A runner-up finish at Sonoma by Clint Bowyer moved the Stewart-Haas Racing driver into the critical transfer spot for the Cup with 10 races left in the regular season.
Bowyer moved up to 11th in the points standings as teammate Kevin Harvick became the 11th driver to qualify for the playoffs with a win in 2017.
Winless drivers who provisionally are qualified for 16-driver playoffs on points: Kyle Busch (fourth), Chase Elliott (sixth), Jamie McMurray (eighth), Denny Hamlin (ninth) and Bowyer (11th). Joey Logano (10th in points) also is qualified despite having a Richmond win that doesn’t count for playoff eligibility because of a penalty.
Bowyer moved four points ahead of Matt Kenseth for the final spot on points.
Kyle Larson remained the regular-season points leader with a 13-point lead on Martin Truex Jr., who missed an opportunity to regain first in the rankings because of an engine failure. Truex did win his series-leading 11th stage, extending his playoff points total to 21 points, tops in the series.