NASCAR: The playoff driver who lost a point because of Kevin Harvick’s disqualification

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Talladega, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Talladega, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Kevin Harvick’s disqualification at Talladega Superspeedway didn’t change the NASCAR Cup Series playoff picture much, but there was one big loser because of it.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick was eliminated from the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in his final season three Saturdays ago at Bristol Motor Speedway.

So the fact that he was disqualified from Sunday afternoon’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway after his No. 4 Ford was found to have not had its windshield fasteners secured didn’t change the playoff picture too much.

The fact that he had initially finished in second place also made it less impactful, since all drivers except for Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, who won the 188-lap race around the four-turn, 2.66-mile (4.281-kilometer) high-banked Lincoln, Alabama oval to lock himself into the round of 8 anyway, moved up a spot in the final order.

It wasn’t a situation in which some playoff drivers moved up and others didn’t.

Harvick’s disqualification did also affect the results of stage one and stage two, since he is now scored in 38th (last) place throughout the entire event and did not get to keep the three stage points he scored. But his removal from the stage results did not net any of the 12 remaining playoff drivers any additional points.

However, one driver still ended up losing one point to the NASCAR Cup Series round of 8 cut line because of Kevin Harvick’s disqualification.

Trackhouse Racing Team’s Ross Chastain is now 10 points behind the round of 8 cut line instead of nine. It may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but we have seen playoff advancements determined by tiebreakers before — and on more than one occasion.

The driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet initially finished the race in last place after an early wreck, so Harvick’s disqualification only moved him from 38th to 37th place in the final order.

Because all drivers who do not finish in the top 35 score just a single point, Chastain still scored only one point and therefore did not gain anything from Harvick being dropped from second to 38th place, unlike his playoff rivals.

So he didn’t actually lose a point, but he fell back by one point relative to the rest of the playoff field, and that is just as significant. He actually fell behind 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace in the standings because of it, meaning that he now must pass three drivers instead of just two in order to make it into the round of 8.

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Will Chastain make it through to the round of 8 for the second consecutive season? The round of 12 finale, the Bank of America Roval 400, is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 8. The race is set to be broadcast live from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on NBC beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now if you have not yet had the chance to do so!