There have been three races in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. There have been three non-playoff drivers win those three races.
Saturday night (9/17) the Bass Pro Shops Night Race took place at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was the elimination race for the Round of 16 in the NASCAR Playoffs. When the race was over the bottom four drivers among the 16 championship contenders were eliminated from contention.
Just as in the first two races in the Round of 16, many Playoff drivers did not have good fortune. Playoff drivers had tire issues, pit row issues and mechanical issues throughout the race. For a few, it cost them the chance to advance to the next round.
Early on it looked as though Brad Keselowski would have a great chance to play spoiler to the Playoff drivers. He led the race for 83 laps in the first stage and claimed the win of the stage.
In the second stage it was two drivers with the name of Chris that began writing the story of the night. Chris Buescher and Christopher Bell became the cars that everybody had to beat. Christopher Bell was able to claim the win in stage two.
However, as the race continued it would be Chris Buescher that would take control of the race. The timing of his pit stops and the timing of the cautions that would come worked out with his race strategy. Buescher would lead a race high 169 laps including the final 61.
Chris Buescher claimed his first Cup Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway and his second career win his 250th start in the series. He also became the 19th different winner in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Chase Elliott took home the runner-up finish with William Byron in third. Christopher Bell claimed fourth with Kyle Larson rounding out the top five. See the complete race results for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol here.
The four drivers that were eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs were Tyler Reddick, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick.
The points for the remaining championship contenders have been reset to 3000 and their Playoff points added to their totals. That puts Chase Elliott back at the top of the Playoff standings. Joey Logano is in second-place and Ross Chastain is in third. Kyle Larson and William Byron complete the top five in fourth and fifth respectively. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series Playoff and Point Standings here.
Next up the NASCAR Playoff drivers and teams will have to go big in Texas. The AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 takes place Sunday, September 25th at Texas Motor Speedway.
By: Buck Stevens