The Quest for the Winless Cup Champ Continues

Ryan Blaney, the only winless driver contending for the 2022 Cup Championship, advanced to the third round of the Playoffs. He joined seven other drivers who have between one and five wins who are now competing to be the Final Four with a chance for the Championship in Phoenix.

TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 02: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet William Byron, driver of the #24 Chevrolet, Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Cole Custer, driver of the #41 Ford, race d. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Blaney’s consistent performance in the first two races of this round allowed him to overcome difficulties in the final race at the ROVAL, which saw Kyle Larson (2 wins), Daniel Suarez (1 win), and Austin Cindric (1 win) eliminated. Alex Bowman (1 win) was eliminated when he didn’t start the final race of the round due to concussion-like symptoms.

Blaney started the Round of Twelve tied with Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell in P6, 27 points behind Chase Elliott and sitting on the cutoff line. At the end of the round that included Texas, Talladega and the ROVAL, Winless Ryan Blaney (WRB) had worked his way atop the points standings, tied with five race winner, Elliott.

Not bad for a winless contender.

Now comes the final reset.

After this reset, Blaney finds himself not atop the Point standings but now fifth, 31 points behind Points Leader Elliott but more importantly, three points behind Christopher Bell who currently occupies the cutoff position.

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 09: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Remember, to advance you have to be fifth worst in points or better. Ryan sits fourth worst and badly needs to climb out of the hole if he wants to make it to Phoenix to get a chance at the Cup Championship.

Although Blaney and his Penske crew have yet to find Victory Lane this season, the one thing they have shown is that in a three-race shootout they are pretty hard to outpoint.

Under this Playoff system at least one driver is going to make it to the Phoenix Finale putting together a string of “Good Points Days.”

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 01: NASCAR driver Chase Briscoe speaks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Media Day at Charlotte Convention Center. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Here’s hoping it will be Ryan Blaney.

The next three races will tell.

Thunder On… and Stay Safe

PS-Is it just me who would like to see Chase Briscoe win the race Sunday? Considering the last couple of weeks Stewart-Haas Racing has had, seeing their #14 punch his ticket to Phoenix, the site of Briscoe’s last win might ease the sting a bit.

Would sure make for some interesting talk this week.

David Nance

Photo Credit (cover); Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images


  1. David, I was thinking of you yesterday when it looked like Blaney had a chance to win the race and bust your Winless Champlon Bubble. But like everything else this season , nothing is for sure until the checkers fly ! Have a great week. Papa

    1. Papa, he just keeps finding a way to not finish the job. It’s not looking good for the home team. I’m afraid he’s going to have to win at Martinsville to advance. That keeps him in the hunt for Champ but kills the Winless Champ. I’ll take either one at this point.

      Have a good one!

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