The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs began with the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 6.  In a wild affair that brought trouble for more of the playoff drivers than not also brought Denny Hamlin his first win of the season.

While Hamlin has secured his spot in the next round of the playoffs, several of the top 16 drivers are facing elimination after the race at Bristol Motor Speedway in two weeks.

The four drivers with the lowest points will be eliminated as the playoffs move into the next round after Bristol.

After the end of the regular season race at Daytona, all of the points were reset for the playoff drivers to 2,000 plus any bonus and playoff points.

With a total of 2,106 points Kyle Larson holds on to the lead with Denny Hamlin in second place with 2,072 points.

After the first race in round one of the playoffs, the standings are:
Kyle Larson – 2,106
Denny Hamlin – 2,072
Martin Truex Jr – 2,062
Kurt Busch – 2,052
Ryan Blaney – 2,048
Joey Logano – 2,047
Kevin Harvick – 2,046
Brad Keselowski – 2,038
Christopher Bell – 2,031
Chase Elliott – 2,030
Aric Almirola – 2,029
Tyler Reddick – 2,026
Alex Bowman – 2,026
Kyle Busch – 2,024
William Byron – 2,017
Michael McDowell – 2,006

On Saturday night, the drivers will take on the ¾ mile track at Richmond.