NASCAR: Tyler Reddick win quietly shakes up playoff picture

While Tyler Reddick already had a win in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, his win on Sunday officially locked up another playoff spot.

After entering July without a NASCAR Cup Series win to his name, Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick enters August with two, winning at Road America to open last month and winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to conclude it.

As a result of his victory in Sunday afternoon’s 86-lap Verizon 200 at the Brickyard around the 13-turn, 2.439-mile (3.925-kilometer) Speedway, Indiana road course, Reddick has officially clinched a berth in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Reddick’s first win didn’t secure him a playoff berth since the possibility exists that there could be more than 16 different regular season winners.

In the event of 17 winners, the lowest single-race winner in the point standings would miss the playoffs. In the event of 18 winners, the two lowest single-race winners would miss, and so on.

But multi-race winners are already locked into the postseason.

The field officially consists of the regular season champion and the 15 drivers who rank next highest in points. With 26 regular season races, there can be no more than 13 multi-race winners. This year, there can be no more than 10.

Reddick is the sixth driver officially locked into the playoffs. The others include Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron, Trackhouse Racing Team’s Ross Chastain, Team Penske’s Joey Logano, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin.

Reddick’s win prevented the series from seeing a new winner, meaning that there are still 14 with four regular season races remaining.

Those four races are scheduled to take place at Michigan International Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Watkins Glen International, and Daytona International Speedway. Those four venues could very well produce new winners, given the drivers who generally excel there and who hasn’t already won in 2022.

So even with Reddick’s win, there could still be 17, possibly even 18, different winners before the regular season ends, thus eliminating at least one race winner before the postseason even begins.

But now that Reddick has won for a second time, he finds himself exempt from that points battle among single-race winners.

The eight single-race winners include Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Christopher Bell and Kyle Busch, Trackhouse Racing Team’s Daniel Suarez, Team Penske rookie Austin Cindric, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe, and 23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch.

Larson, Bell, and Kyle Busch are pretty safe, but Bowman, Suarez, Cindric and Briscoe are all within one race (60 points) of being the lowest single-race winner, a title which currently belongs to Kurt Busch following his two missed starts.

Prior to the race, Reddick was among those who weren’t safe.

Of course, had a new winner emerged instead of Reddick, that would have made things even more hectic, considering the fact that Reddick and whoever won would be in that battle among single-race winners — and the fact that there would just be one remaining spot open on points.

But Reddick’s win eliminated one of the five remaining opportunities for the winners list to grow. While his win did give the other single-race winners one less driver to be able to beat on points if that tiebreaker were to come into play, it prevented them from needing to deal with somebody else in addition.