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William Byron earns No. 1 NASCAR Cup Series playoff seed after second win of 2022

Photo by Erick Messer/TRE

MARTINSVILLE, VA. – William Byron took over the No. 1 playoff seed after winning Saturday night’s Blue Emu 400 at Martinsville Speedway.

Byron led 212 of 403 laps and held off Joey Logano in overtime to earn his second win of the 2022 season. Byron is the first multi-time winner of the season.

Byron earned the No. 1 seed after he earned five playoff points for the win and moved to from fourth to third in the regular-season points – putting him in position for one more playoff point.

Austin Dillon finished third and moved into a playoff contention – in the No. 16 seed – as he moved up one spot in the regular-season points.

Dillon challenged Byron for the win late but faded, then lost second after some overtime woes allowed Logano to pass him.

Photo by Chris Salazar/TRE

Daniel Suarez fell out of a presumptive playoff spot to Dillon, after he finished 29th. Suarez lost 31 points to Dillon, as he moved from 13 points ahead of Dillon to 18 points behind Dillon after Martinsville.

In contrast to Suarez, Chase Elliott gained points – two playoff points – as he won both stages Saturday.

Photo by Erick Messer/TRE

Entering Martinsville, Elliott was second in the regular-season points behind Ryan Blaney, who he was tied with in points. Elliott broke the tie by outscoring Blaney by three points, which puts him in position to earn 15 playoff points instead of 10.

Elliott finished 10th after winning both stages, while Blaney finished fourth after finishing seventh and fourth in stage one and two. 

Ryan Blaney dropped to second in the regular-season points, which moved him from the No. 1 seed to the No. 3 seed after Martinsville.

Aric Almirola bumped Blaney several  times throughout a very solid race for him. Almirola finished eighth overall after finishing fifth and eighth in stages one and two. He moved from 11th to eighth in the regular-season points – and in position to earn three playoff points.

Photo by Chris Salazar/TRE

PLAYOFF POINTS EXPLAINED

Each win is worth five playoff points, each stage win is worth one playoff point.

DriverPlayoff Points TotalBase PointsPoints Position/PointsRace Wins (5 Pts/Win)Stage Wins (1 Pt/Win)
William Byron202020008 (3rd)2 (Atlanta and Martinsville)2 (Atlanta – Stage 1, Phoenix – Stage 1
Chase Elliott2017200015 (1st)2 (Martinsville – Stages 1 & 2)
Ryan Blaney2013200010 (2nd)3 (Richmond – Stage 1, Atlanta – Stage 2, Phoenix – Stage 2)
Ross Chastain201220006 (5th)1 (COTA)1 (Las Vegas – Stage 2)
Alex Bowman201120005 (6th)1 (Las Vegas)1 (Las Vegas – Stage 1)
Martin Truex Jr.200720004 (7th)3 (Daytona 500 –Stages 1 & 2, Richmond – Stage 2)
Joey Logano200720007 (4th)
Denny Hamlin200620000 (21st)1 (Richmond)(COTA – Stage 2)
Chase Briscoe200520000 (11th)1 (Phoenix)
Austin Cindric200520000 (13th)1 (Daytona 500)
Kyle Larson200520000 (14th)1 (Auto Club)
Aric Almirola200320003 (8th)
Kevin Harvick200220002 (9th)
Tyler Reddick200220000 (12th)2 (Auto Club – Stages 1 & 2)
Kyle Busch200120001 (10th)
Austin Dillon200020000 (15th)

The top 10 drivers in regular season points each earn playoff points for their points position at the end of the regular season: 1st – 15 points, 2nd – 10, 3rd – 8, 4th – 7, 5th – 6, 6th – 5, 7th – 4, 8th – 3, 9th – 2, 10th – 1.

WHO’S IN? WHO’S OUT?

Austin Cindric, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, Chase Briscoe, William Byron, Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin are virtually locked into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs as each driver has won at least one race. Each driver must stay above 30th in points to get into the playoffs with a win.

Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon are the non-winner drivers locked into the playoffs.

NASCAR Cup Series regular-season points standings after Race No. 8, the Blue Emu 400 at Martinsville Speedway:

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – APRIL 09: A general view of racing during the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 09, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

bold denotes driver currently locked into the playoffs
italics denotes driver currently outside of the playoffs

1. Chase Elliott 288 points (+101 ahead of Kurt Busch)
2. Ryan Blaney 285 (+98)
3. William Byron 276 (2 wins)
4. Joey Logano 261 (+74)
5. Ross Chastain 246 (1 win)
6. Alex Bowman 237 (1 win)

7. Martin Truex Jr. 237 (+50)
8. Aric Almirola 223 (+36)

9. Kevin Harvick 222 (+35)
10. Kyle Busch 221 (+34)
11. Chase Briscoe 220 (1 win)

12. Tyler Reddick 202 (+15)
13. Kyle Larson 201 (1 win)

14. Austin Cindric 201 (1 win)
15. Austin Dillon 197 (+10 to Kurt Busch for a playoff spot)
16. Kurt Busch 187 (10 points out of a playoff spot)
17. Erik Jones 181 (-16)
18. Daniel Suarez 179 (-18)
19. Christopher Bell 173 (-24)
20. Chris Buescher 173 (-24)

21. Denny Hamlin 157 (1 win)
22. Bubba Wallace 154 (-43)
23. Justin Haley 135 (-62)

24. Cole Custer 135 (-62)
25. Ty Dillon 130 (-67)
26. Michael McDowell 121 (-76)
27. Todd Gilliland 112 (-85)
28. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 111 (-86)
29. Harrison Burton 110 (-87)
30. Corey LaJoie 99 (-98)

–Must be Top-30 in points to win-and-get-in to the playoffs–
31. Brad Keselowski 92 (-105)*
32. Cody Ware 68 (-129)

*After the March 20 race at Atlanta, Brad Keselowski received a 100-point penalty in the regular season points and a 10-playoff point penalty. Without the penalty, Keselowski would be 16th in points – out of a playoff position by five points behind Dillon.

The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series is the April 17 Food City Dirt Race at dirt Bristol Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano earned six playoff points as he won last year’s race after winning stage two, while Martin Truex Jr. won stage one and earned one playoff point.

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – MARCH 29: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 Camping World Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 29, 2021 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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