Martin Truex Jr. has retaken the lead of the NASCAR Cup Series point standings following Monday’s rain-postponed Crayon 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr.’s recent three-race streak atop the NASCAR Cup Series point standings, his first stint at the top since 2019, ended after the recent rain-shortened race at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weekends ago, when William Byron took over first place in points for the first time in his career following his series-leading fourth win of the season.
But following Monday’s rain-postponed Crayon 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has retaken the lead from the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
Truex scored all 60 points available in Monday’s 301-lap race around the four-turn, 1.058-mile (1.703-kilometer) Loudon, New Hampshire oval, winning both of the first two stages and the race itself. Byron, on the other hand, finished in 24th place and only scored 22 total points throughout the event.
Martin Truex Jr. leads the NASCAR Cup Series point standings by 17 points over William Byron.
Nobody else is within 60 points of the lead, with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell sitting 62 points behind Truex in third place.
Of course, without a 60-point penalty stemming from the race at Richmond Raceway in early April, Byron would still be 43 points ahead of Truex instead of 17 points behind. In fact, he would be on an eight-race streak of leading point standings, a streak which would date back to his win at Darlington Raceway in mid-May.
But the actual standings are what count, and Truex is who is on top after 20 races on the 26-race regular season schedule.
This is particularly significant when it comes to playoff points, as drivers who finish in the top 10 in the regular season point standings are awarded additional playoff points, the higher they finish up the order (provided they have successfully managed to qualify for the postseason).
Those bonus playoff points are awarded on a 15-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale, so the difference between winning the regular season championship and finishing runner-up is five playoff points (15 as opposed to 10), which is the equivalent of a race win.
So winning the regular season championship is an added bonus heading into the four-round, 10-race playoffs. Championship-eligible drivers carry playoff points with them into every playoff round except the Championship 4.
Byron, who was already docked five playoff points as a part of the aforementioned penalty, will certainly want to mitigate that penalty by winning the regular season championship, as it could end up resulting in him losing additional playoff points if it costs him any positions in the final regular season standings.
Will Martin Truex Jr. maintain his lead atop the NASCAR Cup Series standings following the 2023 season’s 21st race at Pocono Raceway? The HighPoint.com 400 is set to be broadcast live on USA Network beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 23. Start a free trial of FuboTV today and don’t miss it!