NASCAR: Why Current Standings Have Been Unreliable For Past Seven Races

by Caitlin Berard

The NASCAR Cup Series is entering its eighth weekend of the 2022 season, and with close to a third of the season behind us, the current standings are nothing short of bizarre. First, let’s talk about how the points are awarded in NASCAR.

At the end of each race, drivers are awarded a certain number of points based on their finishing position. The race winner receives 40 points, the second-place driver gets 35 points, and so on. Drivers who finish in the rear of the field earn as little as 1 point.

That said, there are also bonus points to consider. A typical NASCAR Cup Series race has three stages. The first and second stage allow drivers to earn additional playoff points. Finishing first in a stage earns a driver an extra 10 points, and bonus points continue down the line until the driver in 10th position, who earns 1 point.

With all that in mind, it would make sense that NASCAR drivers with wins to their name would be at the top of the current standings, right? Well, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

NASCAR Drivers Topping the Current Standings

With the introduction of the Gen-7 stock car, NASCAR officials had one major thing in mind: parity. The goal was for any driver, no matter their team, to have a shot at the playoffs. And so far, it looks like that goal was accomplished.

With seven Cup Series races in the books, seven different drivers have a victory lane celebration under their belt. Three of those drivers celebrated a Cup Series win for the first time in their careers.

The seven drivers are unusually diverse, representing five different teams. Additionally, all three first-time winners compete for different organizations. However, not one of those winners, first-time or otherwise, holds a top-3 position in the current NASCAR standings.

Those at the top of the points standings for the season are Ryan Blaney (Team Penske), Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports), and Martin Truex Jr. (Joe Gibbs Racing). None of these drivers hold a win in the 2022 season.

In fact, none of them have even captured a top-3 finish. Blaney, Elliott, and Truex each hold a fourth-place finish as their highest achievement for the season. While Blaney does hold the lead in stage points, Elliott is ranked fourth and Truex sixth.

The reason these three drivers are able to lead in points without a single win to their name is simple: consistency. None of them have had a complete disaster this year, while every other driver in the field has at least two unfortunate performances.