NASCAR: Did Ryan Blaney clinch a playoff spot?

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images) /

Ryan Blaney won Sunday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race — twice — at Texas Motor Speedway, but that win doesn’t count toward playoff eligibility.

Despite a controversial finish, the rightful driver found his way to victory lane at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday night, with Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney winning the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race for the first time in his career.

Blaney led the final 84 laps of the 140-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Fort Worth, Texas behind the wheel of his #12 Ford, and he held off Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin after what many believed was a farcical overtime restart with two laps remaining to win the race for a “second time”.

However, Blaney’s win does not count toward playoff eligibility. He is not officially the 12th different winner in 14 races this season, as the race for $1 million is not actually a points race.

Technically speaking, even if Blaney’s win had counted toward playoff eligibility, he wouldn’t have clinched a playoff spot.

There are only 16 playoff spots available each season, and with 11 winners in 13 races this year, there can still be more than 16 different regular season race winners with 13 races remaining on the 26-race regular season schedule.

But Blaney still finds himself in a great position to make the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. While he has yet to make the 2022 season his sixth consecutive winning season, he sits in second place in the point standings, highest among drivers yet to win.

A win in a points race would practically secure him a spot. Even if there are more than 16 different regular season race winners by the time the regular season comes to an end at Daytona International Speedway in late August, the tiebreaker among the single-race winners would be points.

Blaney has led 371 laps in points races this this year, which puts him on pace for a career-high in that particular category — by far. That total also ranks second best in the series.

But every time he seems to have a good shot to win, something has gone wrong, and he has yet to finish a race highest than fourth place so far in 2022.

In fact, disaster almost struck again on Sunday night with NASCAR’s pathetic decision to throw a caution flag just as he took the checkered flag for the first time, forcing an overtime restart that many believe should have never happened.

There were more than just a few calls for Blaney to be awarded $2 million instead of $1 million after he overcame the foolishness and held on to win.

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The next points race on the schedule is the Coca-Cola 600, which is scheduled to take place this coming Sunday, May 29. This race is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to take advantage of FuboTV’s offer for new customers and start a free trial today!