Three drivers are already locked in for the next round of the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12. Nine more spots are still left up for grabs heading into the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Those three are the winners of the first two playoff races — Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. — and the regular-season winner — Kyle Larson — who clinched on points at Richmond Raceway last Saturday.
Several drivers are in a pretty good position. Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick all need fewer than 30 points to move on. Chase Elliott and Christopher Bell are both within 40. And if any driver wins who has not already clinched a spot, they’re automatically in.
No active driver has won at Bristol more than Kyle Busch with his three wins.
Sporting News is tracking live updates and lap-by-lap highlights from NASCAR’s playoff race at Bristol. Follow for complete results from the 2021 Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
NASCAR at Bristol live updates, highlights from Bass Pro Shops Night Race
7:51 p.m.: Brad Keselowski, racing up in sixth, says over the radio that he’s feeling good about his car.
7:50 p.m.: Elliott takes the lead on lap seven.
7:48 p.m.: Chase Elliott was aggressive early to move past Denny Hamlin, and he’s now making ground on the leader, Martin Truex Jr., on lap five.
7:48 p.m.: The last Round of 16 race is underway.
7:46 p.m.: NBCSN broadcast says the competition caution will come out at lap 40.
7:38 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. Foundation founder Sherry Pollex gives the command to drivers.
7:35 p.m.: Kids of NASCAR drivers and crew sing the National Anthem ahead of the race.
7:30 p.m.: Pre-race ceremonies underway.
7:15 p.m.: Weather certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue. Drivers have been going through introductions and there are only a few clouds in the sky above the track.
7 p.m.: Bristol Motor Speedway warning fans of severe weather around the area. According to the Weather Channel, scattered thunderstorms are expected leading up to the start of the race, but it looks like the chance of precipitation dips just after the green flag is expected to be waved.
Fans: please be advised of severe weather in the area.
— BristolMotorSpeedway (@BMSupdates) September 18, 2021
NASCAR start time today
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET (TV time)
- TV channel: NBCSN (TSN5 in Canada)
- Live stream: NBCSports.com | NBC Sports App | fuboTV (7-day free trial)
The green flag for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Bristol Motor Speedway’s 0.533-mile oval is scheduled to drop at 7:47 p.m. ET.
Rain could be a factor on race night. The National Weather Service’s Saturday night forecast for Bristol, Tenn., is for possible showers and thunderstorms before 9 p.m. Skies will be mostly cloudy with a low temperature in the low to mid-60s. Winds will be light. The weather service said that there is a 40 percent chance of precipitation.
NASCAR playoff standings
Three drivers are already locked into the Round of 12 heading into the Bristol race. Denny Hamlin was the first when he won the playoff opener at Darlington. Kyle Larson (clinched on points) and Martin Truex Jr. (race winner) followed in the next race at Richmond.
The bottom four non-winning drivers after the Bristol race will be eliminated from the playoffs. The remaining 12 drivers will advance to the Round of 12, which will begin Sept. 26 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
|3||x-Martin Truex Jr.||2113|
x-Clinched berth in Round of 12.
NASCAR starting lineup at Bristol
Here is the complete NASCAR starting lineup for Saturday’s playoff elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
|Start pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||P-Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2||P-Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|3||P-Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|4||P-Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|5||P-Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||P-Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|7||P-Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|8||P-Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|9||P-Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|10||P-Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|11||P-Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|12||P-Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|13||P-Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|14||P-William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|15||P-Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|16||P-Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|17||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|18||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|19||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|20||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|21||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing|
|22||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|23||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|24||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|25||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|26||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|27||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|28||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|29||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|30||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|31||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|32||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|33||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|34||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|35||JJ Yeley||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|36||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||James Davison||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|38||David Starr||66||Motorsports Business Management|