Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) leads Jimmie Johnson (48) and Matt DeBenedetto (32) during practice for the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup auto race, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
He won Sunday at Michigan — where he beat Furniture Row teammates Jones and Martin Truex Jr. on the final restart for his third victory of the year.
There’s already 13 drivers locked in by race wins — and that doesn’t count Joey Logano, who won at Richmond but failed inspection so the victory is wiped out regarding playoff eligibility.
On the bubble for those final spots are Chase Elliott, Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and even Logano — all drivers who made the playoffs last year.
The regular-season title would give Truex a point bonus to start the first three rounds of the playoffs, and make him a heavy favorite to advance to the championship race even though the postseason has yet to begin.
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