CONCORD, N.C. – The middle race of the Round of 16 of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs saw Hendrick Motorsports come away with three top-eight finishes and all four drivers earning no less than 33 points at Kansas Speedway. All four teams are above the cutoff line ahead of Saturday’s night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Alex Bowman led the way for the quartet at Kansas with a fourth-place finish and a race-high 107 laps led on the day. William Byron continued his strong start to the playoffs with a sixth-place run. Defending series champion Kyle Larson placed eighth, while Chase Elliott finished 11th but earned valuable points in both stages one and two.
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Bubba Wallace’s win was the second straight victory for a non-playoff driver. That means that at least 11 drivers will advance to the Round of 12 on points. A win by a playoff driver automatically advances them onto the next round.
Shifting to Bristol, Hendrick Motorsports has 12 wins at the track known as "The Last Great Colosseum." Jeff Gordon has an organization-best five victories and Jimmie Johnson won twice at the .533-mile venue. Larson is the defending race winner, while Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne each have one win at the Tennessee track.
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Get the lowdown on how each of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are positioned heading into the cutoff race of the Round of 16. Be sure to tune in to the race at Bristol on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
William Byron, No. 24
POINTS POSITION: Second with 2,098 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +48
KANSAS RESULT: Sixth
POINTS NEEDED TO CLINCH SPOT IN ROUND OF 12: Eight
BRISTOL OUTLOOK: Byron has one top five and two top 10s in seven starts. Entering last year’s playoff race below the cut line, his third-place finish propelled him into the Round of 12. His points position - and back-to-back top-eight finishes to start the Round of 16 - sets him up to be in a great spot to advance to the next round.
Alex Bowman, No. 48
POINTS POSITION: Sixth with 2,080 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +30
KANSAS RESULT: Fourth – picked up his second stage win of 2022
POINTS NEEDED TO CLINCH SPOT IN ROUND OF 12: 26
BRISTOL OUTLOOK: Bowman has two top fives and three top 10s in 11 starts. His fifth-place run in last year’s playoff race helped move him into the Round of 12. Back-to-back top 10s to open the playoffs have him in strong position to advance.
Chase Elliott, No. 9
POINTS POSITION: Seventh with 2,078 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +28
KANSAS RESULT: 11th
POINTS NEEDED TO CLINCH SPOT IN ROUND OF 12: 28
BRISTOL OUTLOOK: Elliott has three top fives and five top 10s in 11 starts at the Tennessee short track. Over the last six races there, he has 423 laps led – 14% of the laps run in that stretch. He was leading this playoff race last year when contact with Kevin Harvick cut a tire and took him out of contention. The regular-season champion bounced back at Kansas with a strong performance in stages one and two to establish a good position for advancement.
Kyle Larson, No. 5
POINTS POSITION: Eighth with 2,077 points
POSITION TO CUT LINE: +27
KANSAS RESULT: Eighth
POINTS NEEDED TO CLINCH SPOT IN ROUND OF 12: 29
BRISTOL OUTLOOK: Larson is the defending night race winner as this was one of his five playoff race wins in 2021. In 11 starts at the 0.533-mile venue, he has three top fives and eight top 10s with 816 laps led. Over his last seven starts at Bristol, he has finished no worse than ninth once and led over 150 laps three times in that span. A solid showing should place the 30-year-old into the next round.
OVERALL PLAYOFF PICTURE
1-Christopher Bell: 2,108 points
2-William Byron: 2,098 points
3-Denny Hamlin: 2,097 points
4-Joey Logano: 2,090 points
5-Ryan Blaney: 2,086 points
6-Alex Bowman: 2,080 points
7-Chase Elliott: 2,078 points
8-Kyle Larson: 2,077 points
9-Ross Chastain: 2,076 points
10-Daniel Suarez: 2,056 points
11-Tyler Reddick: 2,052 points
12-Austin Cindric: 2,052 points
13-Kyle Busch: 2,050 points
14-Austin Dillon: 2,049 points
15-Chase Briscoe: 2,043 points
16-Kevin Harvick: 2,017 points