Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Logano win increases pressure at NASCAR playoff cutline

Joey Logano won his way into the Cup Series playoffs last weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. He also moved the cutline and increased the amount of pressure on multiple drivers in the process.

Before the Nashville race, Logano was the final driver above the cutline. He had a 13-point lead over Bubba Wallace, who finished seventh at Nashville. With Logano moving the cutline, Wallace is now 51 points out of a playoff spot.

Similarly, Alex Bowman is now the last driver above the cutline. Before, he had Logano behind him in points. Bowman is 51 points ahead of Wallace after finishing 14th at Nashville.

Bowman is not the only driver above the cutline who will face increased pressure heading to Chicago this weekend and then Pocono the week after.

Four other drivers seeking their first win of the season are above the cutline. Only one can feel relatively safe. Martin Truex Jr. is 143 points to the good with seven races remaining in the regular season.

Ty Gibbs is 70 points ahead of the cutline, Ross Chastain is 66 points ahead, and Chris Buescher is only 56 points ahead.

Logano winning at Nashville is a double hit for Chastain, who was in a position to win his way into the playoffs at the start of overtime. He was in the lead late in regulation but fell to second after Denny Hamlin passed him on Lap 294.

Chastain received a second opportunity after Austin Cindric spun with two laps remaining. He was able to line up next to Hamlin for the first overtime attempt. All Chastain needed to do was win the two-lap shootout.

"I'm just driving down into Turn 1 and I knew if I hung on the 11's right rear, I would have a shot to win," Chastain said after the race.

The Trackhouse Racing driver was not able to accomplish his goal. Once the green flag waved, Kyle Larson tried to move Hamlin entering Turn 1. Larson's splitter hit the apron, which shot his car to the right and directly into Chastain. The No. 1 spun into the outside wall.

This wreck ended Chastain's day. Instead of winning his second consecutive race at Nashville and returning to the playoffs, he left the track with a 33rd-place finish.

Chase Briscoe sits in a similar situation as Chastain although he remains below the cutline. He also had an opportunity to win the Cup race in overtime. He lined up on the front row for the fourth and fifth overtime attempts.

However, Briscoe ran out of fuel after taking the white flag. He ended the day 21st and left Nashville 78 points below the cutline.