Nashville winners and losers

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A look at the winners and losers from Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway:

WINNERS

Kyle Larson – Has earned three consecutive wins for the first time in his Cup career following his victory on Sunday. In doing so, he’s the first to claim three in a row in Cup since Brad Keselowski in 2018 (Southern 500 at Darlington, Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, playoff opener at Las Vegas).

Ross Chastain – Continued upward trend in recent weeks with a career-best runner-up finish. He’s now posted three top 10s in the last four races. He and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team appear to be building for a run at a playoff berth as the summer continues.

Aric Almirola – Converted a pole position into a season-best fourth-place finish. Comes off a top-10 run in the non-points All-Star Race at Texas. Said Almirola on Sunday: “Confidence is something that comes with results. You can’t fake it, so it’s been nice to have two good weeks now and it certainly makes everybody have a little pep in their step and things are going in the right direction.”

Daniel SuarezFinished seventh to claim the third top 10 of the year for himself and the new Trackhouse Racing. With team owner Justin Marks seeking to move the organization to “Music City” by the 2023 season, Sunday’s effort may have built some early goodwill with the locals.

Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Chris Buescher‘s wreck on Sunday enabled Kurt Busch and Stenhouse to gain ground on him and the 16th-place playoff cut line. Busch (finished eighth Sunday) is within 24 points of Buescher in 17th place. Stenhouse (finished sixth Sunday) is within 43 points of Buescher in 18th place.

LOSERS

Bubba Wallace – A crummy afternoon for Wallace, who brought out two yellows for spins before finishing 20th. After the first spin at Lap 132, Wallace indicated he’d run over rotor parts and admonished what he saw as a lack of track cleaning. The second spin at Lap 218 came following contact with Michael McDowell. It wasn’t the first time they’ve had an on-track clash in Tennessee (see 2020 All-Star Open at Bristol).

Chris Buescher – When a right-front tire failure sent Justin Haley into the wall at Lap 77, Buescher hit debris from Haley’s car and had an immediate cut tire that sent him into the fence and ended his day. Now, Buescher’s hold on the 16th and final playoff position is much more tenuous with nine races left in the regular season.

Ryan Blaney – Brake failure sent him into the wall and out of the race at Lap 55. One of several victimized by brake issues on Sunday, he had to start from the rear when damage to his car’s left rear quarter panel forced him to pit before the green flag for repairs. Blaney’s crash contributed to an off day for Team Penske as a whole. Joey Logano had to grind for a 10th-place finish, while Brad Keselowski was a non-factor in finishing 24th.

Chase Elliott – Not everything went right in the Hendrick Motorsports camp on Sunday. Five loose lug nuts found on Elliott’s car in post-race inspection caused a disqualification for the reigning Cup champion. After initially finishing 13th, he ended up credited with last place in the 39-car field.