NASCAR: The other driver who missed the playoffs on points

Daytona, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Daytona, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

While the focus has been on Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones also missed the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, despite a top 16 finish in the regular season point standings.

With Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon scoring an upset win in Sunday’s rain-delayed Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series playoff field consists of two drivers who failed to finish inside the top 16 in the regular season point standings.

Dillon finished the regular season in 19th place, and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe, who won the race at Phoenix Raceway, finished in 17th. Interestingly, Dillon owns four top three finishes this season, while Briscoe owns just four top 10 finishes, none of which coming since May.

The major storyline of the 160-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval was the fact that Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., who finished the regular season in fourth place in the point standings, missed the playoffs thanks to Dillon’s win.

Third place driver Ryan Blaney would have missed as well, since there were 16 different regular season winners and he wasn’t one of them, but the Team Penske driver benefited from 23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch requesting that his medical waiver be withdrawn, leaving just 15 playoff eligible winners.

But even with Blaney in the playoffs for a sixth straight season, Truex wasn’t the only driver in the top 16 to miss out.

Petty GMS Motorsports’ Erik Jones, who had a strong under-the-radar type second season behind the wheel of the #43 Chevrolet, will also not be competing for a championship.

Jones finished the regular season in 16th place in the point standings, and had he not been issued a 35-point penalty at Pocono Raceway, he would have finished two spots higher, though that would not have impacted his playoff eligibility.

He finished the regular season with nine top 10 finishes, more than five playoff drivers (six if Busch had been eligible), and absolutely dominated his teammate battle with Ty Dillon, who finished the regular season in 29th place in the standings without a single finish higher than 10th.

Next. First points leader misses playoffs. dark

The Cook Out Southern 500 is scheduled to get the four-round, 10-race postseason underway on Sunday, September 4. Tune in to NBC at 6:00 p.m. ET for the live broadcast of the playoff opener from Darlington Raceway, and start a free trial of FuboTV now!