The math is somewhat simple.
Six drivers are left to fight over those spots. They only have this weekend’s race at Phoenix (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC) left to secure those spots.
Here’s a look at those drivers vying for those final spots.
Kyle Busch (28 points above cutline)
Finish at Texas: 17th
Spring finish at Phoenix: Second
Career at Phoenix: One win (2005). Hasn’t finished worse than seventh in last six starts.
Outlook: Busch is a threat wherever he goes these days, even though he hasn’t had the same consistent winning speed in the playoffs. He led 128 laps at Phoenix in the spring before bad timing on a pit stop gave the win to Kevin Harvick.
Martin Truex Jr (+25)
Finish at Texas: Ninth
Spring finish at Phoenix: Fifth
Career at Phoenix: Two of his three top fives have come in the last two races.
Outlook: Nothing has gone Truex’s way in the playoffs yet he’s still inside the top four. The defending champion needs a little luck on his side or a win to stay where he is.
Kurt Busch (-25 from cutline)
Finish at Texas: Seventh
Spring finish at Phoenix: 10th
Career at Phoenix: One win (2005). No top fives since fall 2016 race.
Outlook: Busch has been consistent through the playoffs, but he’ll need to be more than that at Phoenix where his teammate Kevin Harvick has won seven of the last 12 races.
Chase Elliott (-39)
Finish at Texas: Sixth
Spring finish at Phoenix: Third
Career at Phoenix: Finished top three in last two starts. Low finish of 12th in five starts.
Outlook: Despite two playoffs wins Elliott will likely need to get a third in Phoenix to advance to the championship four. He was 10 laps from a win in this race last year before he was passed by Matt Kenseth.
Aric Almirola (-57)
Finish at Texas: Eighth
Spring finish at Phoenix: Seventh
Career at Phoenix: His two top 10s in 15 starts have come in the last two races.
Outlook: Almirola will have to win to continue what’s already been the best season of his career. Luckily he and his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates haven’t shown any indications of slowing down as the playoffs have progressed.
Clint Bowyer (-73)
Finish at Texas: 26th, three laps down
Spring finish at Phoenix: Sixth
Career at Phoenix: Two top fives in 26 starts, none since 2008. Average finish of 18.4 is third worst on circuit.
Outlook: Bowyer has to win at Phoenix. The SHR driver has pulled his career out of a four-year nosedive that preceded him joining the team. Unfortunately, he’s nosedived in the last three races, not finishing better than 13th.