Holding off the field for 57 laps following the final restart and taking the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway, RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher snapped the longest active winless streak in the series at 223 races and became the 19th different winner of the season. As a result, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is now tied with the 1956, 1958, 1961 and 2001 seasons for the series-most different winners in a single season at 19 each. If this year were to see another different winner in these final seven races, then the 2022 season would become the sole leader in the NASCAR Cup Series in the number of different winners in a single season at 20.
The Bristol victory was the first points-paying race win for RFK Racing since Brad Keselowski joined the organization as an owner, and the second win of Buescher’s Cup Series career (Pocono, 2016 and Bristol, 2022).
“We’ve had a great week celebrating and taking in everything associated with the Bristol win, but I’m just as excited to get back to my home state of Texas and see friends and family and give our Fastenal Mustang another good run this weekend. We put together a solid plan for the All-Star Race this spring and had good success, so our goal is to capitalize on that even more and keep the train rolling this weekend.”
Now the Prosper, Texas native, Buescher, heads to Texas Motor Speedway to make it two wins in a row. Buescher has made 12 series starts at Texas posting an average finish of 22.7. Buescher’s best finish at his home track is 15th back in 2018.
Oklahoman Christopher Bell emerges from the Playoffs’ Round of 16 as a contender
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell entered the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 as the 10th seed with the pedal to the floor, as he was the only driver in that round to post three top-five finishes and clinch his spot in the Round of 12 prior to the elimination-race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Plus, he finished the Round of 16 in the Playoff standings lead by not only finishing well, but by dominating his competitors in stage points. Bell accumulated 50 stage points in the first three Playoff races – 14 more stage points than the next highest driver, Kyle Busch with 36.
Now that the Playoff competitors have been reseeded for the Round of 12, Bell is ranked seventh in the standings, just 27 points back from Chase Elliott in the Playoff standings lead, and only four points above the Round of 8 cut line. This is Bell’s second career appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2021, 2022) and the Oklahoma native is looking to advance to the Round of 8 for the first time. He was eliminated in the Round of 12 in last season’s Playoffs, ultimately finishing 12th in the final championship standings.
But this weekend is looking fortuitous for Bell, as Texas Motor Speedway is a track at which he has exceled. In three series starts at the 1.5-mile facility, he has put up two top-five finishes and has an average finish of 9.0 (second-best among active drivers).
“Texas is one of my best tracks statistically and a place I enjoy racing at,” Bell said. “It’s a very important race and we need to capitalize on Texas before heading into Talladega.”
Playoff Bubble: All-Star winner Ryan Blaney returns to Texas
Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney has advanced to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 after a slow start to his postseason run putting up just one top-10 finish in the Round of 16. Now the North Carolina native shows up to Texas Motor Speedway as the winner of the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race, which was held at this same 1.5-mile facility back in May, needing a boost to his championship chase.
Currently, Blaney sits in the eighth and final transfer spot on points in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings up just four points on Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe in ninth – the first spot outside the Round of 8 cutoff. This is Blaney’s sixth appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (2017, ’18, ’19, ’20, ’21, ’22) and he is looking to advance to the Round of 8 for the fourth-time in his career (2017, ’19, ’21).
In addition to his NASCAR All-Star Race win at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season, the 27-year-old has made 13 points-paying race starts at the 1.5-mile speedway posting three top fives and seven top 10s. He has a career-best Texas finish of runner-up in 2018 and has an average finish at the track of 16.3.