Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
top story
AUTO RACING

Buescher wins Bristol; Harvick, Busch, RCR out of playoffs

  • Updated
  • 0
NASCAR Bristol Auto Racing

Chris Buescher celebrates in victory lane after winning Saturday's Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Chris Buescher closed out a bizarre first round of NASCAR's playoffs in which none of the title contenders won a race by becoming the 19th winner this season with his victory Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The second win of Buescher's career marked the first time in this format of NASCAR's postseason that a playoff driver failed to win a race during a round. Erik Jones won the opener and Bubba Wallace won last week.

Buescher won for RFK Racing, the longtime Jack Roush-owned team that took on Brad Keselowski in the ownership group this season, to give the organization its first win in a points-paying Cup race in over five years. Buescher and Keselowski both won a pair of exhibition races for RFK at Daytona in February.

“This is so special, this team does such a good job,” said Buescher, who won with a late call for two tires on the final pit stop. “It's special to get RFK into victory lane for the first time.”

Keselowski, who left a long successful career at Team Penske to become an owner and driver at rebranded RFK, won the first stage for his first stage victory of the season. He congratulated Buescher both on-track and in victory lane.

It was the first points-paying win for RFK since Daytona in 2017, and the first non-superspeedway win on an oval since Carl Edwards won at Bristol in 2014.

The showdown on the Bristol short track was the first elimination race of NASCAR's playoffs and it was a nail-biter to the very end as at least a dozen of the 16 title contenders had some sort of problem. There was a rash of flat tires for Ford drivers, mechanical problems for Toyota, an engine failure for Kyle Busch and Richard Childress Racing's two drivers were both involved in a crash.

The 16-driver field was cut by four, and eliminated from the playoffs were Kevin Harvick, Busch and RCR teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick.

Harvick, Busch and Dillon were all below the cutline headed into the race, but Harvick had a shot at the win until a wheel fell off his Ford during the final pit stop. He'd inherited a near-clear path to the victory — and an automatic berth into the next round — when Keselowski got a flat tire and hit the wall while leading.

Austin Cindric barely advanced because he was one of the early Ford drivers to run into trouble with a flat tire. There was a rash of tire problems for Ford drivers, and it would have eliminated many of them if so many playoff drivers didn't have problems.

Among those who had no problems were Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron, who finished second and third in Chevrolets.

Christopher Bell finished fourth in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and was followed by Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain of Trackhouse Racing. Non-playoff drivers AJ Allmendinger and Cole Custer finished seventh and eighth.

The 19 winners in a season has been done a record four other times in NASCAR history.

BIZARRE END FOR BUSCH

Kyle Busch won't race for a third championship in his final season with Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch closed a wild week in which he announced he was leaving JGR to drive for Richard Childress Racing, then went to Bristol desperately trying to stay in title contention.

But his engine seemed to fail just past the halfway mark and Busch bounced off the wall, then drove his Toyota to the garage and walked back to his truck. He never removed his helmet.

“I don’t even know what to say. I’m flabbergasted,” Busch said. “I just feel so bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this spot, we’re too good of a group to be this low down on the bottom and fighting for our lives just to make it through. But two engine failures in three weeks, that will do it to you.

“This is not our normal.”

It seemed certain Busch had been eliminated from the playoffs until the next restart and Daniel Suarez triggered a crash that also caused damage to contenders Dillon and Reddick. Like Busch, Dillon went to Bristol below the cutline and in danger of elimination.

The crash gave new hope to Busch, but he said he wasn’t sticking around to find out if he advanced. He said once released of his NASCAR obligations, he was headed back to North Carolina: “I’ve got kids at home,” Busch said.

Busch wound up 34th and was eliminated.

UP NEXT

The opening race of the second round of the playoffs is Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Blaney won the All-Star race there in May, and Larson won the playoff race there last season when Texas opened the third round and Larson's victory earned him an automatic berth in the championship finale.

0 Comments
* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Tennessee authorities say they have found a man suspected of driving into and over a police officer, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, initial reports show a Collierville Police Department officer found a car early Saturday believed to be involved in a Shelby County shooting. The agency says the man drove into the officer, forcing him onto the vehicle's hood. Citing preliminary reports, the agency says the driver ran over the officer as he left. Authorities say the officer fired at the man at some point, though it's unclear if the shots struck the driver. Authorities found the suspect named as Keith Houston Jr. on Saturday morning.

A federal judge on Friday ordered Alabama to preserve all records and medical supplies associated with an aborted lethal injection after the state acknowledged multiple attempts to access the inmate’s veins before calling off the execution. U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. issued the order at the request of the inmate’s lawyers who are trying to gather more information about what happened during Alabama’s attempt to execute Alan Miller, 57.  The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to proceed shortly after 9 p.m. The state said it halted the execution at about 11:30 p.m.

The new chief at the Food and Drug Administration's tobacco center has inherited a raft of problems. Brian King joined the division tasked with regulating cigarettes, vaping products and other forms of nicotine in July. The agency is struggling to review a backlog of electronic cigarettes, which have contributed to a rise in underage vaping. It is also working to implement a long-delayed plan to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. King wants to exploit the potential for e-cigarettes to serve as as a less harmful alternative to smoking while at the same time prevent teen use.

State Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto has been removed from his position as chairman of the New Mexico Finance Authority interim committee. Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart announced the move Saturday, citing sexual harassment allegations against him. Stewart has appointed Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, to replace Ivey-Soto on the committee. Stewart says it would be inappropriate for Ivey-Soto to remain in a position of authority “until the allegations are fully, fairly and transparently resolved.” Stewart also wants Ivey-Soto to step down from the Senate Rules Committee, the panel he leads during formal legislative sessions. However, she doesn’t have the power to remove him from that post unilaterally. Ivey-Soto has denied the harassment allegations.

Authorities in southern New Jersey say at least two people were killed amid multiple crashes at a pop-up car rally over the weekend. NJ.com reports that Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron told NJ Advance Media on Sunday that there were a series of car crashes related to the “unsanctioned” car meet-up event. Byron said the two victims “were in a golf cart” but weren’t believed to be part of the event. No further information about the crash or the victims was available. Officials had issued warnings earlier about what they called an unsanctioned car rally separate from the Fall Classic Car Show taking place in the city.

Authorities say a veteran Los Angeles County deputy probation officer was killed in what investigators believe was a random attack inside her Southern California home over the weekend. Investigators have not been able to determine the identity of the suspect and prosecutors on Tuesday filed charges against him in a “John Doe” complaint in the slaying of Paula Lind in her Lancaster home. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Lind was a 16-year veteran of the LA County Probation Department.

Four people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their roles in absentee ballot fraud in rural North Carolina during the 2016 and 2018 elections. These convictions Monday stemmed from an investigation that in part resulted in a do-over congressional election. The defendants were associated with Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative in Bladen County whom authorities called the ringleader of the ballot scheme. Dowless died this year before his case went to trial. The State Board of Elections has ordered a new election for the 2018 9th Congressional District because of all the fraud allegations. Cases against six other defendants are pending.

A federal judge has barred Delaware from enforcing prohibitions on the manufacture and possession of homemade “ghost guns” that can’t be traced by law enforcement officials because they don’t have serial numbers. Friday’s ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by gun-rights advocates after Democratic Gov. John Carney signed a law criminalizing the possession, manufacture and distribution of such weapons and unfinished components. The judge denied a motion by Democratic state Attorney General Kathleen Jennings to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge said that without an injunction, the plaintiffs would face irreparable harm and are threatened by criminal penalties if they engage in conduct protected by the Second Amendment.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert