How Chase Elliott can clinch the NASCAR regular season title

Just two races remain until the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin. But Chase Elliott could clinch the regular season championship a week earlier.

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has been one of unrivaled parity, producing 15 different winners through 24 races.

But amid the parity and chaos, Chase Elliott has set himself apart from the tight points battle. With two races left in the regular season, he has a 116-point advantage over Ryan Blaney and is now within reach of clinching the regular season championship.

How good are his chances of clinching the title with two races left before the playoffs?

During any race other than May’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a driver can earn a maximum of 60 points by winning the first two stages and the overall race, with 10 points on offer in each stage and 40 on offer for the race. victory.

This means that with only two regular season races left, there are 120 points on the table for each driver. This doesn’t mean that Blaney can make up 120 points on Elliott, however.

While a perfect race can earn a driver 60 points, everyone in the field still gets points. Without grabbing any stage points and finishing between 36th and 40th place, a driver gains just one point.

So even if Elliott only gains one point in each of the next two races, Blaney could only beat him by up to 118 points, which would put him only two points ahead of him at the end of the regular season — a possible, but highly unlike, feat.

And with only 35 points given to the race runner-up, Blaney can’t keep his regular season title hopes alive without winning both races.

How can Chase Elliott clinch this Sunday at Watkins Glen International?

NOTE: All scenarios assume Elliott also competes in this race and in the regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway.

Because points are issued in the stages, the amount of points Elliott would need over Blaney to clinch the title will decrease as this coming Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen International progresses.

At the end of stage one, Elliott would need a 108-point advantage over Blaney to clinch. At the end of stage two, that number drops to 98.

If Elliott can’t clinch mid-race, leaving Watkins Glen with a 59-point gap to Blaney would earn the #9 team the regular season championship. Even if Blaney then makes up 59 points on Elliott in the regular season finale, Elliott owns the tiebreaker, as he has four wins already this year. Blaney would have two.

Assuming Blaney wins stage one on Sunday and scores 10 points, Elliott would need to finish that stage in ninth place (two points) to clinch. If Blaney fails to finish second (nine points) or better in the first stage, Elliott will also win the clinch.

Assuming Blaney wins both stages, Elliott would need to earn two points between the two stages in order to clinch the title by the conclusion of stage two.

Finally, if Elliott’s worst-case scenario plays out and Blaney wins the first two stages and the race this weekend and the #9 team scores no stage points, he would need to finish the race in 34th place (three points) or better to clinch. .

If, for some reason, Elliott were to miss the regular season finale, he would need to finish this Sunday’s race in 33rd place (four points) or better and own a 60-point gap over Blaney as opposed to a 59-point gap.

Chase Elliott heads into the Go Bowling at The Glen as the +425 favorite to win, according to WynnBET, having won two of the last three races at Watkins Glen International. There is no guarantee that he will leave as the regular season champion, but he is in a good position to do so.

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