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Buescher Wins Thunder Valley; Harvick, Busch, RCR Eliminated from Playoffs

Chris Buescher - photo by Larry Robinson - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Buescher get first win of Season, RFK Racing with a strong performance

BRISTOL – September 17, 2022 – Anthony Holbrook

NASCAR Cup Series invaded Bristol Motor Speedway, formerly known as Bristol International Raceway and Bristol Raceway, located in Bristol, Tennessee. The distinctive short track billed as the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile “was constructed in 1960 and hosted its first NASCAR race on July 30, 1961. Bristol Motor Speedway’s noted features include exclusive steep banking, combined with an all-concrete surface, two pit roads, and Coliseum-like seating.

Bristol Motor Speedway during the Night Race – photo by Brendon D. Miller – Bluegrass Sports Nation

Tonight, the eligible gladiators battled in the Annual Bass Pro Shops Night Race to advance in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Cut-Off race and receive the famed victory sword!

Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Stage 1 Recap

Eight of the playoff driver surround the top 10 starting spots, led by Chase Briscoe in 2nd as teams hit the high banks.

Pole sitter Aric Almirola escorts the field to green for 500 scheduled laps of Playoff madness.

Aric Almirola leades the field into turn 1 on first lap – photo by Brendon D. Miller – Bluegrass Sports Nation

Aric Almirola uses the outside lane to take the early lead but notices Denny Hamlin entering into his rear view mirror.

Ryan Blaney has second in sight presently owned by Denny Hamlin.  Ryan Blaney will attempt to outduel Aric Almirola for the lead.

Ryan  Blaney utilize J.J. Yeley mechanical issues to maneuver past race leader Aric Almirola.

Brad Keselowski jumps out to a competitive lead as he sets his cruise to the front as Chris Buescher takes second from Bubba Wallace on Lap 50.

Lap 100. Keselowski continues to dominate as Christopher Bell overtakes second from Tyler Reddick. Kyle Busch moves up to third and Chase Briscoe takes fourth as Reddick descends riding the bottom lane.

Closing segment, Brad Keselowski wards off any danger as Christopher Bell approaches.  Brad K collects Stage 1 honors and collects the first  Stage win for his new team/ownership project.

Stage 1 Winner Brad Keselowski – photo by Brendon D. Miller – Bluegrass Sports Nation

Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Stage 1 Results:

1 – #6 – Brad Keselowski
2 – #20 – Christopher Bell
3 – #18 – Kyle Busch
4 – #14 – Chase Briscoe
5 – #5 – Kyle Larson
6 – #48 – Alex Bowman
7 – #17 – Chris Buescher
8 – #8 – Tyler Reddick
9 – #24 – William Byron
10 – #19  Martin Truex Jr.

Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Stage 2 Recap:

Brad Keselowski loses a full six spots on his first pit stop of the night. Chase Briscoe wins the race off pit road.

Chris Buescher stayed out on lap 134 and is awarded the new race leader under Ryan Blaney’s caution.

Battle for the lead is intensifying between Chris Buescher and Kevin Harvick. Harvick will attempt to steal the lead from Buescher as Denny Hamlin enters into the picture.

45 laps to go in Stage 2 Christopher Buescher leads Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin,  Cole Custer and  Ross Chastain setting up for a Stage 2 showdown.

Stage 2’s final caution will produce a different lineup after race teams attend pit service. Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott make up the top five at the restart. Unfortunately, Chris Buescher will forfeit the lead to a disappointing 14th position after restart issues.

Christopher Bell wins Stage 2 and continues to add playoff points to his resume.

Stage 2 winner Christoperh Bell – photo by Brendon D. Miller – Bluegrass Sports Nation

Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Stage 2 Results:

1 – #20 – Christopher Bell
2 – #1 – Ross Chastain
3 – #14 – Chase Briscoe
4 – #9 – Chase Elliott
5 – #18 – Kyle Busch
6 – #48 – Alex Bowman
7 – #24 – William Byron
8 – #3 – Austin Dillon
9 – #5 – Kyle Larson
10 – #4 – Kevin Harvick

Bass Pro Shops Night Race – Final  Stage  Recap:

With 50 laps to go. Chris Buescher is trying erase a six-year winless streak, but Cup Champ Chase Elliott has other intentions.

Chase Elliott was able to cut into the lead as Chris Buescher tends to lapped traffic.

Driving perfect line around the half-mile oval allows Buescher has extended his lead back up to seven tenths over Cup Champ Chase Elliott.

Chris Buescher survives the Night Race Mayhem at Bristol to score his 2nd Cup win, his first since 2016 and becomes the 19th different winner this 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.

After tonight’s events, Chris Buescher becomes the 3rd straight non-playoff contender to win in the Round of 16.

Chris Buescher after the win – photo by Brendon D. Miller – Bluegrass Sports Nation

Bass Pro Shops Night Race  –  Final Results

Pos | Driver

1. Chris Buescher
2. Chase Elliott
3. William Byron
4. Christopher Bell
5. Kyle Larson
6. Ross Chastain
7. AJ Allmendinger
8. Cole Custer
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Michael McDowell
12. Justin Haley
13. Brad Keselowski
14. Chase Briscoe
15. Corey LaJoie
16. Harrison Burton
17. Cody Ware
18. Todd Gilliland
19. Daniel Suarez
20. Austin Cindric
21. Erik Jones
22. Landon Cassill
23. JJ Yeley
24. BJ McLeod
25. Tyler Reddick
26. Ty Dillon
27. Joey Logano
28. Aric Almirola
29. Bubba Wallace
30. Ryan Blaney
31. Austin Dillon
32. Alex Bowman
33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
34. Kyle Larson
35. Ty Gibbs
36. Martin Truex Jr

Buescher holds up the sword in victory lane – photo by Larry Robinson – Bluegrass Sports Nation

NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Points Standing (After Bristol Night Race)

1. Chase Elliott

2. Joey Logano

3. Ross Chastain

4. Kyle Larson

5. William Byron

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Christopher Bell

8. Ryan Blaney

9. Chase Briscoe

10. Alex Bowman

11. Daniel Suarez

12. Austin Cindric

— Eliminated from Playoffs —

Tyler Reddick

Kyle Busch

Austin Dillon

Kevin Harvick

Chris Buescher becomes the 3rd straight non-playoff contender to win in the Round of 16.

NASCAR Cup Series navigates to the Lone Star State Sunday September 25, 2022 as NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Competition continues for the running of the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 hosted by Texas Motor Speedway.   3:30 p.m. E.T.  / USA Network / Sirius XM NASCAR 90

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