Bristol points, results: The first round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs ended with a third consecutive victory by a non-playoff driver as Chris Buescher ended a 222-race winless streak Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It was the first points victory as a team owner for Brad Keselowski, who joined Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing this season. The victory by the No. 17 Ford was the first for the team since July 1, 2017 at Daytona International Speedway with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Buescher, who won for the first time since his Aug. 1, 2016 victory at Pocono Raceway, became the 19th winner in the Cup Series this year, tying a modern-era record set in 2001. The No. 17 Ford driver led a race-high 169 of 500 laps (including the final 61) and won by 0.458 seconds over Chase Elliott.
It’s the first time in NASCAR’s playoff era (which began in 2004) that there have been three consecutive victories by non-playoff drivers.
It’s the first time that Busch and Harvick have been ousted in the first round of the elimination playoff format that started in 2014.
Regular season champion Chase Elliott will enter the second round opener at Texas Motor Speedway with the points lead in the reseeded standings, ahead of Joey Logano, Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and Austin Cindric.