NASCAR: Which four drivers have actually clinched playoff spots?

Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images) /

The fourth playoff spot in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs was clinched on Sunday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano won Sunday afternoon’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, the Enjoy Illinois 300, giving him two wins through 15 races in the 2022 season.

The win made Logano the fourth driver to win multiple races in 2022, as he also won last month’s race at Darlington Raceway. He joined Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron, Trackhouse Racing Team’s Ross Chastain, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin. As a result, it also made him the fourth driver to officially secure a playoff berth.

While winning once has historically been good enough to lock a driver into the postseason, there is that small possibility that the 26-race regular season will produce more than 16 different winners, which would result in at least one winner missing out on the playoffs.

There have been 11 different winners in 15 races so far during the 2022 regular season, and there are still 11 more races remaining on the regular season schedule.

The 16 playoff spots are awarded to the regular season points champion and the 15 drivers who rank next highest in wins.

In the event that there are more than 16 winners, the tiebreaker among the one-race winners to determine who gets the final playoff spots becomes points, much like in the event that there aren’t, the tiebreaker among non-winners to determine who gets the final playoff spots becomes points.

But with 26 regular season races, there is no risk of a driver falling outside of the top 15 in the wins category if he wins more than once. At most, 13 drivers can win two regular season races, meaning that Byron, Chastain, Hamlin, and Logano have all officially solidified their playoff berths.

The one caveat is that a driver must remain inside the top 30 in the point standings in order for wins to count toward playoff eligibility. But in a series with 32 full-time drivers, any driver who wins twice isn’t going to fall outside that top 30.

Next. Longest NASCAR win streaks: who's #1?. dark

The first of four remaining regular season road course races is the next race on the schedule, and that race is the final race before the 2022 season’s lone off weekend. This race, the Toyota/Save Mart 350, is scheduled to take place at Sonoma Raceway this coming Sunday, June 12. Tune in to Fox Sports 1 at 4:00 p.m. ET for live coverage. If you haven’t yet done so, start a free trial of FuboTV now!