NASCAR issued a press release on August 26 during a weather delay at the Florida track. The No. 3 Chevrolet of Richard Childress Racing, No. 14 Ford of Stewart-Haas Racing, No. 19 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing, No. 41 Ford of Stewart-Haas Racing, No. 43 Chevrolet of Petty GMS Motorsports, and No. 78 Ford of Live Fast Motorsports all failed inspection two times each. They all passed on the third attempt.
With the multi-time failures, these teams lost out on their pit stall selections for the regular-season finale. They all also lost a member of their respective crews for the weekend. The No. 3 team lost car chief Ryan Chism, the No. 14 team lost car chief JD Frey, the No. 19 team lost car chief Chris Jones, the No. 41 team lost car chief Tony Cardamone, the No. 43 team lost engineer Evan Bensch, and the No. 78 team lost engineer Chris Stanley.
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The Teams Did Not Qualify at Daytona
The multi-time failures only led to lost crew members and pit stall selection. It did not impact qualifying considering that all of these entries passed inspection on their third attempts. Not that it would have mattered based on the inclement weather in the area.
The Cup Series drivers originally planned to make their qualifying laps at Daytona on Friday, August 26. This did not happen due to rainfall at the track. NASCAR ultimately canceled qualifying for both the Xfinity Series and Cup Series drivers before setting the lineups with its formula.
Erik Jones will have the best starting position of the group. He will line up 11th overall in the No. 43 while Martin Truex Jr. will be one row behind him in 13th. Cole Custer will start the race 15th overall while Austin Dillon will line up 21st. Chase Briscoe and BJ McLeod will round out the group in the 26th and 36th positions, respectively.
This lack of qualifying means that the drivers will head out for the regular-season finale with no laps at Daytona International Speedway since the Daytona 500 in February. They will have to hope that their cars are set up properly and ready for a grueling night of racing.
The Majority of These Drivers Need a Win
The lack of qualifying could play a significant role in the final battle for the two remaining playoff spots. Chase Briscoe is the only member of this group that has a secure spot in the 16-driver field after he won the spring race at Phoenix Raceway.
BJ McLeod has not started every race during the 2022 season while sharing the No. 78 with other drivers. He is not eligible for the playoffs, but the other four drivers are still in search of a spot in the field.
Truex sits in the best spot. He is above the cutline after Kurt Busch withdrew from the playoffs as he continues to recover from a crash at Pocono Raceway. He has a 187-point advantage over Jones, who is the first driver below the cutline, and he can potentially point his way into the playoffs. Jones, for comparison, can only secure a spot by winning the Coke Zero Sugar 400.
Dillon and Custer are both in must-win situations. The driver of the No. 3 is 230 points behind Truex and the cutline while the driver of the No. 41 is 323 points behind. There is no realistic way for these two drivers to secure enough points to overtake either Truex or Ryan Blaney.
Performing well at Daytona International Speedway and avoiding incidents is the only path to victory for Dillon, Custer, Jones, and Truex. An early crash would end their playoff hopes and lead to some heartbreak.