NASCAR: Christopher Bell Didn’t Clinch A Playoff Spot
Christopher Bell hasn’t yet secured a playoff berth after winning the NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon.
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On Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing won the Ambetter 301 for his second NASCAR Cup Series triumph of the season.
Bell’s victory is his first since his victory at the Daytona International Speedway’s road track in February 2021. The driver of the #20 Toyota’s 53-race winless streak was broken on Sunday.
That victory did not, however, guarantee the 27-year-old native of Norman, Oklahoma, a spot in the playoffs.
There are 16 playoff slots available regardless of how many drivers win during the 26-race regular season, and Bell is the 14th driver to do it through the first 20 races.
The “win and in” playoff model is therefore technically incorrect, and this season may very well demonstrate that.
Te regular season champion, followed by the next 15 drivers with the highest win totals, receive the 16 playoff slots. Drivers that win twice are guaranteed because there can only be 13 multi-race winners in the 26 regular season races. Drivers who have won once, however, are not.
If there are more than 16 separate winners, points will be used to break ties among the single-race winners to determine who qualifies for the postseason field.
When there are no more than 16 winners, this is essentially the same idea that is applied. In that case, points will also be used as a tiebreaker among losers to determine who fills the remaining spots in the postseason field.
With six races remaining in the regular season, Bell is unquestionably in a good spot despite this technicality, which may very well prevent a winner from making the playoffs this year.
Six of the other eight single-race winners are ahead of Bell, who is currently seventh in the point standings (five other drivers have won at least twice and are locked in).
Therefore, he should be reasonably safe if there are more than 16 distinct regular season race winners.
Chase Briscoe of Stewart-Haas Racing, who triumphed at Phoenix Raceway back in March, is currently in 18th place among the nine single-race winners in the point standings.