After seven races in the NASCAR season, the sport's premier series is experiencing its highest level of parity this early since the introduction of the current playoff format in 2014.
Drivers and teams become eligible for the one of the 16 spots in playoffs with a race win. Any spot not filled by a race winner is filled by points.
Jimmie Johnson's win Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway put the number of teams and drivers eligible for the playoffs via wins at six each ahead of the Easter break.
For teams, that's the most organizations that have become eligible since the format was introduced. Four teams were eligible in each of the first three years.
Six drivers is the second most since the seven that qualified in 2014.
Teams and drivers that are eligible for the playoffs through seven races: Stewart-Haas Racing (Kurt Busch), Team Penske (Brad Keselowski), Furniture Row Racing (Martin Truex Jr.), Richard Childress Racing (Ryan Newman), Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle Larson) and Hendrick Motorsports (Jimmie Johnson).
The parity is helped by Richard Childress Racing, Furniture Row Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing winning races this early for the first time under the win-and-in format.
-- NBC Sports --