Bristol NASCAR Cup Series Race Result: Cut-offs Are Made

Chris Bucher jumps from the top of his car into the arms of his crew after winning the NASCAR Cup Series car race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Bristol, Tennessee.  (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Chris Bucher jumps from the top of his car into the arms of his crew after winning the NASCAR Cup Series car race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Bristol, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

AP

Another cup race, another winner.

Chris Bucher drove the bulk of the final 100 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway – weaving around the slick cars and keeping his cool even as regular season champion Chase Elliott tried to chase him – and eventually found a way to earn his first win of the 2022 season on Saturday night.

The driver’s 17th win marks the third time in as many races that a non-separated driver has won a post-season race this year. It also means that 19 different drivers have racked up wins in this volatile and unpredictable season.

Right before he burnt out at the start and finish line, Boecher met Car #6 – driven by his boss and teammate Brad Keselowski, Racing Roach Fenway.

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Chris Bucher, front left, and Kevin Harvick (4) lead the group during the restart in the NASCAR Cup Series car race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Bristol, Tennessee. (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey) Mark Humphrey AP

The win — which finished 222 winless streaks for the driver and 191 streaks no win for RFK Racing — was clearly distinctive for the Prosper, Texas native.

“Just special here in Bristol,” the still-elusive Buescher told NBC Sports on the right track. “I love this racetrack. I love the fans. I love every time we come here.

“We lost one that really broke our hearts back in 2015 on the Xfinity side. … So that makes up for it. This is so cool, so special.”

Buescher led the race for 169 laps and won that race thanks to plenty of bold calls along the stretch. Among those calls: His team chose to change only two tires at the last warning of the day, while the remaining leaders took four.

Kevin Harvick was one of the leaders to enter pit road with Buescher at Lap 439. The veteran driver essentially needed a win to cement his place in the next round of qualifying – but a fatal mistake on his final stop (leaving his stall with a loose wheel and having to turn back) dashed his hopes at one point after the season.

“Very tough,” Harvick said after the race. “We pitted in front of 17, so that’s just kind of how the year went. We went from being an opportunity to lead the show to being part of the show. It’s just hard to pass.”

Chase Elliott took second place. William Byron finished third, and Christopher Bell finished fourth.

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Fireworks go off during festivities ahead of the auto race for the NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Bristol, Tennessee (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Mark Humphrey AP

Who are the qualifying drivers for the round of 12?

Drivers who have reached the round of 12: Christopher Bell, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cendrick, Daniel Suarez.

That means Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Kyle Bush and Kevin Harvick are left out.

The guy who ended right above the cut-off line? Cendric is very satisfied.

“That was easy, wasn’t it?” Cendric said with a chuckle. “You came plus two, left plus two. Just how we drew it. What a night. …To get us all into the round of 12 after a very scary night for Team Penske, I’m glad I did my job and got this match out.”

Historically speaking, Kyle Bush was eliminated from the playoffs

For the first time in his career, Kyle Busch did not make the first round of the Cup Series playoffs. He finished 32nd, came out early thanks to a second engine failure in three weeks – and did so in a place where he won an impressive eight Cup races.

Bush told NBC in an interview that Saturday night was par for the course for the Snakes season.

“This is something that fits our year,” said Bosch, standing on the field before the race ended. “I just, I mean – I don’t know what to say. I’m surprised. I just feel bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this place. They’ve worked so hard. We’re so good at putting together a group that we’re not that low on the bottom, fighting from Our life is just for success.

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Harrison Burton, 21, spins during the NASCAR Cup Series car race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Bristol, Tennessee. (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey) Mark Humphrey AP

Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman and Austin Dillon also finished the days early

Bosch wasn’t the only driver to finish his day early.

As promised, Bristol Motor Speedway featured an attrition race: In the end there were 11 warnings and 12 lead changes on Saturday.

The first to land was Ryan Blaney. After driving nine laps in the first stage, everything that could go wrong looked like this: Car #12 suffered a puncture on Lap 92, sending his Ford hard over the outside. Then as soon as he got into the pit road, he lowered his left butt as he tried to leave the pit stall.

The problems didn’t end there: in the Lap 105, he had to dig again as his car started to drag and cause sparks. He dug under the green, then never reached a minimum speed and had to get work done behind the wall.

Blaney eventually got back into the race on lap 266, staying well off the pieces despite being 152 laps. He finished 30 – barely good enough to make it to the round of 12.

“Just lucky to get in, I think,” said Blaney, shrugging his shoulders after the race. “We were really fast early on, and I only had the right front down like almost everyone else in the race. We hit the wall harder than some of the other guys. We took a long time to fix it but were able to get it back.”

He added, “We built a good enough gap in the first two races to give us a little bit of protection, and some guys had their problems tonight. Yeah, pretty crazy turn of events for sure. But good persistence from this group of 12.”

Alex Bowman and Austin Dillon were both caught in the big wreck around Lap 280 (Phase 3), which happened after Daniel Suarez lost in the restart and collected a bunch of pitch. Bowman finished his day at thirty-two. Dillon finished 31st.

“We lost power steering at the start of Stage Two,” Bowman told NBC mid-race. “We stayed there for stage points, so we kind of worked our way up and resumed playing in the back because we were out for so long. Then they all crashed in front of me, and they had nowhere to go.”

Dillon said of Suarez’s wreck: “I was feeling really good about it, we just needed to miss it. … This was the best car we brought in. We got ourselves into trouble with the first two races. We brought something that we could race with today and we felt really good about it” .

Unofficial results from Bristol Motor Speedway

POS. Sentences driver time behind Best Time best speed
1 17 Chris Bucher 15.204 126.204
2 9 Chase Elliot (P) 0.458 15,311 125.322
3 24 William Byron (P) 1.667 15.275 125.617
4 20 Christopher Bell (P) 1.809 15.18 126,403
5 5 Kyle Larson (P) 3.688 15.17 126,486
6 1 Ross Chastain (P) 4.106 15.34 125.085
7 16 AJ Almendir 5.994 15,385 124.719
8 41 Cole Custer 7.648 15,442 124.259
9 11 Denny Hamlin (P) 7.884 15,317 125.273
10 4 Kevin Harvick (P) 8.421 15.265 125,699
11 34 Michael McDowell 9.404 15,393 124.654
12 31 Justin Haley 9.855 15.286 125,527
13 6 Brad Kiselowski -1 15.202 126.22
14 14 Chase Briscoe (P) -2 15.424 124.404
15th 7 Corey Lagoy -3 15,511 123.706
16 21 Harrison Burton -3 15,491 123.865
17 51 kodi ware -3 15,502 123.778
18 38 Todd Gilliland -4 15,591 123.071
19 99 Daniel Suarez (P) -6 15,547 123,419
20 2 Austin Cendrick (P) -7 15,593 123.055
21 43 Eric Jones -8 15,588 123.095
22 77 Landon Castle -8 15,564 123.285
23 15th JJ follows -9 15,595 123.039
24 78 PJ MacLeod -9 15,652 122.591
25 8 Tyler Riddick (P) -31 15.409 124.525
26 42 Ty Dillon -43 15,521 123,626
27 22 Joey Lugano (P) -63 15,375 124.8
28 10 Eric Almerola -82 15,373 124.816
29 45 Bubba Wallace (P) -92 15.316 125.281
30 12 Ryan Blaney (P) -162 15,336 125.117
31 3 Austin Dillon (P) -221 15.52 123.634
32 48 Alex Bowman (P) -223 15.435 124.315
33 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -224 15,554 123.364
34 18 Kyle Bush (P) -231 15,338 125.101
35 23 Ty Gibbs -235 15.408 124.533
36 19 Martin Truex Jr. -302 15,483 123.929

(q) – playoff driver

This story was originally published September 17, 2022, at 11:19 p.m.

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Alex Zietlow writes about NASCAR, Charlotte FC, and the ways sports intersect with life in the Charlotte area for The Observer, where he has been a reporter since August 2022. Zietlow’s work has been honored by the NC and SC Press Association, also as an APSE, which gave him a Top 10 Ranks in the Beat Writing and Short Feature categories in the 2021 Writing Contest. Previously wrote for The Herald in Rock Hill from 2019 to 22.

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