Why hasn’t Ryan Blaney won in 2022?

Ryan Blaney is the only driver in the NASCAR Cup Series to reach the playoffs without a win. With three races left to go in the season, he is still winless.

The winless mystery is deepened by the fact that Blaney has had a good year by most standard metrics.

Blaney leads the Cup Series in stage wins with eight. They win from Phoenix in March to Las Vegas last week. 

These include superspeedways, intermediate tracks, road courses and short tracks.

Number 12 is the speed of the car. Blaney's three poles tie (along with five other drivers) for second place. Christopher Bell is ahead with four. 

NASCAR's loop data puts Blaney second only to Ross Chastain for green-flag speed in the season.

Blaney's 527 laps put him in seventh place on this metric. He has led the laps in 24 out of 33 races so far.

Blaney ranks second at 12.2 in moving averages.

He finished third with Chastain on average (14.2)

He is fourth in average starting position (10.5) with Joey Logano.

His 15 top-10 finishes tied him (along with four other drivers) in fifth place.

He came close to winning: He lost the Fall Talladega race to Chase Elliott by just 0.046 of a second.

I've summarized Blaney's 2021 and 2022 endings in the graph below. Wins are in maroon, second to fifth place finishes in dark blue, etc.

Blaney has a top 10 number this year, just like last year. But last year included three victories.

He has an finish of 15th or so. For example, in 2021, seven of his finishes were worse than 20th. This year he was 13.

Common reasons do not apply
The general factors that explain why other drivers did not make or drop out in the playoffs do not apply to Blaney.

He and his team have received only four penalties this year, the fewest of any full-time driver.

 Two of the four (high speed on the wall in Bristol and a lot of crew) were intentional.

With 183 DNFs in a year, the No. 22 team has only three: Spring Las Vegas, Charlotte and Pocono.

 Fellow playoff drivers Denny Hamlin and William Byrne each have twice that number.

Blaney is ranked 21st for being involved in careful accidents or spins with nine crashes and two spins.

 This is compared to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Kyle Bush, who have a total of 17 crashes and spins each.


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