After entering the 500 as the lowest driver in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff picture, Ryan Blaney locked himself into the round of 8 with a win. How did his win shake up the playoff picture?

Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney entered the second of three races in the round of 12 of the four-round, 10-race 2019 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway, the 500, as the 12th of 12 drivers still remaining in the playoffs after a mechanical issue ruined his race at Dover International Speedway last Sunday.

But Blaney ended up winning this 188-lap race around the four-turn, 2.66-mile (4.281-kilometer) high-banked Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama to secure a spot in the round of 8 despite the fact that he still ranks only 11th in pointswith one race remaining in the round of 12.

All 12 playoff drivers, including Blaney, experienced some kind of issue in the wreck-filled 500, which was suspended due to rain after 57 of its 188 laps were contested on Sunday.

Blaney himself spun out while leading the race in Sunday’s portion of the race as he attempted to slow himself down coming into the pits, and he was even penalized for speeding in the pits as a result of this mistake.

But he overcame these issues and now has no need to worry about points in the round of 12 finale at Kansas Speedway.

Four drivers, however, are now nearly in must-win situations in this race at Kansas Speedway. Had Blaney not won at Talladega Superspeedway, Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman would be the driver right above the round of 8 cut line in eighth place in the playoff picture. He would be seven points ahead of Blaney, and he would be four points ahead of teammate Chase Elliott, six points ahead of Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer and nine points ahead of William Byron.

Instead, Bowman finds himself below the round of 8 cut line, and he sits 18 points behind Team Penske’s Joey Logano for the eighth and final transfer spot. As a result, Elliott, Bowyer and Byron are an additional 18 points each below that cut line, with Elliott trailing it by 22, Bowyer trailing it by 24 and Byron trailing it by 27.

Here is the NASCAR Cup Series playoff picture following the 2019 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Rank – Driver, Car, Team, Manufacturer: Points (Behind)
1st – Kyle Larson, #42, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet: 1 WIN (IN)
2nd – Ryan Blaney, #12, Team Penske, Ford: 1 WIN (IN)
3rd – Denny Hamlin, #11, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota: 3114 (+56)
4th – Martin Truex Jr., #19, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota: 3106 (+48)
5th – Kyle Busch, #18, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota: 3099 (+41)
6th – Kevin Harvick, #4, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford: 3094 (+36)
7th – Brad Keselowski, #2, Team Penske, Ford: 3078 (+20)
8th – Joey Logano, #22, Team Penske, Ford: 3076 (+18)
————————— ROUND OF 8 CUT LINE —————————
9th – Alex Bowman, #88, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet: 3058 (-18)
10th – Chase Elliott, #9, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet: 3054 (-22)
11th – Clint Bowyer, #14, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford: 3052 (-24)
12th – William Byron, #24, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet: 3049 (-27)

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