NASCAR at Bristol results: Chris Buescher takes checkered flag, becomes third non-playoff driver to win playoff race

NASCAR at Bristol results: Chris Buescher takes checkered flag, becomes third non-playoff driver to win playoff race

With just one race remaining before the NASCAR Cup Series playoff field is cut from 16 drivers to 12, the pressure is on as those drivers chase one of motorsport’s most hallowed pieces of hardware.

And what better place to compete than the Last Great Colosseum?

From Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte’s classic battles on the concrete oval to Darrell Waltrip’s unprecedented success at the venue to today’s stars excelling, Bristol Motor Speedway is steeped in history and is one of the most challenging sites in stock car racing.

Who will add their name to the track’s legacy? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain as we approach the next chapter of Cup Series competition: Saturday’s 500-lap race will be highly competitive.

The playoff field wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Sporting News is tracking live updates, highlights and results from the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol. Follow all the action here.

NASCAR at Bristol live updates, results, highlights

(All times Eastern)

10:55 p.m.: Buescher takes the checkered flag! That’s his first win of the 2022 season and the 18th different racer to win a race this season!

10:37 p.m.: Some serious problems on pit road. Harvick and Hamlin both had to delay their departures from the pit after parts weren’t fastened in properly.

That could loom large on Harvick, who needs a win tonight to get to the Round of 12.

10:34 p.m.: Caution flag is waved and it’s for Bell! Another front right flat, which causes sparks to fly beneath the back of his car.

10:31 p.m.: Blaney passes Busch in the race, meaning Busch is now just two spots above the cut line. Could get really testy for the former Cup Series champ, especially with him being unable to do anything to help his position.

10:29 p.m.: Keselowski on the way to pit road. Looks like one of his tires popped. That’s unfortunate for the No. 6 car, which seemed primed for a top-three finish for much of the day.

10:26 p.m.: Ty Gibbs’ car is headed to the garage. Could be a blessing in disguise for Ford, as that will make it easier for Kyle Busch — another Ford driver — to qualify for the Round of 12.

10:24 p.m.: Joey Logano headed to pit road with 100 laps to go. Recovered enough to be able to pit without forcing the caution flag to be waved.

10:21 p.m.: Keselowski pulls off the slide job on Larson! Wonderful display by the Roush Fenway Keselowski driver tonight.

10:16 p.m.: Reddick is in a precarious position…in more ways than one. The No. 8 driver is 29 laps down on Landon Cassill, who he would have to pass to give himself a chance at qualifying for the Round of 12.

He’s also driving slowly in the middle of the track. That’s certain to draw the ire of some faster racers.

10:14 p.m.: After the race restart, it’s Larson who takes the lead! 134 laps to go.

10:07 p.m.: Caution flag waved after Jones’s right front tire pops. That’s music to Christopher Bell’s ears; this is the perfect time for Bell to fill up his gas tank without incurring any major lap deficit.

10:04 p.m.: Here’s how the bottom four playoff spaces are shaping up: 

  • 9. Ryan Blaney
  • 10. Chase Briscoe
  • 11. Daniel Suarez
  • 12. Kyle Busch

9:55 p.m.: Bell putting together an impressive showcase at Bristol. He’s got a one-second edge over Larson. Seems the No. 20 driver is not being complacent despite already securing his spot in the Round of 12.

9:51 p.m.: Dillon’s night is done. Looks like he’s out of the playoffs.

9:42 p.m.: Multi-car collision on the race restart! Looks like it involves Suarez, Reddick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Todd Gilliland, as well as Austin Dillon. This could go a big way in shaping the playoff field after today: Suarez, Reddick and Dillon are all playoff drivers.

9:36 p.m.: Busch into the wall! That’s another caution flag waved. Looks like his engine is leaking. He’s done for the race and likely done for the Cup Series playoffs.

9:33 p.m.: Stage 3 is underway! Bell, William Byron and Kyle Larson are the top three.

9:25 p.m.: And Bell captures the green flag!

9:24 p.m.: With three laps to go, Bell is looking in solid position to pick up the stage win.

9:23 p.m.: The race is restarted and it’s Christopher Bell who takes the lead. Ross Chastain in second place. Kyle Busch also competing atop the front of the pack. He’s currently in a playoff spot.

9:18 p.m.: Hamlin headed to pit road after he suffers a flat front right tire. Another caution flag waved.

9:15 p.m.: Suarez and Tyler Reddick are dovetailing between 12th and 13th place. That’s the difference between a spot in the Round of 12 and getting cut from the playoffs.  One to watch, for sure.

9:10 p.m.: Green flag waved again. Buescher, Harvick and Hamlin battling for first place with 41 laps to go.

9:08 p.m.: Truex is done for the day.

9:01 p.m.: Caution flag waved after Burton suffers his third front flat of the race. Seems the No. 42 car tried to avoid Burton’s car, which left Erik Jones’ No. 43 car in rough position.

Really tough day for the rookie Burton.

8:58 p.m.: Wallace is headed to pit road! He had ran a fairly clean first 180 laps or so, but his power-steering started failing him. His pit crew took his tire off and it was sopping in fluid. Looks like he’s having some issue under the hood.

8:56 p.m.: Important to note: Blaney is 25 laps down. It will be an uphill climb for him to get a half-decent showing at Bristol.

8:53 p.m.: Buescher is in the front of the pack 40 laps through Stage 2. Harvick in second place, putting together a far better display than in Stage 1. 

8:43 p.m.: Caution flag waved once more! It’s for Harrison Burton again, who is headed to pit road after spinning out on the bend.

His right front tire is flat again. Something’s been fishy with these Ford cars and their tires so far.

8:42 p.m.: The green flag is waved for Stage 2 and we’re off once more! Buescher holds the lead early, followed by Harvick and Hamlin.

8:35 p.m.: Keselowski holds on to take Stage 1! That’s his first stage win of the season, and he did it without heading to pit road.

8:32 p.m.: What a run by Keselowski! He still hasn’t pitted through 120 laps and he holds the pole.

Meanwhile, Blaney is headed back to pit road. He’s got a flat back right tire, suspension issues and the back of his car has pretty much dragged for the past 20 laps or so. He’s probably going to need to head to the garage.

8:31 p.m.: Blaney is in serious trouble. Sparks are emanating from the back tires. Looks like he’s headed to pit road on the green flag. Blaney’s spot in the Round of 12 is in serious jeopardy.

8:27 p.m.: Pit crews are actively communicating with their drivers highlighting the persistence of right front tire issues.

Keselowski still holds the lead through 106 laps. Busch with a fantastic race restart to get himself into third place.

8:24 p.m.: Blaney’s team is likely going to be penalized after his right front tire rolls way down the track.

Blaney’s issues should offer a lifeline for the likes of Kevin Harvick, who entered today 35 points away from safety.

8:22 p.m.: Caution flag is waved! Blaney and Almirola headed to pit road after some more tire issues. Four Ford cars have suffered flat tires on their front right tires. Not very good.

8:20 p.m.: Austin Cindric is headed to pit road on the green flag! Huge setback for Cindric, who entered the race outside the playoff cut line.

The rookie is now three laps behind the leader Keselowski. Not great. Seems he’s also unable to communicate with his pit crew. This is less than ideal.

8:16 p.m.: Almirola has a steering issue, which he has reiterated to his team via driver radio. Could certainly explain his slide — the No. 10 car is now in sixth-place.

8:14 p.m.: Old tires currently holding on well through the first 66 laps for Keselowski, Buescher and Wallace. They still hold the top three places.

8:10 p.m.: Green flag is out once more. Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher and Bubba Wallace are setting the pace early.

Suarez is struggling so far. Seems his car isn’t handling well. He’s going to have to put together a big effort to qualify at the moment.

8:05 p.m.: First caution flag of the day waved after J.J. Yeley’s No. 15 car and Harrison Burton’s No. 21 car suffer flat right front tires.

8:04 p.m.: Blaney takes the lead! Hamlin still in second, Almirola drops to third.

8:00 p.m.: Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon already in dangerous position to get lapped by race leader Almirola. That’s a problem given both entered Saturday just over the cut line. 

Through 30 laps, Busch and Briscoe are into the next rounds of the playoffs.

7:58 p.m.: Despite sitting 72 points over the cut line, Blaney is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s already gotten tight with Briscoe. Now, he’s going back and forth with Hamlin for second place. Eye-catching stuff.

7:55 p.m.: Chase Briscoe playing it aggressive early, His No. 14 car is already in the top-four through 10 laps.

Ryan Blaney wouldn’t let him get the pass through, though. Might be an indication of just how tight this race may be.

7:53 p.m.: And we’re off! Aric Almirola in pole position to start the race.

What time does the NASCAR race start?

  • Race: Bass Pro Shops Night Race
  • Date: Saturday, Sept. 17
  • Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Bass Pro Shops Night Race is listed to start at 7:30 p.m. ET, but the green flag is scheduled to be waved at 7:47 p.m. ET.

What channel is NASCAR on today?

  • TV channel: USA (U.S.) | TSN5 (Canada)
  • Live stream: Peacock, fuboTV
  • Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

The Bass Pro Shop Night Race will be broadcast live on USA Network in the U.S.

Rick Allen will lead the coverage, serving as the lap-by-lap announcer for Saturday’s race. He’ll be joined by former Cup Series veterans Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr., as well as former Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte.

Canadian viewers can follow along on TSN5.

The race from Bristol Motor Speedway will be streamed live on Peacock. Viewers can also watch with fuboTV, which offers a free trial.

Starting lineup for Bristol race

Starting pos.DriverCar No.Team
1Aric Almirola10Stewart-Haas Racing
2Chase Briscoe (P)14Stewart-Haas Racing
3Alex Bowman (P)48Hendrick Motorsports
4Denny Hamlin (P)11Joe Gibbs Racing
5Kyle Larson (P)5Hendrick Motorsports
6Ryan Blaney (P)12Team Penske
7Kevin Harvick (P)4Stewart-Haas Racing
8Christopher Bell (P)20Joe Gibbs Racing
9Austin Cindric (P)2Team Penske
10Brad Keselowski6Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing
11Cole Custer41Stewart-Haas Racing
12Ross Chastain (P)1Trackhouse Racing
13AJ Allmendinger16Kaulig Racing
14Bubba Wallace4523XI Racing
15Joey Logano (P)22Team Penske
16William Byron (P)24Hendrick Motorsports
17Tyler Reddick (P)8Richard Childress Racing
18Michael McDowell34Front Row Motorsports
19Justin Haley31Kaulig Racing
20Chris Buescher17Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing
21Kyle Busch (P)18Joe Gibbs Racing
22Martin Truex Jr. 19Joe Gibbs Racing
23Chase Elliott (P)9Hendrick Motorsports
24Erik Jones43Petty GMS Motorsports
25Ty Gibbs2323XI Racing
26Ricky Stenhouse Jr.47JTG Daugherty Racing
27Harrison Burton21Wood Brothers Racing
28Austin Dillon (P)3Richard Childress Racing
29Daniel Suarez (P)99Trackhouse Racing
30Todd Gilliland38Front Row Motorsports
31Corey LaJoie7Spire Motorsports
32Cody Ware51Rick Ware Racing
33BJ McLeod78Live Fast Motorsports
34Ty Dillon42Petty GMS Motorsports
35Landon Cassill77Spire Motorsports
36JJ Yeley15Rick Ware Racing

(P) Playoff driver.