When Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick put his number four car out in front for the lead at the end of stage one in the Drydene 311 at Dover International Speedway on August 23, he did more than dominate the remainder of the race, Harvick clinched the regular season title for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.  Harvick clinched the title somewhere around the halfway point of the 115 lap stage two – a little less than halfway through the race.

Harvick continued to dominate the race winning both stages…and the race itself for his seventh race win of the 2020 season.  The win also earned Harvick his 56th career win to tie with fellow NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch.

Clinching the title has earned Harvick an additional 15 playoff points to go along with the 42 playoff points he has already earned. 

While driver points get reset at the end of every round, any playoff points a drivers has earned carries through as long as they are a part of the playoff picture.  The 10 race playoff races are divided into three rounds of three races each with the final round consisting of a single championship race where four drivers will compete for the championship.

Going into the doubleheader weekend at Dover, 10 drivers had secured their spots in the 16 driver playoff roster after earning at least one race win.  By the end of the second doubleheader race on Sunday, three more drivers had earned their spot in the playoffs based on points.  Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kurt Busch who drives the number one car, Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola who drives the number 10 car, and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch who drives the number 18 car have secured themselves a spot at least in the first round of the playoffs.

The final race in the regular season is a race around the tri-oval at Daytona International Speedway where the final three spots will be filled.

Drivers who have earned playoff spots with race wins are Kevin Harvick with seven, Denny Hamlin with six, Brad Keselowski with three, Chase Elliott and Joey Logano each have two, with Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr, Austin Dillon, and Cole Custer each win one win.

Currently Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, and William Byron hold the final three spots in the playoffs, but with the unpredictability of super speedway racing at Daytona, anything can happen.  Seven time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is in his final season as a full time driver; he is currently four points below the cut line in seventeenth place.  Johnson must make a very good showing…or even a win to clinch a spot in the playoffs in his final season.