At the conclusion of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, four drivers were eliminated from NASCAR Cup Series championship contention.
Below is a breakdown of how each fared Saturday night.
Tyler Reddick (-2 points)
Before the race weekend, Reddick was two points ahead of the cutline.
After starting 17th and earning stage points in Stage 1, involvement in a 12-car crash on lap 277 caused damage to Reddick’s No. 8 Chevrolet. Reddick ultimately finished 25th, 31 laps down.
“A lot of adversity happened to the field, it almost still worked out, but yeah, you can’t have two awful races in any of the rounds,” Reddick said.
For the second straight season, Reddick did not advance past the first round of the playoffs.
Kyle Busch (-2 points)
Busch entered the race two points behind the cutline.
Despite starting 21st, the two-time Cup Series champion earned 14 stage points, between the first two stages.
Yet, an engine issue sidelined Busch after 269 laps, landing Busch a 34th-place finish.
“It just goes with our year, I don’t even know what to say,” Busch said. “I’m flabbergasted. I just feel so bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this spot.
“They work too hard. We are too good of a group to be this low – down on the bottom, fighting for our lives just to make it through. Two engine failures in three weeks, that will do it to you.”
Since NASCAR introduced the 16-driver round-elimination playoff format in 2014, this year marks the first time Busch did not advance past the first round of the playoffs.
Austin Dillon (-11 points)
Dillon was three points behind the cutline at the start of the race.
The Richard Childress Racing driver started 28th, earning three stage points in Stage 2.
Like his teammate Tyler Reddick, Dillon was involved in the 12-car, lap 277 crash. Dillon finished 31st, out of the race, from the extensive damage.
“That was the best car we brought, we put ourselves in a bind after the first two races, brought something we could race today, and felt good about it,” Dillon said. “It’s over… we’ll just try to go win another race.”
Kevin Harvick (-24 points)
Harvick entered the race 35 points behind the cutline and ranked the lowest of the playoff drivers.
Harvick started seventh and raced inside the Top-10 for much of the race. Yet, a sub-par pitstop by his team during the final pitstop cost the No. 4 a Top-5 position on the racetrack and potentially a shot at a victory.
“It sucks not being in control,” Harvick said post-race.
Like Kyle Busch, this year marks the first time Harvick did not advance out of the first round of the playoffs under the current NASCAR Playoffs format.
“It is what it is,” he added.
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