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NASCAR’s Owners Points Playoff Race Explained

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In NASCAR, the points standings that most tend to follow are the driver’s standings, but the owner’s standings are still incredibly important. Chase Elliott asked about the owner’s points situation following running out of fuel at Watkins Glen. Why was he asking about it, and why did it matter?

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The Cup Series Owners Points System Explained

Depending on how a driver finishes in a race plus stage points, he earns the same amount of points in both the driver’s standings and the owner’s standings. While the driver’s standings are tied to a driver’s performance, regardless of the car he drives, the owner’s points are solely tied to the car number.

NASCAR pays out money to the teams based on where they finish in the owner’s standings, so these matter a great deal to the race teams. Where they finish in the owner’s standings plays a big role in how much money each team brings in at the end of the season.

Typically, both of these points systems are exact replicas of each other towards the top because those who finish high in the points standings usually drive full-time in the same car with good equipment. However, if a driver misses a race for whatever reason, the points can have some pretty stark differences.

Whenever a driver misses a race and a replacement driver fills in, the replacement driver still gains the owner’s points for the car number. For example, Chase Elliott may have missed a few races early in the season, but Josh Berry and Jordan Taylor still earned points for the number 9 car in the owner’s standings.

How it Has Effected the Playoffs in the Past

Sometimes, these driver substitutions can make for some drastic changes at the end of the season. The 2022 season was a great example of this.

Kurt Busch drove the 45 car for 23XI Racing and won at Kansas to earn a Playoff spot. However, after an injury at Pocono, he missed the rest of the regular season, and, while he was out of the driver Playoffs, the 45 car still made the Playoffs in the owner’s standings. As a result, Bubba Wallace drove the 45 car for the Playoffs, and the car finished 10th in the owner’s standings.

Wallace won at Kansas, which changed the owner’s Playoff standings even more. As a result, the Championship 4 in the owners and drivers standings was different. As opposed to Chase Elliott’s number 9, it was Kyle Larson’s number 5 that was in the Championship 4 at Phoenix, and the 5 car finished third in the owner’s standings instead of seventh, where Larson finished.

The 2023 Owner’s Standings Playoff Battle

The final spot in the 2023 Owner’s Standings Playoff spot has an extra car in it this season, the Hendrick Motorsports 9 car driven by Chase Elliott. While Bubba Wallace is well ahead of Elliott in the driver standings, the 9 car holds the final Playoff spot by 30 points over the 23 car. This can be changed by a new winner just like the driver points, but it shows that Elliott will still have a lot to race for even if he missed the driver Playoffs.

He could theoretically make the Playoffs and drive incredibly in the Playoffs to give the 9 car the 2023 Cup Series Owners Championship. Therefore, Chase Elliott is not only racing for his driver Playoff life, but a good run would also keep his car number in the owner’s Playoffs. That would be huge for Hendrick Motorsports.

This is why Chase Elliott can still play a major role in the Playoffs even if he misses the Driver Playoffs. He could play a big role in the Owner’s Standings, which could affect how money is distributed at the end of the season.

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Joshua Lipowski

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