Updated 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Standings Following William Byron’s Victory at Martinsville

It seemed strange to look at the standings last week and see neither William Byron nor any of the season’s six other race winners ranked in the top three in points at just past the quarter pole of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season.

Now that Byron has two victories and has only moved up to third behind Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, it looks stranger still. But given the way Byron is driving the No. 24 Chevy, the situation should take care of itself very quickly.

In a year in which the chatter thus far has been about younger drivers, Byron, 24, is on his way.

William Byron has put the atrocious start behind him

William Byron reacts after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 9, 2022, in Martinsville, Virginia.
William Byron reacts after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 9, 2022, in Martinsville, Virginia. | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Expectations are high at Hendrick Motorsports. The winningest organization in NASCAR Cup series history captured 17 points races a year ago, led by Kyle Larson with 10 victories, and a lot of observers understandably assumed the team would throw its considerable resources at figuring out the Next Gen car before rival organizations did.

That’s been confirmed to a large extent two months into the season. Defending champ Kyle Larson and teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman have already won races. Chase Elliott hasn’t won, but he’s been so steady through eight races that he has built a small lead in the point standings.

However, it is Byron who is starting to emerge as the potential star of the season. Byron broke through last year by posting 12 top-five finishes after recording a combined nine in his first three seasons.

It looked briefly as though he was regressing at the start of the season, wrecking at Daytona and Fontana to record DNFs. Since then, Byron has finished outside the top 12 just once, and even that was an acceptable 18th. Not only does he have wins at Atlanta and now Martinsville, but he threw in a Camping World Truck Series victory at “The Paperclip” on Thursday.

Byron is officially playoff-bound, and it’s just a matter of what else he can achieve over the remainder of the season. After finishing 11th, 14th, and 10th in points the past three seasons, he has low single digits in his sights.

Rank Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10
1 Chase Elliott 288 0 2 2 1 5
2 Ryan Blaney 285 0 3 3 3 5
3 William Byron 276 2 2 12 4 4
4 Joey Logano 261 0 0 0 2 4
5 Ross Chastain 246 1 1 6 5 5
6 Alex Bowman 237 1 1 6 2 4
7 Martin Truex Jr. 237 0 3 3 1 4
8 Aric Almirola 223 0 0 0 1 4
9 Kevin Harvick 222 0 0 0 1 3
10 Kyle Busch 221 0 0 0 1 5
11 Chase Briscoe 220 1 0 5 2 3
12 Tyler Reddick 202 0 2 2 2 3
13 Kyle Larson 201 1 0 5 3 3
14 Austin Cindric 201 1 0 5 1 2
15 Austin Dillon 197 0 0 0 2 4
16 Kurt Busch 187 0 0 0 2 4

The middle of the pack is starting to show separation

Look above, and you can’t help but notice that Kurt Busch has returned to the top 16 in points following a strong night at Martinsville. That’s no guarantee of one of the 16 playoff berths, but it is a barometer of how the season is playing out.

Below Busch, Daniel Suarez took a big hit and dropped four spots in a week. After three top-10 results in four weeks, Suarez has placed 24th at COTA, 16th at Richmond, and 29th at Martinsville. All that hard early work is slowly slipping away.

Further down the list, note the separation that is beginning to show. Christopher Bell and Chris Buescher stand tied at 173 points, and then there’s a margin of 16 points to Denny Hamlin and 19 to Bubba Wallace. There, another cliff is forming, as Justin Haley and Cole Custer are 19 points behind Wallace.

Margins of 16 or 19 points can be overcome with a string of top-10 efforts, but that’s precisely the point. No one below Buescher has more than one top-10 result through eight races. It’s getting late early for guys needing to make the playoffs on points despite currently sitting outside the top 20.

Rank
Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10
17 Erik Jones 181 0 0 0 1 2
18 Daniel Suarez 179 0 1 1 2 3
19 Christopher Bell 173 0 0 0 1 3
20 Chris Buescher 173 0 0 0 0 2
21 Denny Hamlin 157 1 1 6 1 1
22 Bubba Wallace 154 0 0 0 1 1
23 Justin Haley 135 0 0 0 0 0
24 Cole Custer 135 0 0 0 0 0
25 Ty Dillon 130 0 0 0 0 0
26 Michael McDowell 121 0 0 0 0 1
Rank
Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10
27 Todd Gilliland 112 0 0 0 0 0
28 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 111 0 0 0 0 1
29 Harrison Burton 110 0 0 0 0 0
30 Corey LaJoie 99 0 0 0 1 1
31 Brad Keselowski 92 0 0 -10 0 1
32 Cody Ware 68 0 0 0 0 0
33 BJ McLeod 60 0 0 0 0 0
34 David Ragan 48 0 0 0 0 1
35 Garrett Smithley 28 0 0 0 0 0
36 Greg Biffle 22 0 0 0 0 0
37 Jacques Villeneuve 15 0 0 0 0 0
38 Boris Said 11 0 0 0 0 0
39 Joey Hand 2 0 0 0 0 0

Like Sportscasting on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @sportscasting19.

RELATED: Agitated Denny Hamlin Bluntly Admits 23XI Racing’s Performance ‘Unacceptable’ and Specifically Calls Out No. 23 Team’s Failures