Three drivers who have had successful seasons even if their Playoff runs end now

Chase Briscoe(14) and Daniel Suarez(99) have already achieved success

There are several ways to measure success in the NASCAR Cup Series. For some drivers and teams, their season is not counted as a good one unless they make the Championship 4 for the title-deciding finale at Phoenix Raceway. But to others, going to the last race on the schedule with a chance to win the championship is not absolutely necessary for the campaign to be labeled successful.

Three drivers will enter this weekend’s cutoff event on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway able to call their season a good one even if they are eliminated from contention on Sunday afternoon.

If, at the end of the day on Sunday, Daniel Suarez, Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric find themselves on the outside of the Playoff picture looking in, their years have still been respectable ones. Unlike former champions like Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson or veteran stars such as Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney, a Championship 4 appearance is a must.

Daniel Suarez has had his best career season in 2022

In the case of Suarez, consider that he is driving for a team that little was expected of at the beginning of 2022. Trackhouse Racing is a relative startup compared to the likes of Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske or Richard Childress Racing. Not many would have picked the No. 99 Chevrolet or teammate Ross Chastain to make the Playoffs before the start of the season so for both to have done that by winning races was a noteworthy achievement.

Considering that the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion won his first Cup race at Sonoma during this season and earned a place in the NASCAR Playoffs for the first time, Suarez has achieved multiple firsts for a yet unproven organization. Whether the 30-year-old driver moves on to the ‘Round of 8’ or not, 2022 has to be considered a success.

Chase Briscoe won his first Cup race in 2022

Like Suarez, Briscoe scored his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2022 when he took the checkered flag in Phoenix and he qualified for the Playoffs for the first time in his short career. The Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver’s season has been one of ups and downs with 11 finishes outside the top-20 along with four top-five and six top-10 results.

What has to be encouraging for the 27-year-old driver and his team is that their last four races have all ended inside the top-15 in the running order. That element of consistent stability had been missing previously. Also like Suarez, a certain degree of success has already been achieved whether this weekend proves to be the end of his Playoff run or not.

And finally, Cindric is another driver whose 2022 efforts have to be considered as an overall positive. After all, the Team Penske Ford pilot won the Daytona 500 in only his eighth career Cup start. Whenever any driver wins the sport’s biggest race, that has to be consider a success but especially when that driver is a rookie.

Austin Cindric won the Daytona 500

Cindric ultimately earned a total of five top-five and nine top-10 finishes along with seven runs that ended outside the top-20. But rookie seasons often prove to be a bit of a roller coaster. The hope, of course, is that the 24-year-old racer will build upon what was accomplished this season so as to produce even better results going forward.

Like Suarez and Briscoe, though, Cindric has already done enough to label 2022 a success.

Obviously, everyone still alive in the NASCAR Playoffs wants to keep going into the next round. But even if they don’t, Daniel Suarez, Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric have already done enough to consider this campaign a success.

Please consider also reading:

Kyle Larson not shying away from dirt even during NASCAR Playoffs

Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.

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