Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway marked the start of the Round of 8, and plenty of the playoff drivers were looking to get the round off to a great start. Some did, but others had a very rough day. Team Penske's Ryan Blaney entered this round below the cutline. With a solid 6th-place finish, he looked to have made up some points on his playoff rivals until the post-race inspection when NASCAR found something they didn't like on Blaney's No 12. Ford Mustang.
Officially, Blaney was disqualified for an issue with his left-front shock, with NASCAR ruling that it did not meet the overall specified length, according to Motorsport.com's Jim Utter.
Blaney's DQ comes for violating section 18.104.22.168 of the NASCAR rule book, which lists the minimum extender damper length for each shock on a Cup car.
As a result, Blaney goes from a well-needed 6th-place finish to a disastrous 36th-place finish and only one point scored for the race. He also loses the all-important eight stage points he had gained during the race.
Ryan Blaney before the disqualification: 17 points below the cut.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 16, 2023
The DQ also seriously hurts Blaney's playoff standings. He fell from only 17 points below the cutline all the way down to the eighth-place spot and 56 points out of the top four. With two races left in the Round of 8, Blaney finds himself in an all-but must-win situation if he wants to make his first Championship Four appearance.
Blaney is the only Team Penske car left in the playoffs, but this disqualification puts him in a bad spot. It is also only the second DQ that has occurred this season. Just a few weeks ago, Kevin Harvick's runner-up finish at Talladega was taken away, ending his playoff chances in his final season.
Blaney's team may appeal NASCAR's ruling, but NASCAR isn't likely to overturn its decision. If Blaney is to continue his championship run, he must now win at Homestead or Martinsville, two tracks where he has historically not performed well.
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