NASCAR playoff driver quietly helped by Ryan Blaney decision

Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

In addition to Ryan Blaney, another NASCAR Cup Series playoff driver gained ground on the Championship 4 cut line thanks to the reversal of his disqualification.

What a start to the week it has been for Ryan Blaney and his No. 12 Team Penske team. Following a sixth place finish and a solid 39-point effort in the round of 8 opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Blaney found himself 17 points below the Championship 4 cut line. But shortly after the race, NASCAR disqualified him from the South Point 400.

Blaney lost his sixth place finish in stage one, his eighth place finish in stage two, and his sixth place finish in the race itself as a result of the fact that his No. 12 Ford was found to have a left front shock that didn’t meet the overall specified length.

With just one point instead of 39, he fell to 56 points — not 55 since the cut line moved up, due to other drivers gaining points when he was disqualified — below the Championship 4 cut line, effectively meaning that he needed to win either the next race at Homestead-Miami Speedway or the round of 8 finale at Martinsville Speedway in order to advance to the Championship 4.

But on Monday, NASCAR reversed course and reinstated Ryan Blaney’s initial Las Vegas result.

This decision was made after further investigation revealed that NASCAR was using a flawed part in post-race inspection. There was an error found with the damper template they used for inspection, and it was this error which led to the initial decision to disqualify Blaney.

As a result, Blaney is back to just 17 points below the cut line as he attempts to convers his fifth career round of 8 appearance into his first career Championship 4 appearance. But Blaney wasn’t the only driver who benefited from the reversal of his disqualification.

When it was announced that Blaney had been disqualified, five of the other seven round of 8 drivers gained a point or points, due to being promoted by a spot in stage one, stage two, and/or the end of the race.

Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, and 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick all scored two additional points, while Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher each scored one. Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell didn’t gain anything.

Larson won the South Point 400 to lock himself into the Championship 4, so he was unaffected by Blaney’s disqualification and subsequent reversal, while Bell finished in second place. Bell did not finish behind Blaney in either of the first two stages.

Bell was the only driver who fell further below the cut line because of Blaney’s disqualification — aside from Blaney, of course.

Bell was two points below the cut line after the race, but after Truex gained a point from Blaney’s disqualification, he found himself three points behind due to not gaining anything extra himself.

With Blaney reinstated, Bell again finds himself two points below the cut line. Aside from Blaney, Bell is the only driver who gained ground on the cut line following NASCAR’s decision to overturn the disqualification.

Byron dropped back from 11 points ahead to nine points ahead of the cut line, Hamlin dropped from four points ahead to two points ahead, Truex dropped from three points ahead to two points ahead, and Reddick dropped from 15 points behind to 16 points behind. Buescher remained level at 23 points behind.

Despite sitting 17 points behind the cut line instead of 56, Blaney still has the longest odds to win this year’s championship.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is now giving fans an instant $200 just for betting $5, lists him at +3400.

Odds and availability are subject to change. Lock in your $200 payday today before it’s too late!

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Homestead-Miami Speedway is scheduled to host the middle race of the round of 8 this Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET. NBC is set to provide live coverage of the Dixie Vodka 400. Begin a free trial of FuboTV today and don’t miss it!