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Buescher Wins Bristol; Field Set For Round of 12

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 18 2022

Chris Buescher and team celebrate at Bristol. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The first round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs came and went without a single victory by a contending driver as Chris Buescher collected the victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Night Race.

As a result, the Playoffs moves into the Round of 12 minus a couple of former champions  – Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

Buescher joined Erik Jones and Bubba Wallace as Round of 16 winners.

To get the win, Roush Fenway Keselowski driver Buescher had to hold off 2020 champion Chase Elliott over the final 50 laps.

Elliott finished second – .45 seconds back – while Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron was third.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell was fourth and Hendrick’s Kyle Larson fifth.

The second round of the Playoffs begin next week in Texas.

“It‘s so special here,” said Buescher, whose win was the second of his career. “I love this race track. I love the fans. I love every time we come here. It‘s so special. It‘s pretty awesome.

“I don‘t know what all to say right now. I‘m out of breath. This place will wear you flat-out, and I love that about it. It‘s just a special night.”

Buescher, a Texas native, became the 19th driver to win a race in 2022.

The victory was the first for RFK Racing since Brad Keselowski joined the organization as an owner/driver after the 2021 season.

Elliott, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Bell, Denny Hamlin, Chase Briscoe, Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric and Alex Bowman clinched spots in the next round, though all had serious issues during the race.

Elliott got closer to Buescher on the final two laps but ran out of time.“I felt like we were gaining, but it was… I wasn’t close enough to do anything with him,” Elliott said. “But I appreciate the effort. We had a long day yesterday. Was able to battle back from a bad qualifying effort (23rd) to get a top two, so proud of that.

“Glad to be moving on (in the Playoff) and looking forward to some more opportunities here these coming weeks.”

Harvick and Busch were eliminated after the former had trouble on pit road and the latter blew and engine.

“It was pretty tough,” Harvick said. “We pitted in front of the 17 (Buescher), so just kind of the way the year has gone. Just went from having a chance to lead the parade to being a part of the parade. Just difficult to pass.”

“It just goes with our year,” Busch said. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m flabbergasted. I just feel so bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this spot. They work too hard. We are too good of a group to be this low—down on the bottom, fighting for our lives just to make it through. Two engine failures in three weeks, that will do it to you.”

Tyler Reddick and Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon both failed to make the Round of 12 after both drivers’ Chevrolets were damaged in a 12-car pileup on the backstretch on Lap 277. Reddick finished 25th and Dillon 31st.

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NASCAR Cup Series Race – 62nd Annual Bass Pro Shops Night Race

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol, Tennessee

Saturday, September 17, 2022

  1. (20)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 500.
  2. (23)  Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 500.
  3. (16)  William Byron (P), Chevrolet, 500.
  4. (8)  Christopher Bell (P), Toyota, 500.
  5. (5)  Kyle Larson (P), Chevrolet, 500.
  6. (12)  Ross Chastain (P), Chevrolet, 500.
  7. (13)  AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 500.
  8. (11)  Cole Custer, Ford, 500.
  9. (4)  Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 500.
  10. (7)  Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 500.
  11. (18)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 500.
  12. (19)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 500.
  13. (10)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 499.
  14. (2)  Chase Briscoe (P), Ford, 498.
  15. (31)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 497.
  16. (27)  Harrison Burton #, Ford, 497.
  17. (32)  Cody Ware, Ford, 497.
  18. (30)  Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 496.
  19. (29)  Daniel Suarez (P), Chevrolet, 494.
  20. (9)  Austin Cindric # (P), Ford, 493.
  21. (24)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 492.
  22. (35)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 492.
  23. (36)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 491.
  24. (33)  BJ McLeod(i), Ford, 491.
  25. (17)  Tyler Reddick (P), Chevrolet, 469.
  26. (34)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, Steering, 457.
  27. (15)  Joey Logano (P), Ford, Suspension, 437.
  28. (1)  Aric Almirola, Ford, Steering, 418.
  29. (14)  Bubba Wallace (P), Toyota, 408.
  30. (6)  Ryan Blaney (P), Ford, 338.
  31. (28)  Austin Dillon (P), Chevrolet, DVP, 279.
  32. (3)  Alex Bowman (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 277.
  33. (26)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 276.
  34. (21)  Kyle Busch (P), Toyota, Engine, 269.
  35. (25)  Ty Gibbs(i), Toyota, Steering, 265.
  36. (22)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Steering, 198.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  88.286 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 1 Mins, 7 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.458 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  11 for 80 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Almirola 1-35;R. Blaney (P) 36-44;A. Almirola 45;B. Keselowski 46-128;C. Bell (P) 129;C. Buescher 130-237;C. Bell (P) 238-356;K. Larson (P) 357-387;B. Keselowski 388-413;C. Bell (P) 414-435;K. Larson (P) 436-438;C. Bell (P) 439;C. Buescher 440-500.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Chris Buescher 2 times for 169 laps; Christopher Bell (P) 4 times for 143 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 109 laps; Aric Almirola 2 times for 36 laps; Kyle Larson (P) 2 times for 34 laps; Ryan Blaney (P) 1 time for 9 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 6,20,18,14,5,48,17,8,24,19

Stage #2 Top Ten: 20,1,14,9,18,48,24,3,5,4

 

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 18 2022
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