After falling short in the first two races in the Round of 16, Denny Hamlin finally won a race in the 2023 NASCAR Playoffs.
Denny dominated the first race of the Playoffs at Darlington. However, late in the race a mistake took him out of contention for the win. The next week at Kansas Denny had another impressive showing. However, he fell short of winning by finishing in second place. The final race of the Round of 16 would finally fall Denny’s way.
Christopher Bell looked to be the car to beat all race long, and was. He started from the pole position. He led the most laps with 187 laps as the leader of the 500-lap race. He was the winner in stage one and stage two.
Late in the race Denny Hamlin was able to get to the lead of the race. He was able to defend that lead through the final re-start after a caution. Denny was able to keep the lead of the race through the final 135 laps of the race. This gave Denny his third career Cup Series win at Bristol. It was also his third win of the 2023 Cup Series season. It gave him an automatic advance to the Round of 12 (although he had secured that advance earlier in the race on points).
Kyle Larson finished in second-place. Christopher Bell was able to secure a podium finish in third-place. See the complete race results for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race here.
The race at Bristol was a NASCAR Playoffs elimination race. The bottom four drivers in the Round of 16 after the race were eliminated from championship contention. The defending Cup Series Champion Joey Logano was one of the drivers below the cutline. Kevin Harvick, in his final full-season as a Cup Series driver was also below the cutline. Rickey Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell were the other two drivers eliminated from the post-season. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
The Round of 12 begins this week in the 2023 NASCAR Playoffs. The first chance to advance for the remaining 12 post-season drivers will be in the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, September 24th.
(Feature photo credit: YouTube)
By: Buck Stevens