NASCAR: Ryan Blaney not locked into playoffs after Charlotte

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Charlotte, Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Charlotte, Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Ryan Blaney broke through with his first NASCAR Cup Series win since 2021, winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Roger Penske may have 19 Indy 500 wins to his name after Josef Newgarden won the 107th running of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday afternoon, but he had never won both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same weekend until Ryan Blaney won Monday’s rain-postponed NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The win was a breakthrough win for Blaney, who hadn’t won a Cup Series race since his August 2021 victory at Daytona International Speedway.

After seeing a five-year win streak come to an end in 2022, he was finally able to secure the eighth win of his career, bringing an end to a 59-race win drought.

But will Ryan Blaney be in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the seventh consecutive season?

Given the “win and in” perception of the playoffs, he would appear to be locked in. However, he hasn’t technically secured a playoff spot yet.

Of course, there is very little doubt that he will officially solidify his playoff berth in the near future. Even if he doesn’t win another race in the regular season and if there are more winners than playoff spots, he should be safely in the field.

If there are more winners than playoff spots (or if there are 16 winners with a winless regular season champion), the multi-race winners are locked in, since the playoff spots officially go to the regular season champion and the 15 drivers who rank next highest in wins. There can be no more than 13 multi-race winners in the 26-race regular season.

In this situation, the tiebreaker to determine which single-race winners are in and which are out would become points, and Blaney is certainly faring quite well when it comes to points, sitting in second place in the point standings — just one point out of the lead — through the season’s first 14 races.

Just three drivers are officially locked into the playoffs thus far, thanks to their multiple victories. Those three drivers are Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson and Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch.

In addition to Blaney, the single-race winners so far this season include Team Penske teammate Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin, 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick, and JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Blaney sits ahead of those six drivers in the standings, with Truex in fifth, Bell in sixth, Reddick in seventh, Hamlin in eighth, Stenhouse in 13th, and Logano in 14th.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

The 15th race on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 4. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!