Updated 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Standings Following Chase Elliott’s Victory at Dover

OK, we’re done worrying about Chase Elliott, not that there was really a reason to be concerned in the first place. Winning at Dover all but clinched it, but he was going back to the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs regardless.

As we scour the list of the other 15 drivers who advanced to the 2021 playoffs, however, it’s time for at least three drivers to either start maximizing their points or win a race.

Chase Elliott is pulling away ahead of the return to Darlington

Chase Elliott went 26 races between victories but was consistently finishing in the top 10 even before Monday's triumph at Dover. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Chase Elliott went 26 races between victories but was consistently finishing in the top 10 even before Monday’s triumph at Dover. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Chase Elliott experienced difficulty closing the deal since mid-2021, but the man still possessed a knack for being in the picture near the end of NASCAR Cup Series races. This week, the series returns to Darlington, the site of Elliott’s last DNF. Elliott and Christopher Bell tangled in Turn 1 of the Cook Out Southern 500, and the then-defending Cup Series champ went to the garage 40 laps early.

Since then, Elliott has finished in the top 10 in 13 of 20 races. It’s that sort of consistency that allowed him to take the lead in points five races into the current season. He has pulled away since, with the victory at Dover putting him 50 points up on Ryan Blaney and 65 ahead of William Byron and Kyle Busch.

The picture figures to get even brighter for Elliott, too. Half of his 14 career victories have come on road courses, and the meat of NASCAR’s non-ovals schedule is still to come, beginning at Sonoma in mid-June.

Eleven of the top 12 drivers on the latest points list were playoff qualifiers a season ago. The newcomer crashing the party is Ross Chastain, whose two victories already guarantee him a spot in the 2022 postseason.

After 12th-place Kevin Harvick, eight of the next 10 drivers on the list didn’t make the 2021 playoffs, setting us up for an action-packed remainder of the regular season.

Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10 DNFs
Chase Elliott 418 1 2 7 2 8 0
Ryan Blaney 368 0 4 4 4 6 1
William Byron 353 2 3 13 4 4 2
Kyle Busch 353 1 0 5 3 8 1
Alex Bowman 349 1 1 6 3 7 0
Ross Chastain 338 2 1 11 7 7 2
Martin Truex Jr. 336 0 3 3 2 5 1
Kyle Larson 335 1 1 6 5 6 3
Joey Logano 316 0 0 0 3 5 1
Christopher Bell 284 0 0 0 2 5 2
Aric Almirola 283 0 0 0 1 4 0
Kevin Harvick 280 0 0 0 1 5 2
Chase Briscoe 270 1 1 6 2 3 2
Erik Jones 262 0 0 0 1 4 2
Austin Dillon 259 0 0 0 3 5 3
Tyler Reddick 249 0 2 2 3 4 3

It’s getting late for Tyler Reddick, Kurt Busch, and Michael McDowell

Chase Elliott’s victory at Dover made him the ninth driver to win through 11 races. Six of the nine made last season’s playoffs, and you have to figure Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., and Joey Logano are strong candidates to join the list in the remaining 15 regular-season races. Christopher Bell, who has been coming on strong since early frustrations, probably also belongs on the list.

Other drivers who entered the final 10 races last season with a shot at the title should be more than just mildly concerned as we creep up on the midpoint of the schedule. Chief among them, obviously, is Brad Keselowski, whose 100-point penalty is costing him 14 spots in the standings. Denny Hamlin is way back in points, too, but he won at Richmond.

Tyler Reddick is currently 16th in points, which isn’t a safe status since two drivers behind him (Austin Cindric and Hamlin) have been to Victory Lane. It gets worse for others: Kurt Busch is four places and 20 points behind Reddick, and Michael McDowell is eight places and 48 points back.

Reddick and Busch own four top-10 finishes apiece. McDowell has scored two of his three top-10 results in the past three weeks and has some momentum. Assuming he doesn’t win somewhere, though, he’ll need to pass at least 10 drivers in points to feel comfortable.

Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10 DNFs
Daniel Suarez 241 0 1 1 2 3 2
Austin Cindric 239 1 0 5 1 2 2
Chris Buescher 230 0 0 0 0 3 2
Kurt Busch 224 0 0 0 2 4 1
Bubba Wallace 214 0 1 1 1 1 1
Justin Haley 209 0 0 0 0 0 0
Denny Hamlin 204 1 2 7 1 1 4
Michael McDowell 201 0 0 0 0 3 1
Cole Custer 189 0 0 0 0 0 3
Ty Dillon 180 0 0 0 0 1 2
Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10 DNFs
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 169 0 0 0 1 2 4
Corey LaJoie 159 0 0 0 1 1 2
Todd Gilliland 151 0 0 0 0 0 3
Brad Keselowski 150 0 0 -10 0 1 0
Harrison Burton 146 0 0 0 0 0 3
Cody Ware 91 0 0 0 0 0 4
BJ McLeod 73 0 0 0 0 0 2
David Ragan 61 0 0 0 0 1 0
Garrett Smithley 28 0 0 0 0 0 0
Greg Biffle 24 0 0 0 0 0 3
Jacques Villeneuve 15 0 0 0 0 0 0
Boris Said 11 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joey Hand 2 0 0 0 0 0 1

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