NASCAR at Bristol: Entry list, watch info, playoff picture, drivers to watch

Four drivers will be eliminated from the NASCAR playoffs this weekend at Bristol

Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s elimination time at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR playoffs continue on Saturday with the final race in the Round of 16, as four drivers will be eliminated from championship contention after the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. Two spots in the Round of 12 are already locked up, but 14 drivers are still fighting for the final 10 spots in the next round.

Bristol is one of the most legendary tracks in NASCAR, with the first night race being held in 1978. The half-mile, high-banked oval – known as “The Last Great Colosseum” – is a track where all drivers covet the iconic victory gladiator sword.

Here’s everything you need to know for the 2023 Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol:

What is the NASCAR at Bristol entry list?

Thirty-six drivers will race at Bristol. The 32 full-timers will all compete, plus four others.

Three of those four are veterans who race part-time – Ryan Newman, J.J. Yeley and B.J. McLeod. Additionally, Truck Series regular Carson Hocevar will make his fourth career Cup start.

Here’s the full entry list for Bristol (car numbers, driver names, team names and sponsors):

  • No. 1, Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, Worldwide Express
  • No. 2, Austin Cindric, Team Penske, Menards
  • No. 3, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, Bass Pro Shops
  • No. 4, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, GearWrench
  • No. 5, Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Valvoline
  • No. 6, Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing, Castrol Edge
  • No. 7, Corey LaJoie, Spire Motorsports, NEGU
  • No. 8, Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing, Cheddar’s/Alsco
  • No. 9, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NAPA Gold Filters
  • No. 10, Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, Smithfield/IHOP
  • No. 11, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx
  • No. 12, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Advance Auto Parts
  • No. 14, Chase Briscoe, Stewart-Haas Racing, Rush Truck Centers
  • No. 15, J.J. Yeley, Rick Ware Racing, Steakhouse Elite Burgers
  • No. 16, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, Barger Precast
  • No. 17, Chris Buescher, RFK Racing,
  • No. 19, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops
  • No. 20, Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Reser’s Fine Foods
  • No. 21, Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Motorcraft/Quick Lane
  • No. 22, Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell/Pennzoil
  • No. 23, Bubba Wallace, 23XI Racing, Columbia Sportswear
  • No. 24, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Relay Payments
  • No. 31, Justin Haley, Kaulig Racing, Mountain Dew
  • No. 34, Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, Love’s Travel Stops
  • No. 38, Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, Speedy Cash
  • No. 41, Ryan Preece, Stewart-Haas Racing, Operating Engineers
  • No. 42, Carson Hocevar, Legacy Motor Club, Sunseeker Resort
  • No. 43, Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club, U.S. Air Force
  • No. 45, Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing, Jordan Brand
  • No. 47, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Scott Brand
  • No. 48, Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Ally Financial
  • No. 51, Ryan Newman, Rick Ware Racing, Biohaven/Jacob Co.
  • No. 54, Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy
  • No. 77, Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge
  • No. 78, B.J. McLeod, Live Fast Motorsports,
  • No. 99, Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing, Aerial Recovery

When is the NASCAR race this weekend at Bristol?

The Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol is set for Saturday, Sept. 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Before the race, there will be practice and qualifying sessions. The 36-car field will be split into two groups, with each group practicing for 20 minutes on Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Qualifying will start immediately after practice, around 5:20 p.m. ET. Each car from the two practice groups will make two laps in the first round, with the five fastest cars on single-lap speed in each group advancing to the final round. In the final round, the remaining drivers each get two laps to set the top 10 starting order, while positions 11 through 36 are set based on first round times.

NASCAR TV schedule this weekend at Bristol

Friday, Sept. 15 (USA Network and streaming online)

Saturday, Sept. 16 (USA Network, Peacock and streaming online)

NASCAR playoff standings entering Bristol, clinching scenarios

Larson and Reddick are the only two drivers locked into the Round of 12 based on their wins at Darlington and Kansas, respectively.

That leaves 14 drivers fighting to advance in this race, the final event in the Round of 16. Drivers can move on by either winning at Bristol or not being one of the bottom four drivers in the standings.

Beyond Larson and Reddick, several drivers can clinch a spot in the Round of 12 at Bristol – regardless of what all of their competitors do. Hamlin, Byron and Keselowski are in the best position, while the regular season champion Truex, Wallace, Stenhouse and McDowell are in danger.

Here’s the playoff standings and clinching scenarios entering Bristol (clinching scenarios will change throughout the race depending on stage points):

1. Kyle Larson, clinched with win at Darlington

2. Tyler Reddick, clinched with win at Kansas

3. Denny Hamlin, +49 points above the cut line

  • Clinches with 14 points (23rd with no stage points)

4. William Byron, +41 points

  • Clinches with 22 points (15th with no stage points)

5. Brad Keselowski, +33 points

  • Clinches with 30 points (7th with no stage points)

6. Ryan Blaney, +25 points

  • Clinches with 38 points (needs stage points)

7. Kyle Busch, +24 points

  • Clinches with 39 points (needs stage points)

8. Ross Chastain, +18 points

  • Clinches with 45 points (needs stage points)

9. Chris Buescher, +13 points

  • Clinches with 50 points (needs stage points)

10. Christopher Bell, +13 points

  • Clinches with 50 points (needs stage points)

11. Joey Logano, +12 points

  • Clinches with 51 points (needs stage points)

12. Kevin Harvick, +7 points

13. Martin Truex Jr., -7 point below the cut line

14. Bubba Wallace, -19 points

15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., -22 points

16. Michael McDowell, -40 points

You can find a full explanation of NASCAR’s playoff format right here.

NASCAR Bristol past winners, race history

When the Cup Series rolls into Bristol, one driver stands out above the rest: Kyle Busch. The two-time Cup champion has eight wins at the track, which is the fifth-most ever behind Hall of Famers Darrell Watrip (12), Dale Earnhardt (9), Rusty Wallace (9) and Cale Yarborough (9).

Keselowski and Harvick have three Bristol wins apiece, while Logano and Hamlin have each won twice. Things have changed in the last two years, though, with Larson (2021) and Buescher (2022) winning for the first time at Bristol.

NASCAR at Bristol favorites, drivers to watch

Bristol usually isn’t a place for surprise winners – until last year. Buescher’s victory was just the second of his career and first in over six years. That race was a launching point for Buescher, who has three wins in 2023 and is now a serious championship contender.

It’s hard to see a shocker happening twice in as many years, so let’s get into the usual Bristol contenders. Busch, as aforementioned, has dominated with eight wins, 19 top-10s and 2,592 laps led (!) in 33 career starts. Harvick (1,209) and Keselowski (1,013) have both led over 1,000 laps at Bristol, too.

Outside of those three, the drivers with the best average finishes at Bristol include Elliott (12.3 in 12 starts), Larson (12.8 in 14 starts), Jones (13.3 in 10 starts) and Hamlin (14.3 in 32 starts).

What is the weather for Bristol, Tenn., this weekend?

NBC Washington is predicting ideal weather conditions for racing this weekend. There’s just a 9% chance of rain on Friday and a 15% chance on Saturday, with mostly sunny skies both days and nighttime temperatures in the low-70s and high-60s. Keep up to date with the latest forecast right here.

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