NASCAR: Kyle Larson Takes Victory, Playoffs Narrowed Down to 12 Racers at Bristol

by Quentin Blount
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NASCAR fans — are we ready for the Round of 12? The field is officially set after Kyle Larson’s victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

Bristol Motor Speedway was the home of an action-packed NASCAR Cup Series Round of 16 elimination race on Saturday. And in the end, Kyle Larson, the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports, came away with his sixth victory of the season. Essentially, that means that the first round of the playoffs has come to a close, and four drivers are now officially eliminated.

Heading into this weekend’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol, there were three drivers who had already clinched a spot in the coveted 12-driver playoff field in the next round. Two of those were teammates Denny Hamlin, the driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Martin Truex Jr. — who drives the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. They both clinched thanks to wins at the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders at Richmond Raceway, respectively.

In addition to Hamlin and Truex Jr., regular-season winner Kyle Larson clinched his spot in the Round of 12 thanks to points at Richmond last Saturday. With that said, the other drivers went into Saturday’s race knowing that three drivers had already clinched spots. That left nine spots still up for grabs at Bristol.

NASCAR Round of 12 Set in Stone

Now that the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol is over and the points have been tallied up, the field for the Round of 12 is officially set.

Kyle Larson led for a race-high 175 of the 500 laps. However, Kevin Harvick battled with him the whole way. He even held the lead at one point after passing Chase Elliott with 35 laps to go. Harvick went on to finish second. William Byron finished in third place and by doing so was able to grab the last transfer spot into the Round of 12. After Larson, Harvick, and Byron, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five in that order.

That means that four drivers will be packing their bags and heading home. Those include Arix Almirola, Tyler Reddick, Kurth Busch, and Michael McDowell. So, if you don’t see your favorite driver in this list, that means that they will be moving on to the Round of 12 to keep competing for a Championship.

The next scheduled NASCAR Cup Series race is the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It’s currently set for Sunday, September 26 at 7. p.m.

It will be airing on NBCSN, the NBC Sports App, PRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

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