Saturday Night NASCAR Playoffs Elimination Race Under the Lights at Bristol

Aerial sot of Bristol Motor Speedway at Night during NASCAR race 09-18-21
Aerial sot of Bristol Motor Speedway at Night during NASCAR race 09-18-21 (Photo credit: YouTube)

This Saturday night the NASCAR Playoff drivers will be facing elimination in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

One driver, Christopher Bell, has clinched his spot in the Round of 12. For the remaining 15 drivers in the Round of 16, elimination is still a possibility Saturday night. The drivers will have to manage tires, fenders and tempers as they race on the short track. Below is the Playoff grid as it looks going to Bristol…

RankDriverPointsRace WinsStage WinsPlayoff PtsPts From Cutoff
1Christopher Bell2,1081312Clinched On Points
2William Byron2,098241548
3Denny Hamlin2,097231347
4Joey Logano2,090252540
5Ryan Blaney2,086051336
6Alex Bowman2,08012730
7Chase Elliott2,078454028
8Kyle Larson2,077231927
9Ross Chastain2,076252026
10Daniel Suarez2,0561276
11Tyler Reddick2,05222122
12Austin Cindric2,0521162
13Kyle Busch2,0501311-2
14Austin Dillon2,049105-3
15Chase Briscoe2,043149-9
16Kevin Harvick2,0172012-35

For one driver starting the race below the cutline, Kyle Busch, the news this week that he will be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and the #18 Toyota after this season might be a distraction or a relief. Knowing that he will be in the #8 Chevrolet racing for Richard Childress Racing in 2023 could free up his emotions to race for the championship one last time in the #18.

All the Playoff drivers will be racing for whatever they will need to advance … Enough points or a win.

Here’s what all drivers and teams will face equally this weekend no matter what their post-season picture looks like.

Bristol Motor Speedway Data
Track Size: 0.533-miles
Banking/Turns: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4-8 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4-8 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 650 feet
Backstretch Length: 650 feet

Bass Pro Shops Night Race Data
Season Race #: 29 of 36 (09-17-22)
Playoff Race #: 3 of 10
Race Length: 500 laps / 266.5 miles
Stages 1 & 2 Length: 125 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 250 laps

So far the first two NASCAR Playoff races have been won by drivers not in championship contention. The beatin’ and bangin’ of NASCAR short track racing could easily make that three for three for spoilers. Here’ how the NASCAR Playoff drivers stack up at Bristol.

 DriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage FinishDriver Rating 
1Christopher Bell30001022.078.3 
2William Byron70012118.172.6 
3Denny Hamlin3142915214.592.4 
4Joey Logano2512610115.091.0 
5Ryan Blaney120025218.791.9 
6Alex Bowman110023120.569.6 
7Chase Elliott111035013.398.8 
8Kyle Larson131138113.4102.4 
9Ross Chastain50000126.845.8 
10Daniel Suárez90002016.070.0 
11Tyler Reddick30011117.372.8 
12Austin Cindric0000000.00.0 
13Kyle Busch32281419413.0102.4 
14Austin Dillon150013116.970.5 
15Chase Briscoe10000013.075.9 
16Kevin Harvick41131421413.297.6 
* – Based on last 33 races at Bristol Motor Speedway (2005 – 2021).

The excitement will fill the air at Bristol Motor Speedway for fans, drivers and teams when the green flag waives to start the Bass Pro Shops Night Race Saturday night, September 17th at 6:30 p.m. central time (7:30 p.m. eastern time).

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens