Updated NASCAR Cup Series Standings Following Denny Hamlin’s Victory at Richmond

There’s new life for the playoff hopes of some old guys seven races into the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season as Denny Hamlin pulled off the victory and Kevin Harvick followed him across the finish line on Sunday.

After 12 straight races in which drivers under the age of 30 had prevailed, Richmond Raceway afforded veteran drivers the opportunity to show their experience in preserving tires on a short track.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch also had good days at the office.

Denny Hamlin led an impressive charge by JGR drivers

Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 3, 2022. | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 3, 2022. | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Neither of the Toyota organizations had been off to a particularly strong start in the NASCAR Cup Series, but Sunday’s effort at Richmond Raceway has put Joe Gibbs Racing in a better place. With the short-track swing continuing next week at Martinsville, a favorite track recently for Martin Truex Jr., it will be interesting to see if JGR continues the momentum.

Denny Hamlin’s victory in Richmond makes seven winners in seven races, so we’re starting to get uncomfortably close to saying that “win and you’re in” might not apply to the 2022 playoff picture. Still trying to dig himself out of an early-season hole, Hamlin only moved up two spots in points to 20th place by leading the four company cars into the top 10 on Sunday. However, Truex climbed four spots to third, and teammate Kyle Busch now resides in the top 10.

The big winner aside from Hamlin was Kevin Harvick, whose second-place run lifted him from 14th to eighth in Cup Series points.

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Up/down Top 5 Top 10
1 Ryan Blaney 241 0 3 3 1 2 4
2 Chase Elliott 241 0 0 0 -1 1 4
3 Martin Truex Jr. 222 0 3 3 4 1 4
4 William Byron 218 1 2 7 2 3 3
5 Joey Logano 215 0 0 0 -2 1 3
6 Ross Chastain 214 1 1 6 -1 4 4
7 Alex Bowman 212 1 1 6 -3 2 4
8 Kevin Harvick 193 0 0 0 6 1 3
9 Chase Briscoe 192 1 0 5 0 2 2
10 Kyle Busch 191 0 0 0 1 1 4
11 Aric Almirola 184 0 0 0 -3 1 3
12 Kyle Larson 183 1 0 5 4 3 3
13 Tyler Reddick 183 0 2 2 -3 2 3
14 Daniel Suarez 171 0 1 1 1 2 3
15 Austin Cindric 170 1 0 5 -3 1 2
16 Austin Dillon 158 0 0 0 2 1 3

The other Toyota outfit wasn’t as fortunate as Denny Hamlin and JGR

Austin Dillon has finished 10th in his two most recent NASCAR Cup Series races. | Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Austin Dillon has finished 10th in his two most recent NASCAR Cup Series races. | Dylan Buell/Getty Images

All four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas easily outperformed the 23XI Toyotas of Bubba Wallace (26th place) and Kurt Busch (35th) at Richmond. The mechanical problems Busch experienced minutes into the race put him more than 100 laps down before he returned to action, and that ended up costing him five precious places in season points. Wallace, in his first of four races without his suspended crew chief, slipped two notches.

Meanwhile, Richmond was a decent day for Austin Dillon, who produced the best showing for any of the Chevys not belonging to Hendrick Motorsports. Dillon has followed his early exit at Atlanta with consecutive 10th-place efforts and is on pace for a career high in top-10 days. He has moved up two spots to 16th in points, theoretically giving him the edge for the last playoff spot with plenty of time remaining in the season.

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Up/down Top 5 Top 10
17 Erik Jones 157 0 0 0 0 1 2
18 Kurt Busch 155 0 0 0 -5 2 3
19 Chris Buescher 151 0 0 0 0 0 2
20 Denny Hamlin 148 1 1 6 2 1 1
21 Christopher Bell 147 0 0 0 2 1 3
22 Bubba Wallace 133 0 0 0 -2 1 1
23 Justin Haley 129 0 0 0 -2 0 0
24 Ty Dillon 116 0 0 0 0 0 0
25 Michael McDowell 109 0 0 0 0 0 1
26 Cole Custer 105 0 0 0 2 0 0

Brad Keselowski is out of the basement

The only notable movement among the also-rans this week was by Brad Keselowski. Still reeling from the 100-point penalty that NASCAR handed down, the appeal for which will be held on Thursday, the RFK Racing co-owner parlayed 13th place at Richmond into a three-spot boost to 31st.

In the process, Keselowski dropped Cody Ware into the basement among the season’s full-time drivers.

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Up/down Top 5 Top 10
27 Todd Gilliland 105 0 0 0 -1 0 0
28 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 101 0 0 0 -1 0 1
29 Harrison Burton 99 0 0 0 1 0 0
30 Corey LaJoie 94 0 0 0 -1 1 1
31 Brad Keselowski 72 0 0 -10 3 0 1
32 Cody Ware 64 0 0 0 -1 0 0
33 BJ McLeod 59 0 0 0 -1 0 0
34 David Ragan 48 0 0 0 -1 0 1
35 Garrett Smithley 28 0 0 0 0 0 0
36 Greg Biffle 22 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Up/down Top 5 Top 10
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 0
40 Daniel Hemric(i) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
41 Landon Cassill(i) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
42 Josh Bilicki(i) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
43 AJ Allmendinger(i) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
44 Kaz Grala(i) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
45 Noah Gragson(i) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
46 JJ Yeley(i) 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
47 Loris Hezemans(i) 0 0 0 0 -1 0 0
48 Andy Lally(i) 0 0 0 0 -1 0 0
49 Timmy Hill(i) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
(i) — Ineligible for playoffs

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