Is there any other way for a race at Bristol to end?
In the final clash of the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 16, several drivers had flat tires and the leaders made contact as the race neared its conclusion, including some crucial bumping between Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick, who were battling for the lead with Kyle Larson. Elliott wound up with a flat and Larson, with help from Elliott’s blocking, wound up passing Harvick with three laps remaining to take the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway to win the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
MORE: Elliott, Harvick get in heated exchanges after race
William Byron, who was fighting for a playoff spot, finished third just behind Harvick, while Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five. Aric Almirola, Tyler Reddick, Kurt Busch and Michael McDowell were eliminated from the Cup Series playoffs.
MORE: Bristol starting lineup
Larson had been in the mix for the top spot all night, finishing second to Denny Hamllin in the first stage and winning the second. He faced challenges late in the third stage as the caution flag was brought out three times in the final 130 laps and he struggled after each restart, but he took advantage of the chaos toward the end and raced past Harvick for the win.
Sporting News tracked 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 updates, highlights from Bass Pro Shops Night Race
(All times Eastern.)
10:59 p.m.: Elliott and Harvick really getting into it on pit road.
10:59 p.m.: Larson wins the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
10:59 p.m.: One lap to go, Larson has the edge.
10:58 p.m.: Larson passed Harvick with three laps to go. Harvick bumps him and is trying to reclaim the lead.
10:57 p.m.: With 10 laps to go, Harvick leads Larson and Byron.
10:53 p.m.: Now Bell has to make a green pit stop.
10:51 p.m.: It’s now Harvick, Larson, Byron in the top three.
10:50 p.m.: Elliott now has a flat tire and has to pit under green.
10:49 p.m.: Busch has moved up a lap by passing Elliott and Harvick. Harvick now fighting with Elliott and takes the top spot.
10:47 p.m.: Kyle Busch has a flat tire. He has plummeted in the playoff standings and is now 11th. He’s two laps down in this race.
10:45 p.m.: Larson has been gaining ground on Elliott and Harvick with 50 laps to go.
10:41 p.m.: It’s Elliott leading over Harvick, Larson, Kyle Busch and Byron with 63 laps to go.
10:38 p.m.: Almirola and Reddick, both fighting for playoff spots, are now in a heated contest for 17th.
10:35 p.m.: Now Elliott clears Larson with 87 laps to go.
10:35 p.m.: Larson is able to hold off a surging Elliott on the restart. He’s been getting off to slow starts on restarts all night, but has held off challengers on the past three green flags.
10:34 p.m.: Green flag is back out. 93 laps to go in Bristol.
10:30 p.m.: Hamlin is off pit road after getting the tire replaced.
10:27 p.m.: Caution flag back out after Larson and Hamlin bump into one another. The right front on Hamlin’s car went down after he bumped Larson trying to move up.
10:26 p.m.: The green flag is back out. Larson leads with Hamlin and Harvick racing right behind him.
10:24 p.m.: Another driver has clinched his spot in the Round of 12.
10:19 p.m.: Houff hits the wall to bring the caution back out. His front right tire looks busted.
10:18 p.m.: Hamlin is riding high as he continues to push Larson for first. Harvick is running third a second behind the leader.
10:15 p.m.: The green flag is back out.
10:14 p.m.: With 130 laps to go, Byron, Kurt Busch, Reddick and McDowell are the four currently out of the playoff picture.
10:11 p.m.: Larson, Hamlin, Harvick and Kyle Busch are the first four off of pit road.
10:09 p.m.: Quin Houff has lost his left rear tire, bringing out the caution flag.
10:04 p.m.: Austin Dillon is now in position for the free pass, taking it away from Kurt Busch.
10:01 p.m.: Harvick gets caught behind David Starr, allowing Larson to move up and take the lead.
9:59 p.m.: Tyler Reddick is about to be put down a lap. That would make things challenging for him as he’s hoping to move on to the next round.
9:55 p.m.: Larson has now moved into third, passing Bell with 183 laps to go.
9:53 p.m.: Harvick finally takes the lead as he passes Blaney from the inside. He’s out in front with 192 laps remaining.
9:50 p.m.: Harvick cuts down low and tries to pin Blaney behind traffic, but Blaney is able to escape with the lead and stay in front.
9:50 p.m.: Harvick has really been pushing Blaney running up high on the track.
9:46 p.m.: Larson has moved back up into fifth with 216 laps to go. He fell behind taking the pit stop under caution after winning the second stage.
9:42 p.m.: Blaney nearly hit the wall, but he saves it to stay out in front. Harvick made up a lot of ground on him, but still Blaney remains in first.
9:41 p.m.: Blaney goes right under Harvick to speed out in front and take the lead. Bell and Truex battling back-and-forth for third.
9:40 p.m.: As the green flag comes back out, it’s Harvick in the lead with Blaney and Bell right behind him.
9:39 p.m.: NBCSN’s broadcast is showing that Harvick, Blaney and Logano have joined Hamlin, Truex and Larson in advancing to the next round of the playoffs.
9:32 p.m.: Larson wins Stage 2 and Hamlin takes second place.
9:32 p.m.: Pit road is now closed with two laps left in the stage.
9:30 p.m.: New tires for Harvick haven’t helped him out. He’s been unable to pass Byron for fifth place as the stage nears its end.
9:28 p.m.: Hamlin is making some contact with the rear bumper of Larson trying to push him for the lead.
9:27 p.m.: Eighteen laps left in Stage 2 as the race is back to green.
9:25 p.m.: Both Larson and Hamlin looked like they might pit, but decided against it last minute. Those two are running at the top with Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Elliott rounding out the top five.
9:22 p.m.: Most cars are staying out, though Kurt Busch, Tyler Reddick and Alex Bowman each take the chance to pit under caution.
9:20 p.m.: Engines have been re-fired as the yellow flag is back out.
9:13 p.m.: The red flag has now been brought out for that crash.
9:11 p.m.: B.J. McLeod and Corey LaJoie are both out.
9:10 p.m.: Pit road hasn’t been opened yet as they work to clear it after the crash.
9:06 p.m.: Big crash on Turn 4 of Lap 220 has collected a number of cars.
9:02 p.m.: Larson is able to coast through the traffic, and Hamlin is trying to go under it to keep pace with him in second.
9:01 p.m.: Ryan Newman is out of the race.
8:59 p.m.: Elliott is all the way up to ninth on Lap 194. He’s made up quite a lot of ground since he was sent to the rear.
8:57 p.m.: Kurt Busch has moved below the cut line with Alex Bowman moving up just above it.
8:55 p.m.: Almirola is able to stay on the lead lap as the green flag comes back out.
8:54 p.m.: Almirola was black-flagged on that trip to pit road.
8:52 p.m.: Instead of going back to green, they’re looking for fluid on the track.
8:50 p.m.: The caution has come back out. Almirola’s car is still smoking after a trip to pit road, with his crew saying that there is a liquid leaking.
8:47 p.m.: Larson, Hamlin, Keselowski, Harvick and Blaney are the first five off pit road.
8:46 p.m.: Here’s a look at the incident that has brought out the caution.
8:43 p.m.: The caution comes out. Smoke coming out of Daniel Suarez’s car, a number of other cars are heading into pit road with damage. Also smoke coming from the back of Aric Almirola’s car.
8:40 p.m.: Elliott has moved back up to 21st on Lap 156, but he’s still a ways back. That speeding penalty dropped him all the way to the back of the field.
8:37 p.m.: Hamlin drives Keselowski up top and moves in ahead for the lead.
8:36 p.m.: Keselowski jumps up to take the lead and Hamlin moves in ahead of Larson as well.
8:34 p.m.: Green flag is back out.
8:32 p.m.: Elliott has been hit with speeding on pit road.
8:31 p.m.: Larson, Elliott, Keselowski, Hamlin and Harvick are the first five off pit road. Hamlin dropping all the way down to fourth after winning the stage.
8:29 p.m.: Coming into the race, Tyler Reddick, William Byron and Michael McDowell needed a lot to happen for them to reach the next round. At the caution, Reddick is in 13th, Byron is in fifth and McDowell is in 20th.
8:25 p.m.: Larson passes Hamlin, but gets caught up in lap traffic. Hamlin retakes the lead as Larson is stuck behind Bubba Wallace. Larson now cutting to the bottom and gets past Wallace, but he can’t get past Hamlin, who wins the Stage 1.
8:25 p.m.: Larson has caught up with Hamlin as only five laps remain in the first stage.
8:17 p.m.: Hamlin stays up high and passes Larson to take the lead. Corey LaJoie, Hamlin and Larson go three-wide at one point on Lap 92.
8:15 p.m.: Elliott gets caught in traffic as Larson makes a move to take the lead. Hamlin takes advantage of some contact made between him and Elliott to move into second.
8:13 p.m.: Larson has been trying to make a move on Elliott for the lead, getting right up behind him at times, but Elliott has been able to keep him at bay as they continue to weave through traffic.
8:12 p.m.: The race for first remains incredibly close on Lap 75. Elliott has held onto his advantage, but Larson and Hamlin are both within two seconds of him.
8:07 p.m.: Logano had some issues on pit road and drops pretty far. He’s riding in 23rd on Lap 58.
8:05 p.m.: The green is back out. Larson immediately jumps past Hamlin for second.
8:01 p.m.: Elliott, Hamlin, Larson, Keselowski and Harvick all stay in the top five coming off pit road.
7:59 p.m.: There’s the competition caution.
7:58 p.m.: Truex has fallen all the way back to 10th, and is facing pressure from Byron.
7:57 p.m.: Kurt Busch, riding in 22nd, is having some issues right now. He needs to perform well in this race to keep his playoff hopes alive.
7:56 p.m.: Hamlin has worked his way back up to second, with Larson right behind him. Competition caution is coming up in seven laps.
7:53 p.m.: Tyler Reddick says that he’s having issues with his radio. Told his crew he can only hear every third word.
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 7.
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 5.
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.: Prerace 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|