There are two NASCAR races remaining, including this Sunday night’s Southern 500, and drivers at the cutoff point for the Monster Energy Cup playoffs are starting to feel the pressure. Several drivers are hovering around the bubble, and need to make a move either here at Darlington, or next week at the Brickyard.

Daniel Suarez has the last spot in the Monster Energy Playoffs, but only two points separate him from Clint Bowyer. (Image: Getty)

Two points separate the final driver in the playoffs, Daniel Suarez, from Clint Bowyer. Jimmie Johnson, who hasn’t missed the postseason in his 16-year career, is 26 points out of the last spot.

Odds to Win Southern 500

Driver                                    Odds

Kyle Larson                            5/1

Denny Hamlin                        6/1

Kevin Harvick                         6/1

Brad Keselowski                    6/1

Joey Logano                          6/1

Kyle Busch                             6/1

Martin Truex Jr.                      6/1

Odds Courtesy of Westgate LV SuperBook

Johnson has not had a top-10 finish since the second visit to Daytona in July, where he finished third. His best finish since that race was 15th at Pocono on July 28. He does have victories in 2004 and 2012.

Johnson knows that he needs to make a move in the next two weeks. He also realizes how difficult to win at Darlington, nicknamed “The Track too Tough to Tame.”

“Darlington just has its own persona,” Johnson said. “The Southern 500 has always been a spectacle to see. The track is so difficult and gritty to drive, it can tear you up pretty easy. It’s a long night and usually a hot one. “We know what we have to do, and I am excited about the direction we have taken as a team.”

Others Need Strong Finish

Johnson isn’t the only one on the bubble. Ryan Newman is in 15th place, and said that Darlington is a special place.

“Darlington is no doubt my favorite track on the circuit and a weekend I have circled every year,” Newman said. “Winning a Southern 500 has always been a goal of mine and it would rank near the top of everything I’ve accomplished in my career thus far.”

Monster Energy Cup Playoff Bubble Boys (Top 16 Qualify)

Standing              Driver                      Points

No. 14                 Eric Jones                  646

No. 15                 Ryan Newman           603

No. 16                 Daniel Suarez            591

No. 17                 Clint Bowyer              589

No. 18                Jimmie Johnson         565

No. 19                Paul Menard               520

One driver that is in serious danger of missing out on the playoffs is Ricky Stenhouse. He is 21st in the standings, and hasn’t much luck at Darlington. He did have his best finish there last year, placing 12th.

We haven’t had the best of luck at Darlington,” Stenhouse said. The track is tough hence its nickname ‘Too Tough to Tame’. Last year we had our best finish there and I think we learned some things that hopefully can translate into this weekend.”

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