Only three races remain in NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series regular season, and if history holds serve, Bristol Motor Speedway will earn its Thunder Valley moniker as drivers look to make some noise in their final push toward playoff qualification.
It should come as a surprise to no one that Cup Series standings leader Kyle Busch is the heavy favorite to win the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. Busch is an eight-time winner on this track, including three of the last four, and has led a combined 800 laps in his last 10 starts at Bristol.
Denny Hamlin is entering Saturday’s race hot. The No. 11 sits fourth in the standings after quietly putting together four wins this season. Hamlin has finished in the top five in the last five races this season and won on this race back in 2012.
With just three races remaining to make the playoffs, drivers hovering around that magic 16-spot in the standings will be driving aggressively in an effort to pick up a win or more points. Just 22 points separate Ryan Newman in 15th from Jimmie Johnson in 18th, with Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez falling in between. Johnson’s average finish of 7.4 at Bristol over the last 10 races leads all active drivers.
Missing from tonight’s NBC Sports broadcast booth will be Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was involved in a plane crash outside of Bristol on Thursday when his jet slid off the runway upon landing. All five people on board the plane, including Earnhardt’s wife, his daughter and two pilots, survived.
Sporting News is tracking live lap-by-lap updates and highlights from NASCAR’s night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Follow along below.
NASCAR at Bristol: Live updates, highlights from Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
(The green flag is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage will begin at that time.)
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