Ryan Newman Says He Still Wants to Race For the Cup, One Obscure Rule Will Probably Stop Him

On Monday, February 17th, fans watched in horror as Ryan Newman went flying on the ...

On Monday, February 17th, fans watched in horror as Ryan Newman went flying on the final lap of the Daytona 500. After the incident, a bleak feeling began to spread over onlookers as Newman was rushed to the hospital. A couple of hours later, we would get news that Newman would turn for the better. Not long after being told that he was in serious condition, Newman would walk out of the hospital.

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It didn’t take long at all for Newman to decide that the wreck wouldn’t allow him to stay on the sidelines.

Ryan Newman credited family, fans, doctors, and God among others for their thoughts and a positive prognosis. Naturally, the next thing that was on everybody’s mind was when Newman would return. Surely, he would at sit out a substantial chunk of the season.

With a wreck like Newman’s, taking the season off would be more than expected. However, he still plans on racing again. In fact, Roush Fenway’s president said he seems to still have his eyes on winning the NASCAR Cup Series Championship this year.

The Reality of it All

So, just how much of a shot could he really have? It turns out that, even though he has missed a race and doesn’t have a timetable for return, there’s still chance. Due to the structure of the rules, it could be small though.

In the wake of such a horrific incident, we tend to forget that he still managed a 9th place finish at Daytona. Ross Chastain would pilot the Number 6 to a 27th place finish in the second race of the season. Any points that a substitute driver gains will not go toward Newman’s point total. Therefore, the number 6 isn’t contributing to his cause unless he’s behind the wheel.

Newman needs several parties including NASCAR and his doctors to sign off on him getting behind the wheel again. However, once he does, a climb back up the points isn’t out of the question. It will be an uphill battle though.

Here’s the Kicker

With NASCAR’s “Win and You’re in” policy, any race winner that has attempted to qualify for all races and maintained a top 30 points standing would be in the playoffs. NASCAR introduced this format a couple of years back as just 16 contenders would be in the chase toward the end of the season. Each race would eliminate racers until four would remain. In the final race, the highest finisher wins. Unfortunately, Newman couldn’t qualify in this way. Even if he came back this weekend and won every single race, there’s still a good chance that he wouldn’t qualify for the playoffs.

It’s really confusing and a little frustrating when we look at Newman’s case. That “attempted to qualify for all races” caveat basically counts him out, even if he only missed a single race. It wouldn’t shock us if they took a second look at these rules in the near future because of this case.

Beyond that, if there are fewer than 16 unique race winners, the list will then depend on regular-season points standings.

Basically, Newman’s hopes reside in one unlikely situation. In a perfect world, he would finish high in the points standings and there would be fewer than 16 unique race winners. As of the writing of this article, oddsmakers place his chances at 300/1 to win it all. This puts him in the 20th position on the favorites list. The odds-on favorites are Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch at 6/1.

Back in 2015 Kyle Busch was in a situation where he didn’t meet all of the criteria to make what they then called “The Chase.” He was given a waiver to compete given that he meet the other criteria to qualify.

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