NASCAR at Darlington: Playoff standings, TV schedule, qualifying drivers for Southern 500
Just two races remain before the start of the playoffs and some of NASCAR's biggest names have work to do to secure a spot in the postseason
Just two races remain before the start of NASCAR's playoffs and the 16-driver playoff field is set. Thirteen drivers have won a race that counts toward playoff eligibility, leaving 12 drivers fighting for the final three spots.
Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET on NBCSN) is the second-to-last chance bubble drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer have to secure their spot in the field with a win at one of NASCAR's most iconic tracks during the official throwback weekend of NASCAR.
Here’s how the Cup Series playoff grid shakes out now: Martin Truex Jr. (four wins, 35 playoff points), Kyle Busch (2, 20), Kyle Larson (3, 18), Jimmie Johnson (3, 16), Brad Keselowski (2, 14), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2, 10), Kevin Harvick (1, 8), Ryan Blaney (1, 8), Denny Hamlin (1, 7), Kurt Busch (1, 5), Ryan Newman (1, 5), Kasey Kahne (1, 5), Austin Dillon (1, 5), Chase Elliott (69 points ahead of Clint Bowyer on the cutoff line, 2 playoff points), Matt Kenseth (+61, 3), Jamie McMurray (+58, 0).
The 1.366-mile track at Darlington has seen 11 different drivers visit victory lane in its last 11 races which is good news for Bowyer, who is on the outside looking in. Needing a win to make the playoffs are Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano, who is currently out of the playoffs because an encumbered win at Richmond, the site of the final regular-season race.
NASCAR at Darlington schedule, TV channel info
(All times ET)
Friday, September 1
12-12:55 p.m.: Xfinity Series practice, NBCSN
1-1:55 p.m.: Xfinity Series practice, NBCSN
2:30-3:25 p.m.: Xfinity Series final practice, NBCSN
3:30-4:55 p.m.: Cup Series final practice, NBCSN
Saturday, September 2
12:05 p.m.: Xfinity Series qualifying, NBCSN
1:45 p.m.: Cup Series qualifying, NBCSN
3:30 p.m.: Xfinity Series Sports Clips Haircuts VFW 200 (147 laps, 200.8 miles), NBCSN
Darlington weather forecast
Weather in South Carolina could get pretty wet on Friday with a 60 percent chance of rain, and the chances increase as the day wears on. Saturday's Cup Series qualifying and Xfinity Series race, as well as Sunday's Southern 500 should stay dry with temperatures in the mid-80s.
What TV channel is the NASCAR race on?
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington begins at 6 p.m ET Sunday, Sept. 3, and can be seen on NBC Sports Network and the NBC Sports app.
What are the stage lengths for NASCAR's Southern 500?
The Southern 500, which is 367 laps and 501.3 miles, will be broken into three segments: Stage 1 ends on Lap 100, Stage 2 ends on Lap 200 and the final stage ends on Lap 367.
Saturday's Xfinity Series race will be broken into three stages: Lap 45, Lap 90 and Lap 147.
Which NASCAR Cup Series drivers are racing in the Southern 500 at Darlington?
There are 40 Cup drivers entered in Sunday's race, meaning all but one driver will make the race with Saturday's qualifying setting their starting positions. Here is the list of participating Cup drivers in alphabetical order by first name: