What drivers said after Bristol Motor Speedway

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In a race that concluded nearly 24 hours after it was scheduled to begin, Kevin Harvick emerged Sunday night as the winner at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Here’s some of what drivers said after the 23rd Sprint Cup race of the 2016 season:

Harvick — Finished first: “We should have won a lot of races this year but we just had things not go our way. We made mistakes, or whatever the case may be. But to get back into victory lane here at Bristol feels really good. We’ve had some good cars here over the last few years. And to have Busch Beer on the car; we’ve had crummy luck with these guys on the car and so I’m just really happy for Busch and Jimmy John’s and really proud of these guys on the No. 4 team. … We knew we had the performance that we needed to have in the cars pretty much every week. And it’s been one of those deals where things have just not gone exactly right. But to have the win now and just try to get that momentum before we get into the Chase and get things rolling is really what we needed.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished second: “It wasn’t from a lack of hard work and being lucky a few times. We really wanted to get this Bryan Clauson tribute car in victory lane. It just wasn’t meant to be today. We made our car a lot faster throughout the race and came from two laps down to get back on the lead lap. We missed some wrecks and gave it all we had. I thought we were matching (Harvick) lap for lap, but he got away from us and we had to restart sixth there on that last restart, but it was an honor to drive this car. All of the fans that came out this weekend. This place was pretty packed last night. Thanks to all the fans that were able to stay around. I thought the track was really good. You could run the bottom. You could run the top.  We just wanted one more spot …  That’s all we can think about is getting ourselves a win.  We’ve been OK at Michigan. We had a flat tire. We’ve been OK at Darlington and Richmond even, so we’ve got to keep our confidence in our ability to make sure we’re making all the good changes and not making mistakes, and staying with it throughout the race like we did right there. We really wanted to get that win this time at Bristol. We knew this was probably our best shot. We just struggled all weekend. It was a tough weekend from an emotional side and out here driving this race car and getting it fast, but thanks to all the hard work from my guys we were able to salvage a really good finish.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished third: “We had a great car. We definitely got it a lot better there at the end and proud that we’re able to come back from two laps down and get a good finish out of it, but still a good overall day for our FedEx Express Camry. Just came up a little short … I feel good. We didn’t have a race-winning car today, to be honest with you – our balance was off a little bit – so I think we maximized our day to be honest. I would have loved to race on straight up tires there, but we had to do some strategy there to get our track position back, so it was a very par day for us.”

Austin Dillon — Finished fourth: “Well, it was challenging for our Dow Chevy. We really didn’t have a car capable of winning the race, I don’t think. We just struggled. My arms are worn out; I know that. But I’m proud of the adjustments the guys made. One heck of a pit stop. My guys really helped us out with that and gained us some spots there to have that outside restart. And, it was fun there, you could tell I was a little tighter than (Kevin) Harvick there on the bottom, so I got to him there. Early in the run he jumped to the top and pulled me. It was fun here at Bristol, today. I’m glad that Bristol tried to get that bottom (lane) working. I think we can do a little bit more for it because that top is going to be dominant as it runs. It was a fun race. We had to adjust the car to get it free from the top and then back to tight on the bottom. So, a lot of chasing grip. It was fun racing, man. It reminded me of the dirt days just trying to chase that grip, what we call brown, now it’s black. It was a lot of fun. I’ve got to thank the good Lord for keeping us out of all those wrecks. We dodged some big ones today. It was a solid points day. I’m just really happy.”

Chris Buescher — Finished fifth: “That was a lot of fun. It’s been a long time since we’ve come to the race track and enjoy it like that. We had awesome speed out of our Love’s Ford Fusion. I’m really proud of the team. This thing was good from the start of the weekend. We kept working our way up towards the end and got to the top five, and almost got one there at the end, but I love Bristol. I absolutely love this racetrack. What they did with the surface worked out really well and made for some really good racing. I don’t know exactly where we’re at quite yet, but I know we had to get there.  That’s Chase eligibility in one race out of the four we had to do it. Now, we have to hold onto it. I’m really proud of this team. Our Love’s Ford Fusion had great speed this weekend. We’re looking forward to the next handful of races.  We’ve got some really good tracks for us coming up. We knew Bristol would be a good one for us. It took us a day later to do it, but we got ourselves a top-five and had a blast out here. That was an awesome run.”

Carl Edwards — Finished sixth: “My guys did a great job. We didn’t quit and dodged some wrecks, but, man, just a really fun race. The first half – just racing up there for the lead with Kyle (Busch) and Kevin (Harvick) – that was the most fun I’ve had in a race car in a long time. That was really cool.”

Jimmie Johnson — Finished seventh: “We were up to third before the red (flag) came.  Our car just wasn’t good on a green racetrack. It didn’t matter if it was the start of the weekend, the start of the race after the red flag for the rain and when the jet dryers came out and blew all the rubber off we just couldn’t go. Our car was super-fast about 30, 40 laps into a run. Unfortunately, we lost some track position on that final restart and just kind of sailed home for seventh there at the end. Certainly, overcame a lot this weekend so that does feel good just wished we would have finished a little better.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished ninth: “It was a hard-fought day. We were just trying to get on either end of being a little bit too tight, a little bit too loose. I thought we had kind of got in the happy medium. We made the car as good as it could be with what we had right there. Just tricky racetrack today. At one point you would get the bottom rolling and think that is pretty good and then it goes away and try to find out how to run the top. We weren’t as good on the top and then I kind of figured something out late, but just a tricky race track, hard fought. A little bit fortunate to miss a couple of those crashes. I wish we would have had about 15 more laps at the end because I thought I had figured something out, but it is what it is, a top 10. We’ve had some days where we feel like we should have gotten more and gotten stolen from us.  We will take a day like this.”

Joey Logano — Finished 10th: “It was eventful Bristol. It seems like at this race track there’s always something that happens. Whether it’s on the team side or the driver’s side it seems like that happens a lot at this race track. There was a point during the race at about Lap 400 where we got to the lead with the Shell/Pennzoil Ford and we were fast. The race track was where we thought it would be and everything was kind of working as planned, and the next thing you know the 41 spun and we got some damage from that. We pitted for that and had a lugnut off the left-rear, so we came in to fix that, and then it rained and the track just changed.  After it rained everything changed and the car wasn’t as fast. We got back up to 10th and I thought we were gonna drive to fifth on that last run because we were really fast the run before when the track was rubbered up, but once it cleaned up we just lost a little bit of speed … We overcame a lot. I guess that’s the positive and the bright side of it. I just kind of look at all the fireworks going off in victory lane and think about that a little bit more.”

Jeff Gordon — Finished 11th after rebounding from an early slip: “I went up top too early on that restart.  I felt the pressure from Kyle (Busch) and those guys behind me they were a little bit better than me on that short run there. I was trying to make something happen and I moved up and just didn’t work. I got too high and got loose and lost a bunch of positions. We fought back a little bit, but I don’t know after that I don’t know if it was track position or just the way the track went we just never quite had a handle on it. (on the track changes) It was interesting. It made it pretty challenging on the restarts. It helped a little bit with lapped traffic. You could at least go down there and hook the bottom for one lap, but if they truly want to have a bottom groove, call me. I will tell them how to do it.”

Tony Stewart — Finished 30th: “I would have liked to have done it last night, but I’m glad we got this in. I’m appreciative to the fans that stayed last night. I know it’s taxing on a lot of them, but we appreciate the fact that they stayed to watch. (On doing a celebratory burnout with Harvick) That is cool.  The funny part is he got out of his car, got the flag and then he goes ‘get in my car and go to Victory Lane with me.’  I went what?  He goes ‘yeah, just leave yours here.’ I’m like I just can’t just leave my car there, but that was cool. I’m happy for these guys.  This is a hard place to win at. There are so many things that can go wrong. All it takes is one thing. I mean we had a wheel that was loose and that messed our whole day up. That was cool sharing that moment with him though. (On his last race at Bristol) Well, I will see it in the spring. I will be back here. I just won’t wear a helmet when I come back here. It is cool. This place is so much fun. I told myself the last 10 laps we weren’t racing anybody, there wasn’t anybody around us, I said, just enjoy these last 10 and just savor the moment and think about it. So, that is what I did, I really thought about what I was doing those last 10 laps and kind of soaked it all in.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 33rd after crashing with Kurt Busch: “Something happened (and Busch) got loose. By the time I saw it, I was already making contact with him.  It was kind of one of those Bristol things. I hate it because we were making improvements on the car, and we had gotten up to third there and the race was kind of coming to us. We were just trying to run smart, but a bummer of an ending for the Autotrader Ford. We had a lot of short-run speed, and we were hoping the race would play out that way at the end and we would have had a shot at it, if that was the case, but instead we’re here in the garage. We’ll try to get a finish out of it, but a bummer day for us.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 35th after crash: “I don’t know what happened. I was watching the replay, and somebody got loose. We were trying to make ground on the top and before I knew it (Matt Kenseth) was sitting sideways in front of me, and I hit him pretty hard. It’s unfortunate. We had a really good car early and lost some spots on pit road being in bad spots and kind of lost our car a little bit halfway through, but got it back and thought we were just starting to make ground up and got in that wreck … It stinks. We were fast all weekend and this was one of the best weekends that we’ve had. There were a couple of rough spots and unfortunately it ended rough, but we’ll just have to go on to next week. That’s all.”

Matt Kenseth — Finished 37th after crash: “I didn’t really see what happened except for there was cars wrecking up there, and I slowed down as much as the guy in front of me. I couldn’t slow down any less than that or I would hit him. Chase (Elliott) bust out of nowhere, ran me over and (Ryan Blaney) came through there wide open – I still don’t know if he’s lifted yet or not – and finished us off. As the wreck happened, you’ve got to slow down. Just not much I could do.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 38th after causing a multicar crash while leading: “I think I just missed the bottom groove by a few inches, got loose and the wreck was on. The way that our car was restarting it felt comfortable, it felt good. That inside with the resin and the VHT if you don’t hit it exactly right you lose a lot of time. I tried to make up for it and got loose. I feel really bad for the Monster Energy guys. We had a win in our sights and I just drove the car at 101 percent instead of that 99 … It was neat to run the high groove. It was its normal self. The low groove helped on restarts. I just over pushed the groove by a few inches. When you miss your line on a VHT/rosin grip level you go for a ride.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 39th after crashing because of a parts failure: “We’ve been having parts failures here, so something we’ve got to address and fix. I’m really tired of losing races here with parts falling apart, so they’ll hear about it on Tuesday (in Joe Gibbs Racing’s weekly competition meeting) … It finally did break and it was breaking, but it finally did break and I couldn’t hold onto it there and it spun out and then spun out the wrong way and it’s frustrating. We’ve had really, really fast race cars here. The guys do a great job setting them up, but, man, we’ve got parts failures, you know? You can’t have parts failures in this business. That’s stupid. My Camrys have been fast. We’ve just got to stop making stupid mistakes that take us out of races.”

Justin Allgaier – Finished 40th after running into Kyle Busch in crash: “I was trying to let the leaders go as best I could. We were a couple laps down right there and let them go. (Joey Logano) ducked in front of me getting into (Turn) 1 and I had to jam on the brakes pretty hard. I got really loose and I was just trying to catch it. That is when the spotter was telling me that (Kyle Busch) was spinning and he kept rolling down the hill so at first I committed to go below him because I was already on the bottom and then he was still coming down the hill, so I tried to go out around the outside of him and unfortunately I just didn’t make it. (Logano) was right there and just really a shame. I hate it for these guys. This Pilot Flying J No. 46 team they did a good job all day. We weren’t up there battling for the lead, but we had a good solid day going. I just cost us a decent finish. Thanks to them for letting me drive the car today. Sorry to Kyle. That is the worst possibly scenario when the leader spins out and you hit them. Just really frustrating.”

Saturday Cup race at Bristol: Start time, TV channel

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Four drivers will be eliminated from the Cup playoffs after Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

This marks the first time the track has been in the playoffs. The Saturday Cup race at Bristol will end the first round. The 16-driver field will be cut to 12.

William Byron (3 points behind the cutline), Cole Custer (-8), Matt DiBenedetto (-25) and Ryan Blaney (-27) are the four drivers out of a playoff spot. Clint Bowyer holds the final transfer spot.

Here is all the info for the Saturday Cup race at Bristol:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines is at 7:38 p.m. The green flag waves at 7:45 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup haulers enter the garage (screening and equipment unload) at 10:30 a.m. Garage access health screening begins at 12:30 p.m. Garage opens at 12:30 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 7:10 p.m. Driver introductions will be at 7:15 p.m. The invocation is at 7:30 p.m. The national anthem will be performed by Joe Nichols, three-time Grammy nominee, at 7:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 500 laps (266.5 miles) around the .533-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 125. Stage 2 ends on Lap 250

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m with NASCAR America, followed by Countdown to Green at 7 p.m. Race coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

STREAMING: Watch the race on the NBC Sports App

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 62 degrees and a 3% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Brad Keselowski won at Richmond. Martin Truex Jr. finished second. Joey Logano placed third for the second race in a row.

LAST POINTS RACE AT BRISTOL: Brad Keselowski won in May after Denny Hamlin lost the lead when he hit the wall. Chase Elliott ran into Joey Logano as they battled for the lead late in the event.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Cup starting lineup

CATCH UP ON NBC SPORTS’ COVERAGE:

Bubble drivers brace for Bristol battle

Pit crew change for teams of Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson

Friday 5: The thin line between aggressive and dirty driving

Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Blaney seek NASCAR history to advance

What upcoming Cup playoff races NASCAR fans can attend

Trevor Bayne says the fire remains to run more races

Cup playoff clinching scenarios to make Round of 12

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The first elimination race of the Cup playoffs has arrived in the form of Bristol Motor Speedway.

Tonight’s 500-lap race on the short track will determine which drivers make up the Round of 12.

Three drivers have locked themselves into the second round. Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski earned their spots via race wins at Darlington and Richmond. Denny Hamlin clinched a spot via points.

More: Brad Keselowski on pole for Bristol

That leaves nine spots for 13 drivers to compete for.

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 10th winless driver in the standings.

Joey Logano – would clinch with 7 points: 51 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Logano has finished third in the last two playoff races (at Darlington and Richmond). Has made 23 starts at Bristol posting one pole, two wins, six top fives and 10 top 10s. Logano’s average finish is 15.3.

Martin Truex Jr. – would clinch with 20 points: 38 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Earned 22nd-place finish at Darlington and second-place finish at Richmond. Has made 29 series starts at Bristol posting two top fives and three top 10s. His average finish is 20.6.

Austin Dillon – would clinch with 21 points: 36 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Dillion has a runner-up finish at Darlington and a fourth-place result last weekend at Richmond. Has 13 starts at Bristol posting one top five and three top 10s. His average finish is 17.3.

Chase Elliott – Would clinch with 30 points: 28 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Elliott finished 20th at Darlington and fifth at Richmond. Has made nine starts at Bristol and has one pole, three top fives and four top 10s. Average finish is 12.6.

Alex Bowman – would clinch with 31 points: 27 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Bowman placed sixth at Darlington and ninth at Richmond. Has made nine series starts at Bristol with one top five and two top 10s. His average finish is 22.6.

Kyle Busch – would clinch with 40 points: Just 18 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Has seventh-place finish at Darlington and a sixth-place finish at Richmond. Has made 30 Cup starts at Bristol posting two poles and a series-leading eight wins among active drivers.

Aric Almirola – would clinch with 51 points: Seven points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Finished ninth at Darlington and eighth at Richmond. Has made 22 starts at Bristol with one top five and two top 10s. His average finish is 25.0.

Kurt Busch – would clinch with 51 points: Seven points ahead of the cutoff sport. Almirola holds the tiebreaker of best finish in the current playoff round. Busch has finished eighth at Darlington and 13th at Richmond. Has 39 Cup starts at Bristol with one pole, six wins, 12 top fives and 21 top 10s. Average finish is 14th.

Clint Bowyer – would clinch with 55 points: Three points over cutoff. Finished 10th at Darlington and Richmond. Bowyer has made 29 Cup starts at Bristol with eight top fives and 16 top 10s. Average finish is 13.6.

William Byron (-3 points from cutoff; would need help to clinch): Finished fifth at Darlington and 21st at Richmond. Five Cup starts at Bristol with one top 10. Average finish of 17.2.

Cole Custer (-8 points; would need help to clinch): Finished 12th at Darlington and 14th at Richmond. Finished 25th in lone Bristol Cup start.

Matt DiBenedetto (-25 points; would need help to clinch): Finished 21st at Darlington and 17th at Richmond. Eleven Cup starts at Bristol with one top five and one top 10. Average finish of 19.1.

Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney is last on the 16 driver playoff grid heading into Bristol. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Ryan Blaney (-27 points; would need help to clinch): Finished 24th at Darlington and 19th at Richmond. Ten Cup starts at Bristol with one top five and three other top 10s. Average finish of 20.7.

More: Blaney and DiBenedetto seek history to advance to second round

Should there be a repeat winner Saturday – Harvick or Keselowski – the following drivers would advance to the next round by being ahead of the 11th winless driver in the standings.

Joey Logano: Would clinch with 4 points

Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 17 points

Austin Dillon: Would clinch with 18 points

Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 27 points

Alex Bowman: Would clinch with 28 points

Kyle Busch: Would clinch with 37 points

Aric Almirola: Would clinch with 48 points

Kurt Busch: Would clinch with 48 points

Clint Bowyer: Would clinch with 52 points

William Byron: Would clinch with 55 points

Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help

Xfinity race results, point standings after Bristol

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Chase Briscoe led the final six laps and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol for his seventh win of the season.

Briscoe beat Ross Chastain for the win. The top five was completed by Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

Click here for the race results.

Playoff standings

The 12-driver field for the playoffs has been set with Briscoe’s win in the regular-season finale.

Brandon Brown placed 12th and clinched the 12th and final spot.

Here are the re-seeded point standings entering the playoffs.

Chase Briscoe – 2,050 points

Austin Cindric – 2,050

Justin Allgaier – 2,033

Noah Gragson – 2,025

Brandon Jones – 2,020

Justin Haley – 2,018

Harrison Burton – 2,014

Ross Chastain – 2,010

Ryan Sieg – 2,002

Michael Annett – 2,002

Riley Herbst – 2,001

Brandon Brown – 2,000

Click here for the re-seeded standings.

Click here for the normal point standings.

Chase Briscoe wins Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Chase Briscoe took the lead with six laps to go and won Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which marked the end of the regular season.

Briscoe passed Austin Cindric to assume the lead and went unchallenged to the checkered flag. The victory is his series-leading seventh of the season.

“I was so mad after last week (at Richmond),” Briscoe told NBCSN. “I told all the guys there ain’t no way we’re getting beat today. I was so mad after how we ran last week and I get on the internet all the time and see guys count us out after one bad race and I know what this team is capable. … I finished second here the last two races and I wanted to win here so bad and it’s awesome that I can actually celebrate it with all these race fans.”

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Justin Allgaier.

More: Race results, playoff standings

Allgaier dominated the early portion of the race, leading 126 laps and winning the first two stages. But he lost the lead for good in the pits during the Stage 2 break.

Brandon Brown finished 12th and clinched the 12th and final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ross Chastain led three times for 117 laps, but had to settle for his fifth runner-up finish of the season without a win … Austin Cindric earned his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races … Harrison Burton earned his 13th top five of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brett Moffitt finished 27th after he had to pit three times in the opening laps and was penalized for taking fuel before the competition caution … BJ McLeod finished 34th after he was eliminated in a multi-car wreck that began when he made contact with teammate Jeffrey EarnhardtMichael Annett finished 31st and Joe Graf Jr. placed 27th after they were involved in an incident on Lap 120.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “I hit pit road and I wanted to cry.” – Ross Chastain after he finished second for the fifth time this year. He is winless entering the playoffs.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity playoffs open at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 26 on NBCSN.