Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Joey Logano, Team Penske, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano won his second career NASCAR Cup Series championship on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. How would the standings have looked without the playoffs?
The 19th edition of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs is in the books following Sunday afternoon’s Championship 4 season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
It was a race which was dominated by Championship 4 driver Joey Logano to secure his and Team Penske’s second championship in the last five years.
The driver of the #22 Ford, who became Ford’s first two-time champion since David Pearson won his second and third titles in 1968 and 1969 — and remains their only champion since Kurt Busch won the title in the inaugural playoffs back in 2004 — also won the championship back in 2018.
But how would the final standings have looked had there been no playoff point resets?
Obviously, it’s impossible to truly get a good read on this particular stat, since there are certain in-race situations which are handled much differently under the current format than they would be under a season-long format.
For example, Ross Chastain’s epic last-lap pass at Martinsville Speedway probably doesn’t happen under a season-long points format, given where he was in the standings at that point. But with a Championship 4 spot on the line, he made it happen, and the move will be shown for generations to come.
Nevertheless, it’s always interesting to look back at how things might have looked like using the current scoring system, but without any playoff resets factored in.
Here are the full point standings for the 2022 season (among the 32 full-time drivers) without any playoff resets.
These standings factor in all stage points, including stage points which would have been scored by the Championship 4 drivers in the Championship 4.
The four Championship 4 drivers are not eligible to score stage points in the Championship 4 to ensure that the highest finisher finishes as the series champion.
For example, Chase Elliott officially would have ended up with 1,201 points, but he was a Championship 4 driver, so the five stage points he scored in the Championship 4 didn’t count toward that total. We factored those in since there would be no Championship 4 without the playoffs, and that’s how we ended up at 1,206.
Elliott won the 2020 championship, despite the fact that the title would have gone to Kevin Harvick had a season-long points format been used, but he was unable to win the title in his first year atop the season-long standings. Logano has never finished atop the season-long standings, but that hasn’t stopped him from winning multiple titles.
In total, 11 of the 19 championships won since the playoffs were introduced in 2004 were won by somebody other than the driver who would have won under a season-long points format (utilizing whichever points system was in place during each respective season).