Depending on how you look at it, the Big Three are either in greater danger or safer after Joey Logano won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

With the second win of his season, the Team Penske contender leapfrogged Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. in the standings. Logano’s victory also means that he’s automatically qualified for the Championship Race in three weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It also means that the Big Three are currently above the cut with him.

On one hand, they have a pretty significant margin of error in terms of points of above Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola -- the last of which are arguably in must-win scenarios at Texas and Phoenix at 42 and 50 points below the cut.

But here’s the catch: If any of the four currently below the cut win the next two races, they will begin kicking out the Big Three one at a time. It’s possible that the three drivers everyone thought would dominate the playoffs could be down to just one or two representatives now that Logano won Martinsville.

Here are the standings after Martinsville.

RankDriverPoints to cutoff
1.Joey LoganoWINNER
2.Kyle Busch+46
3.Martin Truex Jr.+25
4.Kevin Harvick+25
—————CUTOFF LINE—————
5.Kurt Busch-25
6.Clint Bowyer-31
7.Chase Elliott-42
8.Aric Almirola-50

Source: Autoweek

October 29, 2018