When the top three series in NASCAR begin their respective playoffs, the vehicles fighting for the championship trophy will sport a different look. NASCAR will use colored banners, spoilers, and lower noses to identify the playoff vehicles in each series.
According to Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass, each series will have a different color. The Cup Series playoff drivers will have yellow windshield banners, spoilers, and lower noses. The Xfinity Series drivers will use red to identify their vehicles. Finally, the Truck Series will use blue on the playoff contenders.
The Camping World Truck Series kicks off the playoffs on Friday, Aug. 20, with the Gateway 200 presented by CK Power at the World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway in Madison, Ill. The Cup Series playoffs will begin with the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 5. The Xfinity Series playoffs will start last with the Alsco Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 25.
The Cup Series Used Darker Banners in 2020
Using special colors to identify the playoff drivers is nothing new for NASCAR. The sanctioning body has done so in the past, including during the 2020 Xfinity Series playoffs. Drivers such as Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe had red banners and spoilers to let viewers know that they fought for the championship trophy.
The Cup Series took a different approach during the 2020 playoffs. Instead of using bright colors to identify the vehicles, NASCAR used a subdued look. Each stock car eligible to move on to the next round had a windshield banner bearing the NASCAR colors and the word “Playoffs.” Those that were not eligible had a banner that simply said “Cup Series.”
The setback with this approach is that the banners looked very similar at nearly 200 mph. Both featured a black background with silver lettering, making it difficult for fans and viewers to differentiate at any given moment. Using yellow will help fans quickly determine which driver remains eligible throughout the various rounds of the playoffs as the field drops from 16 to only four drivers.
The Cup & Xfinity Series Fields Are Not Yet Complete
The Truck Series drivers kick off the playoffs on Aug. 20, but there are still multiple races remaining for Cup and Xfinity Series drivers to lock up their spots. Though names on or within reach of the cut line such as Austin Dillon, Matt DiBenedetto, and Tyler Reddick have considerably less time to make moves.
There are only two races remaining in the Cup Series. The drivers will first head to Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 22, for 200 laps around the two-mile oval. The regular season will end the following week with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 28. Kevin Harvick and Reddick currently sit above the cut line, so other drivers will have to win one of these races to leap into the playoff picture.
The Xfinity Series drivers such as Riley Herbst and Brandon Brown have considerably more opportunities to secure a spot in the playoffs. There are five races remaining in the regular season in which they can stack points or win races. The drivers will take on Michigan (Aug. 21), Daytona (Aug. 27), Darlington (Sept. 4), Richmond (Sept. 11), and Bristol (Sept. 17) before the playoffs officially begin.