Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
● Clint Bowyer started 11th and finished 19th.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Mustang raced in 10th at the lap-30 competition caution.
● Bowyer continued battling a loose car and fell to 21st by lap 90. However, he posted quick lap times on the long run.
● During the stage break the No. 14 crew made more handling adjustments to improve the car’s short run performance.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
● Bowyer started 16th and finished eighth to earn three bonus points.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Mustang held its position for the first half of the stage.
● Bowyer began working his way through the field climbing to 10th when William Byron’s crash brought out the caution with less than 10 laps remaining in the stage.
● Byron was holding the 12th and final transfer position in the playoffs at the time of the accident.
● Bowyer restarted seventh when the race returned to green with nine laps remaining in the stage.
● Since he pitted late in the stage, Bowyer stayed on the track during the stage break.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):
● Bowyer started eighth and finished sixth.
● The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Mustang ran well early climbing to fourth with 173 laps remaining.
● Bowyer pitted under caution from third for routine service with 88 laps remaining.
● Bowyer was one of six cars on the lead lap when the race restarted with 82 laps remaining.
● Bowyer moved to second place at the choose cone before the restart.
● Bowyer fell to sixth with 50 laps to go as he raced cautiously safeguarding his point’s position in the playoffs.
● The remainder of the race ran without caution.
● Bowyer finished 28 points ahead of the top-12 cutoff in the Round of 16 and advanced to the Round of 12 for the third consecutive year.
● Bowyer finished in the top-10 in each of the three Round of 16 races. He finished 10th Sept. 6 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and 10th in the series’ prior race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
● Bowyer earned his 10th top-10 of the season and his 17th top-10 in 30 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol.
● Since joining SHR in 2017, Bowyer has only one finish outside the top-10 at Bristol.
● This was Bowyer’s sixth straight top-10 at Bristol. He finished second in the series’ previous race at Bristol in May.
● Kevin Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .310 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 50 laps.
● Only six of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 19-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.
Playoff Standings to Begin Round of 12:
1. Kevin Harvick (3,067 points)
2. Denny Hamlin (3,048 points) -19
3. Brad Keselowski (3,035 points) -32
4. Joey Logano (3,022 points) -45
5. Chase Elliott (3,021 points) -46
6. Martin Truex Jr. (3,016 points) -51
7. Alex Bowman (3,009 points) -58
8. Austin Dillon (3,005 points) -62
9. Aric Almirola (3,005 points) -62
10. Kyle Busch (3,004 points) -63
11. Clint Bowyer (3,004 points) -63
12. Kurt Busch (3,001 points) -66
Failed to Advance to Round of 12:
13. Cole Custer (2,067 points)
14. William Byron (2,062 points)
15. Ryan Blaney (2,058 points)
16. Matt DiBenedetto (2,054 points)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Obviously, you want to win the race, but we did what we had to do tonight and that’s advance in the playoffs. I hated to give up those positions at the end, but as loose as I was, you had to use your head and make sure you made it to the next round. Looking forward to getting out to Las Vegas. I’m ready. Hopefully we can continue to march forward. We have to get out there and swing for the fence.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is the fourth race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 12. It starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.