Championship Race.

If a play-off driver wins one of these three races, he automatically secures one of the four title contenders.

Regular race and stage points will continue to be accumulated, but playoff bonus points will no longer be awarded as they will not be used after the eighth round.

In addition to the race winners, the rest of the four-driver field will be filled on a points basis.

The championship race

The four drivers’ mission during the season finale in Phoenix is ​​simple: beat the other three.

The four title contenders’ points will be reset to 4,000 for the race and no play-off bonus points will be applied, but the number is purely arbitrary as their finishing position in the race matters most.

The winner of the Xfinity Series title will be the driver who finishes highest among the four contenders.

What happens to the remaining eight drivers who are eliminated from the play-offs?

They ultimately battle for fifth place in the rankings.

The four drivers eliminated from the play-offs at the end of the eighth round will be placed on equal footing with the four drivers who did not make it to the round of twelve.

They will be reduced to 2000 points, plus their playoff points and any points earned during the Round of 8.

For example, Hill was taken out of title contention during the final leg of last year’s round of 16 in Martinsville.

His points total was then reset to 2000, plus his 39 playoff bonus points, plus the 190 stage and race points he earned during the six races in the Round of 12 and Round of 8.

The race and stage points they earn in the final will be added to their final tally to determine positions five through twelve in the final standings.