Brad Keselowski Calls His Shot in NASCAR Cup Win; Truck Series Playoff Begins at Bristol

  • Brad Keselowski makes a statement with “called-shot” Playoff victory at Richmond.
  • Friday’s Bristol race will finalize the field for the NASCAR Xfinity Series postseason.
  • Sheldon Creed leads Truck Series drivers into Playoff opener at Thunder Valley.

NASCAR’s top three touring series head for Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, all at different stages of their seasons. The NASCAR Cup Series, with two Playoff races in the books, will eliminate four drivers from its Playoff after Saturday Night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at the .533-mile, high-banked concrete track.

The Xfinity Series will complete its Playoff field on Friday night in the Food City 300. Only one of the 12 postseason berths remains open, and Brandon Brown has the inside track to secure that spot.

Under a modified format that features 10 drivers this season, instead of eight as in years past, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series begins its Playoff on Thursday night with the UNOH 200 at Bristol. After three races in the Round of 10, two drivers will be eliminated.

Brad Keselowski Predicted Victory at Richmond—and Delivered

In the days preceding last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Richmond Raceway, Brad Keselowski asserted in no uncertain terms that he expected to win the event. Sure enough, it was Keselowski who took the checkered flag. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford finished 1.568 seconds ahead of runner-up Martin Truex Jr.

After Saturday night’s race at Thunder Valley, four drivers will be eliminated from the Playoff, but that’s of no concern to Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. Those two Ford drivers already have earned tickets into the Round of 12 by virtue of their respective victories at Richmond and Darlington in the first two races of the Round of 16.

Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto, on the other hand, have every right to be deeply concerned. At the bottom of the Cup standings after disappointing results fraught with mistakes in the first two Playoff events, those two drivers likely face must-win scenarios on Saturday night. That sort of 11th-hour salvation is extremely unlikely, even though both Blaney and DiBenedetto have run well at Bristol in the past.

How to Watch Bass Pro Shops Night Race

Bass Pro Shops Night Race Information
What Bass Pro Shops Night Race (NASCAR Cup Series)
Where Bristol Motor Speedway
When Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. EST
How to Watch NBCSN


Brad Keselowski +600 at DraftKings Sportsbook

NASCAR Xfinity Series Will Complete Playoff Grid at Bristol

Friday night’s Food City 300 will determine the last driver to make the Playoff—but little else. The first 11 spots in the 12-driver Playoff field already are set. Austin Cindric clinched the regular-season title, not to mention the accompanying bonus of 15 Playoff points, in last weekend’s Xfinity doubleheader at Richmond.

For Brandon Brown, on the other hand, Friday’s race is a high-stakes affair. Currently 12th in the Xfinity standings and 49 points ahead of 13th-place Jeremy Clements, Brown can clinch the final Playoff berth if he simply avoids unmitigated disaster and dodges the highly unlikely prospect of a driver below him in the standings winning the race.

It’s far more probable that a JR Motorsports driver will triumph at Bristol. Noah Gragson was a winner at Thunder Valley earlier this season; fellow JRM driver Justin Allgaier is the only other former Bristol winner in the field. Allgaier comes to the vaunted short track on a hot streak, having swept last weekend’s doubleheader at Richmond.

How to Watch Food City 300

Food City 300 Information
What Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race
Where Bristol Motor Speedway
When Friday, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m. EST
How to Watch NBCSN


Justin Allgaier

Sheldon Creed Leads Truck Series Drivers into First Playoff Race

In last Thursday’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Richmond Raceway, Todd Gilliland and Tyler Ankrum clinched the final two spots in the 10-driver Playoff field. Neither driver, however, is better than a 50-50 shot to advance past the Round of 10, based on their respective ninth- and 10th-place seeding in the opening round.

Sheldon Creed is just the opposite. The top-seeded GMS Racing driver has three victories this season, matched only by ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger, who took the checkered flag last Thursday at Richmond. Creed has plenty of friends in the Playoff, too. All three of his GMS teammates—Ankrum, Brett Moffitt, and rookie Zane Smith—also qualified for the postseason.

Moffitt, winless so far this year, triumphed in last year’s Bristol race. He and Johnny Sauter, who failed to make the Playoffs, are the only two former Bristol winners in the field.

How to Watch UNOH 200 Information

UNOH 200 Information
What UNOH 200 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race
Where Bristol Motor Speedway
When Thursday, Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m. EST
How to Watch FS1


Brett Moffitt

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Reid Spencer

Expert on NASCAR

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]