A wild first round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs concluded Saturday night after a dramatic final stint of racing at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Multiple playoff drivers had setbacks in the final 100 laps. Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott cut down tires after contact while racing for the lead. Hamlin collided with Kyle Larson, and Elliott with Kevin Harvick. The latter led to a spat between the two former champions.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell also made green-flag pit stops for flat tires. Fortunately, both were able to rally to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The final transfer spot came down to two points. William Byron and Aric Almirola were left fighting for every spot in the final laps as the drivers above and below the cut-line.
Byron advanced into the Round of 12 for the second time in three playoff appearances after securing a third-place finish.
Almirola was the first driver out by two points, as was Tyler Reddick. Reddick finished 12th, and Almirola ended up 18th.
Kurt Busch and Michael McDowell were the other two drivers eliminated. Busch entered the night tied for the final transfer spot and holding the tiebreaker but was eliminated after struggling with his Chip Ganassi Chevrolet all night. Busch finished 19th, and McDowell finished 24th.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 19, 2021
The 12 remaining playoff drivers are reseeded with 3,00 points. Larson goes into the Round of 12 with another five playoff points through his Bristol win, moving his total to 59.
Las Vegas, Talladega, and the Charlotte Roval are the three tracks in this round.
- Kyle Larson – 3059 points
- Martin Truex Jr. – 3029 points
- Ryan Blaney – 3024 points
- Denny Hamlin – 3024 points
- Kyle Busch – 3022 points
- Chase Elliott – 3021 points
- Alex Bowman – 3015 points
- William Byron – 3014
- Joey Logano – 3013 points
- Brad Keselowski – 3008 points
- Christopher Bell – 3005 points
- Kevin Harvick – 3002 points