The decision Kurt Busch made to revoke his medical waiver that NASCAR gave him to still be playoff eligible was commendable. It now opens up a spot that we didn’t know we have for the postseason. Ryan Blaney leads Martin Truex Jr. by 25 points for the top wildcard position. It’s between them 2 for 1 guaranteed spot.
The other spot is down to the 13 drivers who’ve enter Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN) having to win in order to advance. If they don’t, then the lower point scorer between Blaney and Truex moves on too.
What’s good for most of these drivers though is that they have the comfort of job security. In a day and age of racing to where most deals last only a year or two, most of the guys on the playoff bubble have recently signed contracts to keep them in place for at least the 2023 season.
That has to go a long way for these drivers to just go out and race on Saturday night in hopes of a win and not having to also wonder about their future.
Just last week Blaney signed an extension with Team Penske. A few weeks prior to that, Bubba Wallace signed an extension to stay at 23XI Racing. A week before that Erik Jones reached a new deal with Petty GMS Racing. At the end of June, Martin Truex Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. each signed deals to stay in their respective cars for 2023.
Blaney, Truex and Jones hold the top 3 spots fighting for these final 2 playoff berths. Factor in Wallace and you get 4 of the top 6.
However, the other 2 are likely secured too. Austin Dillon isn’t moving on from his grandpa’s team. Aric Almirola’s future is strictly up to him. He originally announced his retirement but rumors have surfaced he second guessed that and may come back for one more go at it in 2023. That’s up to Almirola if he comes back not if he makes the playoffs or not.