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NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: Who's Advancing To The Round Of 12 And Who Got Cut

Illustration for article titled NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: Whos Advancing To The Round Of 12 And Who Got Cut
Photo: Sean Gardner (Getty Images)

Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway was one punctuated by chaos and a bit of disaster for a few drivers contending in the playoffs. Only six drivers finished on the lead lap, which meant that competition was fierce to secure the final playoff positions up for grabs before 16 drivers were trimmed down to 12.

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It was ultimately Kevin Harvick’s night, with the No. 5 Stewart-Haas Racing driver leading 226 of the race’s 500 laps. Kyle Busch made a strong effort to end his dry streak, as this is the longest he’s gone without a win in a season since 2005. For greater context, this is only Busch’s first three consecutive top-10 finishes so far this season. But when it came to the final lap, he wasn’t able to get the job done.

Erik Jones took third place with rookie Tyler Reddick fourth. Aric Almirola rounded out the top five.

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Eliminated Drivers

  • William Byron No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
  • Cole Custer — No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
  • Matt DiBenedetto — No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford
  • Ryan Blaney — No. 12 Team Penske Ford

Byron was the first driver to be eliminated after a clash with Christopher Bell and Joey Gase caused him to sustain some massive front-end damage. There was no way he would make it back out and retired on lap 232.

DiBenedetto seemed set for a solid finish with the potential to score some stage wins when an unscheduled pit stop forced him to pit to take care of a loose wheel on lap 186. He returned to the track several laps down and managed to get himself back up to the lead lap in Stage 3 but ultimately fell down to 19th, three laps down.

Blaney and Custer simply couldn’t overcome the points deficit needed to push them into the playoffs. 

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The Round of 12

  • Kevin Harvick — No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
  • Denny Hamlin — No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
  • Brad Keselowski — No. 2 Team Penske Ford
  • Joey Logano — No. 22 Team Penske Ford
  • Martin Truex Jr. — No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
  • Austin Dillon — No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
  • Chase Elliott — No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
  • Alex Bowman — No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
  • Kyle Busch — No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
  • Aric Almirola — No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
  • Kurt Busch — No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
  • Clint Bowyer — No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

Blaney’s been fast the past two years.  If/when he learns how to close out a race, he’ll be a contender.