The Xfinity 500 at Martinsville was bonkers. No one saw that finish and now the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings have been shaken up. As the dust settled after the race, NASCAR fans saw the four drivers that would compete for the championship in Phoenix.
Of course, that means that four drivers had their hopes dashed to the side and cast away. And, it wasn’t just Ross Chastain going from P10 to P5 at the end of the race that made this Sunday so wild. Let’s not forget that Christopher Bell basically stole the win. His pit crew was fast and accurate and he had a great car at the end.
That last restart push was great for Bell and after some contact with Chase Briscoe, just rubbing and racing, he found himself way out in front of the field.
NASCAR Playoff Standings
Once Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell got out front after the last caution, this became a far more interesting battle. Once Bell cleared the field, all the eyes in Martinsville and watching at home turned toward the No. 1 and 11. Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain.
They have the bad history, some rough racing in the past, and a spot in the Championship 4 on the line. Chastain cleared Hamlin and made the playoffs by just a couple of points in the end. No tiebreaker needed once he cleared Hamlin.
Of course, Joey Logano made it into the last four with a win at Las Vegas. Chase Elliott calmly raced his way into the championship with a consistent Round of 8. Then you have the outliers.
Chastain rode the wall into NASCAR history. His move and Bell’s win shook up the NASCAR playoff standings unlike any other outcome could have. Two of the most clutch performances we’ve seen in a while and it happened on the same day in the same race. And this is Bell’s second walk-off win of these playoffs. It’s astounding.
There are no points to be won or gaps to be closed. At Phoenix, it will simply be which of these drivers has the best race. They will find themself crowned champion.
The Four Drivers Out
Of course, this means that Denny Hamlin, Chase Briscoe, William Byron, and Ryan Blaney were eliminated. Those drivers all had solid seasons and were looking forward to having a chance at the Bill France Cup. That won’t happen, though.
Hamlin just lost out on the chance to get to the final four once again in his career. We all saw what happened there. However, you have William Byron who just didn’t have the best day, despite a P7 finish. Even Ryan Blaney came up short after finishing P3. Bell’s win really threw a wrench in their plans.
Chase Briscoe fell behind in that last lap and finished P9 but was happy with his effort it seemed after the race. There’s always next year for these drivers and teams.