Updated 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Standings Following Joey Logano’s Victory at Darlington

Joey Logano’s victory at Darlington means we’ve now seen 10 winners in 12 races in the season’s NASCAR Cup Series, with Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick among the big names still not on the board and Kyle Larson not looking like he’s going to monopolize Victory Lane the way he did in his comeback season.

Translation: You really don’t want to go into the late stages of the regular season standing 17th (or worse) in points despite owning a victory. Yes, we’re talking about you, Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric.

Kyle Larson’s NASCAR Cup Series struggles continued at Darlington

Kyle Larson looks on during practice for the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway on April 30, 2022. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Kyle Larson looks on during practice for the DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway on April 30, 2022. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Can we all agree that it might not happen for Kyle Larson in 2022? The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion does own a victory and is still in the top 10 in points, but his first season in the Next Gen car just isn’t coming close to meeting expectations.

It was at Darlington a year ago where Larson started piecing together second-place finishes that morphed into a string of victories and the regular-season championship, securing him a boatload of playoff points. On Sunday at Darlington, Larson posted his fourth DNF of the year, twice as many as he registered in all of 2021.

Larson is 117 points out of first place, which puts him about as close to 24th-place driver Bubba Wallace as he is to leader Chase Elliott. He’s still comfortably within reach of the playoffs, but it’s fair to start asking whether he’ll make it into the Championship 4 or even the final eight.

Still, it’s better to be in Larson’s situation than the predicament in which Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric reside.

Rank Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10 DNFs
1 Chase Elliott 453 1 2 7 3 9 0
2 William Byron 388 2 3 13 4 4 2
3 Ryan Blaney 388 0 4 4 4 6 1
4 Joey Logano 374 1 1 6 4 6 1
5 Ross Chastain 364 2 2 12 7 7 3
6 Kyle Busch 364 1 0 5 3 8 2
7 Martin Truex Jr. 364 0 3 3 2 5 2
8 Alex Bowman 357 1 1 6 3 7 1
9 Kyle Larson 336 1 1 6 5 6 4
10 Christopher Bell 327 0 0 0 2 6 2
11 Kevin Harvick 313 0 0 0 2 6 2
12 Aric Almirola 311 0 0 0 1 4 0
13 Chase Briscoe 287 1 1 6 2 3 2
14 Austin Dillon 287 0 0 0 3 6 3
15 Tyler Reddick 286 0 2 2 4 5 3
16 Erik Jones 282 0 0 0 1 4 3

Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric are spinning their wheels

It wasn’t that long ago that observers were celebrating a potential breakout season for Chase Briscoe. The No. 14 Ford won the Phoenix race and the Atlanta pole six days apart, and Briscoe was third on the points list. In seven races since, he has fared no better than ninth, dropping Briscoe to 13th, just five points ahead of No. 16 Erik Jones.

As for Cindric, are we looking at the possibility of the Daytona 500 winner not making the playoff field? Cindric has only been back to the top 10 in a race once since the opener and is now 18th in points. Denny Hamlin is 27 points behind Cindric, so the rookie isn’t even the single-race winner in the worst spot.

Is It realistic to think, though, that seven NASCAR Cup Series drivers who’ve yet to win this season will score victories? It’s more plausible if Kyle Larson isn’t going to win five regular-season races as he did in 2021, but it’s still iffy.

Let’s revisit that if Michael McDowell, Daniel Suarez, and Aric Almirola hit paydirt in the next six or seven points races. With Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick also still out there, that would certainly start making life uncomfortable for previous winners who are low on the points list.

Rank Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10 DNFs
17 Daniel Suarez 269 0 1 1 2 4 2
18 Austin Cindric 258 1 0 5 1 2 2
19 Chris Buescher 251 0 0 0 0 3 2
20 Justin Haley 243 0 0 0 1 1 0
21 Kurt Busch 233 0 0 0 2 4 2
22 Denny Hamlin 231 1 2 7 1 1 4
23 Michael McDowell 231 0 0 0 0 4 1
24 Bubba Wallace 225 0 1 1 1 1 2
25 Ty Dillon 205 0 0 0 0 1 2
26 Cole Custer 200 0 0 0 0 0 4
27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 198 0 0 0 1 3 4
28 Todd Gilliland 173 0 0 0 0 0 3

The 23XI Racing watch

Darlington was another troubling day for 23XI Racing, and it’s now apparent that Bubba Wallace isn’t making the playoffs without a victory in one of the remaining 14 regular-season races. Kurt Busch’s prospects are only marginally better.

Wallace and Busch had their days end in crashes 93 laps apart and finished 27th and 33rd, respectively. Wallace placed second at Daytona and hasn’t been better than 13th since.

Busch has placed better than 16th just once in the past seven races. He dropped a notch to 20th place on the latest points list, and Busch hasn’t been that low 12 races into a NASCAR Cup Series season since 2014.

Rank Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10 DNFs
29 Harrison Burton 169 0 0 0 0 0 3
30 Corey LaJoie 161 0 0 0 1 1 3
31 Brad Keselowski 153 0 0 -10 0 1 1
32 Cody Ware 109 0 0 0 0 0 4
33 BJ McLeod 78 0 0 0 0 0 3
34 David Ragan 61 0 0 0 0 1 0
35 Garrett Smithley 28 0 0 0 0 0 0
36 Greg Biffle 24 0 0 0 0 0 3
37 Jacques Villeneuve 15 0 0 0 0 0 0
38 Boris Said 11 0 0 0 0 0 0
39 Joey Hand 2 0 0 0 0 0 1

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