NASCAR Playoffs Elimination Race at Bristol Saturday Night

Bristol Motor Speedway
Aerial view of Bristol Motor Speedway (Photo credit: YouTube)

The Round of 16 drivers have one last race to advance in the NASCAR Playoffs. It won’t be an easy task either as that race is on the short track of Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Bass Pro Shops Night Race will take place this Saturday night (9/16) when NASCAR goes “Short Trackin’ Saturday Night”! Two of the drivers in the Round of 16 have already secured their spot in the Round of 12 by winning the first two races in this round: Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick. The remaining 14 drivers will have to earn their spot this Saturday night.

There are some Playoff drivers that simply need a decent night to advance and control their own destiny for the most part. There are some Playoff drivers that will need to have a great night to advance. Still other drivers may have to have a great night and perhaps some help from others having a bad night to continue on in the post-season. I’m not sure there are any drivers that can only make the Round of 12 by winning. However, in reality a couple of the drivers would likely have to get that win to advance since they can’t count on other drivers having a bad night.

Here is the 2023 NASCAR Playoff Outlook Heading to Bristol…

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Outlook heading to Bristol
(Drivers in red are currently in danger of being eliminated from Playoffs)

Here is the data for the track and the race this weekend.

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 (09-16-23)
NCS Playoff Race #: 3 of 10
Round of 16 Race #: 3 of 3
Race Length: 500 laps / 266.5 miles
Stages 1 & 2 Length: 125 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 250 laps

Here are the active drivers who have won a Cup Series race at Bristol during their careers.

Kyle Busch8 Wins2019, ’18, ’17, ’11, ’10, ’09 sweep, ’07
Brad Keselowski3 Wins2020, ’12, ’11
Kevin Harvick3 Wins2020, ’16, ’05
Denny Hamlin2 Wins2019, ’12
Joey Logano2 Wins2015, ’14
Chris Buescher1 Win2022
Kyle Larson1 Win2021

Nobody can count on other drivers having a bad night to help them out. However, no driver can count on having a good night when NASCAR races at Bristol. Cars will be side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper all night. There will be pushing and hitting from behind. There will be beating on the doors. There will likely be all kinds of contact all race long. The results are often crashed cars and wrecked tempers. Another driver can make a mistake or push somebody out of the way and cause a car not involved at all with the initial situation to wreck and be out of the race.

We will see which cars survive the beating and banging to have a chance to advance. We will also see which cars have their championship hope eliminated when the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway starts at 6:30 p.m. central time (7:30 p.m. eastern time) Saturday Night, September 16th.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens