NASCAR playoff watch: Jimmie Johnson is 12 points outside the top 16 after Pocono

There are just five races to go until the NASCAR playoffs begin. Where has the summer gone?!

In with a win

Kyle Busch (4 wins)

Martin Truex Jr. (4)

Brad Keselowski (3)

Denny Hamlin (3)

Joey Logano (2)

Kevin Harvick (1)

Kurt Busch (1)

Chase Elliott (1)

Alex Bowman (1)

Hamlin now has three wins after winning at Pocono on Sunday and is now fourth in the points standings. All of the drivers listed above only have to worry about their playoff bonus points.

Should make it without a win

Aric Almirola, 614 points

Ryan Blaney, 599

William Byron, 582

Byron was fourth on Sunday. That’s massive as he’s now 12th in the standings and 23 points ahead of Erik Jones. He’s also 62 points ahead of 17th in the standings now. That’s big. The most points a driver can earn in a single race is 60 points. He’s a full race ahead of his teammate Jimmie Johnson.

In, for now

Erik Jones, 559

Kyle Larson, 557

Clint Bowyer, 532

Ryan Newman, 532

Jones was second on Sunday. Larson was fifth and they both have a decent cushion on Bowyer and Newman. Bowyer finished 11th while Newman was 14th at Pocono.

Outside looking in

Jimmie Johnson, 520

Daniel Suarez, 501

Paul Menard, 464

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 444

Johnson ran in the top 10 at one point on Sunday. He finished 15th. Suarez had an incident with Blaney and finished 24th. At the moment, Johnson is the only realistic candidate to leap back into the top 16 via points. Suarez is going to need someone ahead of him to have a disastrous race to get back within striking distance. But with five races to go before the playoffs, there’s still plenty of time.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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