NASCAR has once again altered the point standings

Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

NASCAR has once again issued a mid-week penalty that changes the Cup Series point standings, this time to Richard Childress Racing and Austin Dillon.

If you thought the rescission of the remaining 75 points of Justin Haley’s 100-point penalty would be this week’s only change to the NASCAR Cup Series point standings away from the race track, think again.

Over the last few weeks, NASCAR has made quite a few changes to the standings between races. This time, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon and the No. 3 team were the victims.

Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet was taken to the R&D Center after his 12th place finish in this past Sunday afternoon’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

NASCAR discovered that the car had illegal underwing mountain/assembly hardware.

As a result, Dillon and the No. 3 team were docked 60 points and five playoff points. Crew chief Keith Rodden was fined $75,000 and suspended for two races.

Dillon has dropped from 21st to 29th place in the point standings as a result of the penalty, as he now officially has just 122 of the 192 points he has scored through the season’s first nine races. He is now 84 points, not 24, below the playoff cut line. The No. 3 team dropped from 22nd to 30th in the owner standings.

Full updated driver point standings can be found here.

Dillon has two top 10 finishes so far this year, including a ninth place finish at Auto Club Speedway and a third place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway.

He hasn’t scored any playoff points via wins or stage wins so far this season, so the playoff point penalty drops him to -5 playoff points. Playoff points only matter if a driver qualifies for the postseason, and it will be an uphill battle for Dillon to do so.

The good news for the 32-year-old Welcome, North Carolina native is that he has qualified for the playoffs — by winning — four times from outside the top 16 in the point standings. Since the modern playoff format was introduced in 2014, no other driver has done so more than once.

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The other car taken to the R&D Center after this past Sunday’s race was the No. 41 Ford of Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Preece. No violations were found on his car, which finished in 15th place after starting from the pole position.