Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
● Clint Bowyer started 20th and finished 13th.
● Bowyer reported the No. 14 PEAK Lighting Ford Mustang was loose in the early going.
● He said the car was too loose to run the high groove as others began to use both racing lanes.
● Bowyer raced in 17th by lap 42.
● As the handling improved, the No. 14’s lap times improved and Bowyer climbed to 14th.
● Bowyer made his first pit stop of the race on lap 83.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
● Bowyer started 11th and finished 17th.
● The No. 14 PEAK Lighting Ford Mustang jumped from 11th to seventh on the restart.
● Bowyer took over sixth on lap 150 before he told the crew the front end of his car “feels lazy.”
● Bowyer began to fade back, dropping to ninth by lap 219.
● Bowyer spun with seven laps remaining in the stage as he attempted to pass lapped cars.
● Despite the spin, Bowyer only dropped to 17th and stayed on the lead lap.
● Bowyer pitted and stayed out during the stage break, climbing to 10th.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 250-500):
● Bowyer started 10th and finished seventh.
● The No. 14 PEAK Lighting Ford Mustang showed immediate speed and climbed to eighth by lap 315.
● Bowyer said his car was a little loose, but he held his position in the top-10.
● Bowyer pitted under caution on lap 365 for adjustments and fuel, then restarted the race in fifth.
● Bowyer dropped to seventh over the closing laps.
“We had a good race. We were too loose. I needed more rear grip all night long. That’s probably the loosest I’ve ever been here. We kind of fought front turn all weekend long and was trying to make up for it with wedge out and track bar up – stuff like that – and it just hurts rear grip. I mean, all in all, it was a good weekend for us. It was kind of a rebound weekend and what we needed, but you can’t expect those guys to just lay over for you. We did all we could do. I was hoping to be a top-five car and when you’re a top-five car here you’ve got a chance to win, but we were just a beat off of that all night.
“Tonight could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better. It’s short track racing. You’re making split-decisions. I was trying to pass those two cars and get some more stage points for us and I clipped him. It wasn’t nothing he did, I was just trying to shoot the gap and I had a run on those guys and trying to do all I could do.”
● Bowyer earned his 10th top-10 of the season and his 15th top-10 in 28 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol.
● This is Bowyer’s fourth straight top-10 at Bristol. He finished seventh in the series’ last visit to the track in April.
● Since joining SHR in 2017, Bowyer has only finished outside the top-10 once at Bristol. He has never finished worse than 19th.
● Bowyer has finished in the top-10 in all three short track races in the 2019 season.
● Denny Hamlin won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Raceto score his 35th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his second at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Matt DiBenedetto was .502 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 61 laps.
● Only seven of the 39 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Racefinished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 39-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.