Buescher wins Cup regular-season finale at Daytona in overtime; Wallace clinches final Playoff berth

With nearly half the field vying for the 16th and final spot to make the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, the Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing duo of Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski captured the final spotlight amid an overtime shootout as Keselowski drafted teammate Buescher to an overtime victory in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, August 26.

The 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Buescher from Prosper, Texas, led the final two of 163 over-scheduled laps in an event where he started 11th and kept his car intact throughout the event that was mired with competitive racing, 22 lead changes and 17 different competitors taking turns to lead at least a lap amid the draft, even including a 12-car pileup on Lap 94 that wiped out a handful of Playoff hopefuls. Then after surging his way towards the front prior to a harrowing rollover accident involving Ryan Preece with five laps remaining that sent the event into overtime, Buescher received the draft needed from teammate Keselowski to overtake Kevin Harvick and fend off the field through the final two laps to claim his unprecedented third NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2023 season.

By virtue of Buescher, who was already locked into the Playoffs based on winning twice prior to Daytona, winning the regular-season finale at Daytona, Bubba Wallace benefited by rounding out the 2023 Cup Series Playoff field after finishing in 12th place while several top names, among which included Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, rookie Ty Gibbs, Alex Bowman and Aric Almirola, did not make the Playoffs.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Friday, August 25, Chase Briscoe notched his first Cup pole position of the season and the second of his career after posting a pole-winning lap at 181.822 mph in 49.499 seconds. Joining him on the front row was teammate Aric Almirola, who clocked in the second-best qualifying lap at 181.693 mph in 49.534 seconds.

Prior to the event, Ryan Preece was the only competitor who dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to his entry.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Briscoe, who started on the outside lane, quickly jumped ahead before he transitioned his No. 14 Magical Vacation Planner Ford Mustang to the inside lane in front of teammate Almirola’s No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang exiting the frontstretch and through the first two turns. As the stacked field navigated through the backstretch, Briscoe muscled ahead with drafting help from teammate Almirola, but Bubba Wallace quickly gained ground from the outside lane as he dueled with Almirola for the runner-up spot. As the field returned to the frontstretch, Briscoe led the first lap as Wallace challenged Briscoe for the lead with drafting help from Riley Herbst, who was piloting the No. 36 Monster Energy Zero Sugar Ford Mustang for Front Row Motorsports.

Through the second lap, Briscoe and Wallace continued to duel for the lead in front of two stacked lanes of competitors, with Briscoe gaining a slight advantage with drafting help from teammate Almirola while Wallace had Herbst still drafting his No. 23 Luke Combs/Columbia Toyota TRD Camry. Through the backstretch and Turns 3 and 4, the inside lane led by Briscoe prevailed as Briscoe started to surge ahead followed by Almirola and Harrison Burton. Then through the frontstretch, rookie Ty Gibbs became the first competitor to lead the outside lane as he moved his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota TRD Camry in front of Wallace as Briscoe proceeded to lead the third lap.

Through the first five scheduled laps and as the field started to fan out and jostle early for positions amid the draft, Briscoe was leading ahead of teammate Almirola, Burton, Kyle Larson and Chris Buescher while Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs and Bubba Wallace were in the top 10. By then, all 39 starters were separated within three seconds.

At the Lap 10 mark, Briscoe retained the lead by 0.075 seconds over teammate Almirola while Burton, Larson and Buescher followed suit in the top five. By then, Truex was serving as the lead competitor on the outside lane as he dueled with Allmendinger for sixth place before Denny Hamlin moved up the outside lane and in front of teammate Truex in his bid for the front. Amid the field still engaged in two tight-packed lanes, Briscoe continued to lead the race.

Five laps later, Briscoe was still leading ahead of teammate Almirola, Burton, Larson and Buescher while Allmendinger, Austin Dillon, Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Truex were in the top 10. By then, Bell, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Ty Gibbs, Ryan Blaney, Wallace, Herbst, Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick and Ross Chastain were battling within the top 20. Meanwhile, Joey Logano was in 21st ahead of Michael McDowell, Preece, Austin Cindric, Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez, William Byron was back in 29th and Brad Keselowski drifted back to 38th behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as part of a conservative play.

At the Lap 25 mark and with the field continuing to run within two tight-packed lanes, Hamlin, who used the outside lane to move his No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota TRD Camry into the lead from Briscoe two laps earlier, was leading ahead of teammate Truex while his other two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Bell and Ty Gibbs followed suit along with his 23XI Racing competitor Wallace. By then, Briscoe fell back to sixth while Herbst, Harvick, Almirola and Logano were scored in the top 10. In addition, Harrison Burton was back in 11th followed by Cindric, Larson, Suarez and Allmendinger while Elliott, who was dealing with radio issues, was in 16th ahead of Austin Dillon, Buescher, Kyle Busch and McDowell.

Just past the Lap 30 mark, Hamlin retained the lead ahead of his three Joe Gibbs Racing teammates while Herbst started to ignite a charge as the lead competitor on the outside lane as he also dueled with Wallace for fifth while receiving drafting help from Ford teammates Harvick, Logano and Cindric. Herbst would then boost his way up to the runner-up spot by Lap 32 before Hamlin moved up the track through the backstretch to block Herbst. This allowed Truex to muscle a challenge on the inside lane during the proceeding lap as the Toyota competitors became separated within two tight-packed lanes.

When the first stage period concluded on Lap 35, Truex, who received a big push from teammate Bell to muscle past teammate Hamlin through the backstretch as the field fanned out, captured his sixth Cup stage victory of the 2023 season. Teammate Bell settled in second followed by Harvick, Ty Gibbs, Logano, Wallace and Cindric while Hamlin fell back to eighth in front of Briscoe and Suarez. By then, all but one of 39 starters were scored on the lead lap as the event featured two lead changes for three different leaders.

Under the stage break, the lead lap field led by Truex pitted for their first service of the night. Following the pit stops and amid mixed strategies, Austin Hill exited first after opting for no fresh tires, though he missed his pit stall, followed by Logano, the first competitor with four fresh tires, as Truex, Bell, Wallace, Harvick, Suarez, Hamlin and Briscoe followed suit. Amid the pit stops, Justin Haley was penalized for equipment interference. In addition, Kyle Busch was penalized for a crew member jumping over the pit wall too soon. Once Hill pitted again, Logano cycled into the race lead.

The second stage started on Lap 40 as Logano and Truex occupied the front row. At the start, Truex and Logano dueled for the lead through the first two turns until Logano muscled ahead in his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang entering the backstretch with drafting help from Harvick and Suarez. Truex would continue to lead the outside lane in front of teammate Bell while Logano retained the lead for the following lap on the inside lane.

By Lap 45 and as the field started to fan out to three tight-packed lanes, Logano was pushed ahead of the stacked field followed by Harvick and Suarez while Truex tried to regain ground from the outside lane with continuous help from teammate Bell as Wallace tried to follow suit. Soon after, Elliott surged towards the front in his No. 9 LLumar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 as part of a third drafting lane running toward the outside wall. Elliott would then be drafted into a duel against Logano for the lead through the first two turns as he had Allmendinger, Kyle Busch and Stenhouse assisting him. Then as Elliott had appeared to break ahead of the pack, Allmendinger made his move to the front and led Lap 47 as he dueled against Elliott for the lead. Allmendinger would then break away from the pack along with Kyle Busch while Elliott dueled against Stenhouse for third place.

At the Lap 50 mark, Elliott led a lap for himself followed by Logano as Allmendinger, who led the previous three laps, was back in third. By then, Kyle Busch and Harvick were in the top five followed by Haley, Ty Gibbs, Stenhouse, Chastain and Almirola while Truex, Austin Hill, Bell, Buescher and Chandler Smith occupied the top 15. By then, all 39 starters were running on the lead lap and separated by two-and-a-half seconds.

Two laps later, a three-wide battle for the lead ensued as Logano was stuck in the middle lane, Elliott charged on the inside lane and Allmendinger muscled ahead on the outside lane with drafting help from Kyle Busch. As the field was also stacked in three tight-packed lanes, Allmendinger retained the lead from the outside lane while Ty Gibbs tried to launch a charge on the inside lane. By then, Elliott lost his momentum after nearly wrecking with Stenhouse through the frontstretch prior to Lap 54 while Logano also drifted back within the top 10 as he continued to run in the middle lane.

Then on Lap 55, Ross Chastain made his presence known at the front as he led the middle lane and surged his No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to a narrow lead before dueling against Ty Gibbs and Allmendinger. By then, Chastain had drafting help from Logano while Hamlin drifted back to 37th after bailing on the three-wide pack towards the front.

Just past the Lap 60 mark and with the field settling in two tight-packed lanes, Chastain, who took the lead from Allmendinger a few laps prior, was leading by a narrow margin over Logano while Truex, Bell, Preece, Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Ty Gibbs, Haley and Harvick were battling in the top 10. With the field still settling in two packed lanes, Chastain would continue to lead by the Lap 65 mark.

By Lap 70 and with most of the field migrating to the outside lane, Chastain was leading ahead of Logano, Preece, Elliott and Harvick while Larson, Blaney, Bell, Stenhouse and Truex were running in the top 10. By then, Almirola was in 11th ahead of Ty Gibbs, Buescher, Burton and Keselowski while Josh Berry, Cindric, Bowman, Reddick and Byron were battling up in the top 20. Behind, Briscoe was back in 21st, Austin Dillon was in 26th ahead of Suarez, Erik Jones and Kyle Busch, Allmendinger was shuffled back in 31st, Wallace settled in 34th and Hamlin continued to run in 37th.

Five laps later, Ryan Blaney made his move beneath Chastain exiting the backstretch as he surged to the lead in his No. 12 Advance Auto Parts Ford Mustang with drafting help from teammate Logano and Harvick. Chastain would settle in fourth place and duel with Harvick for third while Stenhouse, Preece, Almirola, Elliott, Buescher and Larson battled within the top 10. Keselowski, who ran towards the rear of the field earlier in the event, would also carve his way to run just outside the top 10. Not long after and as the intensity of the two tight-packed racing increased, Stenhouse would surge his No. 47 Boost by Kroger Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to the front and lead the halfway mark on Lap 80 as Blaney and Chastain, both of whom Stenhouse was battling with, followed suit.

A lap later, green flag pit stops ensued as Stenhouse led Chastain, Bell, Berry, Ty Gibbs, Truex, Reddick, Erik Jones, Wallace, Hamlin and BJ McLeod to pit road for service, mainly for fuel. Another wave of competitors led by Blaney, Logano, Harvick, Brennan Poole, JJ Yeley, Austin Hill, Allmendinger, Haley and Chandler Smith pitted during the proceeding lap as Almirola cycled into the lead. Amid the pit stops, Hamlin was penalized for a crew member jumping over the pit wall too soon as he was forced to return to pit road and serve a pass-through penalty. Herbst would also be penalized for meeting the same fate as Hamlin while Poole was penalized for speeding on pit road.

By Lap 84, a big group of competitors led by Almirola pitted under green as Harrison Burton cycled into the lead followed by Keselowski and Michael McDowell. Burton and McDowell would pit two laps later before they were able to blend back on the track and retain the top-two spots ahead of the charging pack. With the pack quickly catching up to Burton and McDowell through the backstretch, Keselowski then tried to make a move to Burton’s outside for the lead, but the field fanned out to nearly four lanes through the frontstretch as Kyle Busch ignited his charge to the lead. Suarez followed suit along with Alex Bowman and Austin Dillon as Kyle Busch aggressively carved his No. 8 Cheddar’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 into the lead by Lap 87.

With five laps remaining in the second stage, Kyle Busch was leading ahead of Suarez, Bowman, Austin Dillon and Keselowski while Burton was getting shuffled out of the top five amid two tight-packed lanes. As the laps dwindled, the field fanned out to three lanes as Busch continued to lead.

Then on the final lap of the second stage, Lap 94, trouble ensued when Ty Gibbs, who was trying to surge to the front, slipped sideways off the front nose of teammate Bell and clipped the leader Blaney as both were sent hard against the outside wall, collecting Bell, Reddick, Stenhouse and Bowman in the process as Allmendinger, Hamlin, Herbst, Cindric, Austin Dillon, Harvick, Larson, Poole, Buescher and Burton were also involved. The wreck, which proved costly to Gibbs as his hopes of making the Playoffs came to an end, was enough to place the event in a red flag period for nine-and-a-half minutes. By then, Keselowski escaped the carnage to capture the stage victory, which was his fourth of the 2023 Cup season, while Kyle Busch, Suarez, Bowman, Byron, Reddick, Elliott, Austin Dillon, Chastain and Logano were scored in the top 10. In addition, Truex, who dodged the incident, was crowned the 2023 Cup Series Regular Season champion.

Under the stage break and once the red flag period was lifted, a majority of the lead lap field led by Keselowski pitted for service while Stewart-Haas Racing’s Briscoe and Almirola remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Kyle Busch exited first while Elliott, Suarez, Chastain, Keselowski, Byron and Logano followed suit.

With 56 laps remaining, the final stage started as Briscoe and Kyle Busch occupied the front row. At the start, Briscoe emerged with the lead and surged ahead with drafting help from teammate Almirola while Busch dueled with Erik Jones for third place. As Busch regained ground through the backstretch, he then challenged Briscoe for the lead as he had Bowman and Suarez pushing him. Despite Briscoe managing to lead the proceeding laps, he kept being engaged in a side-by-side duel against Busch for the lead as Almirola, Erik Jones and Bowman were in the top five. Meanwhile, Wallace, who was on the brakes to avoid the multi-car wreck at the end of the second stage, was up to seventh as he tried to crack the top five along with Keselowski and Suarez.

With 50 laps remaining, Briscoe continued to lead as he had both lanes under his control followed by teammate Almirola, Erik Jones, Keselowski, Wallace and Logano while Kyle Busch tried to charge back to the front on the outside lane. Wallace would then move up in front of Busch and lead the outside lane during the following lap as he dueled against Logano for fifth while Josh Berry joined the battle.

Five laps later and with the field slowly starting to fan out to three lanes, Briscoe retained the lead ahead of a long single file line on the inside lane as teammate Almirola, Erik Jones, Keselowski and Logano were in the top five. By then, Wallace fell back to 13th as Berry, Chandler Smith, McDowell, Bell and Corey LaJoie charged in the top 10 in front of Kyle Busch while Elliott and Suarez were mired back in the top 20.

Another five laps later and with most of the field migrating to the outside lane, Briscoe was leading ahead of teammates Almirola and Preece while Buescher and Harvick were in the top five. By then, Keselowski, Elliott, Ty Dillon, Chandler Smith and Truex were in the top 10 while Wallace, who briefly moved back into the top five, fell back to 14th after being shuffled out of the draft before he blended back into the draft towards the outside wall. With nearly the entire field continuing to run in a long single-file line toward the outside wall, Briscoe also continued to lead ahead of teammates Almirola and Preece with 35 laps remaining.

With 30 laps remaining, Briscoe retained the top spot by 0.083 seconds over teammate Almirola followed by Preece, Buescher and Harvick while Keselowski, Elliott, Ty Dillon, Chandler Smith and Truex continued to run in the top 10. With Erik Jones, Kyle Busch and Logano mired in 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively, Wallace retained 14th in front of McDowell while Bell, Austin Hill, LaJoie, Byron and Bowman were running in the top 20.

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, Briscoe continued to lead a long line of competitors towards the outside wall, with teammates Almirola and Preece along with Buescher and Harvick following suit. By then, the top-six spots continued to be occupied by Ford competitors as Keselowski was in sixth, Elliott served as the lead Chevrolet competitor in seventh and Wallace was the leading Toyota competitor as he returned to the top 10.

A lap later, Preece attempted to make a charge to the front on the inside lane, but he got shuffled out of the draft and drifted back as Chandler Smith served as the lead competitor on the inside lane while Briscoe retained the lead on the outside lane.

With 16 laps remaining, a wave of competitors led by Chandler Smith, including Wallace, pitted under green, mainly for fuel, as Briscoe continued to lead the rest of the field. Briscoe would then lead another wave of competitors to pit road for service under green with 14 laps remaining. Once the wave of competitors led by Briscoe completed their service, Harvick, who pitted during the first wave, cycled as the leader ahead of Elliott, Almirola, Buescher, Keselowski, Bowman and Briscoe while the wave of competitors who pitted earlier led by Kyle Busch, who was running 12th in front of Wallace, was slowly gaining ground.

Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Harvick was leading ahead of Elliott, Almirola, Buescher and Keselowski while Bowman, Briscoe, Byron, Logano and Ty Dillon trailed behind. Meanwhile, Wallace was in 13th behind McDowell and Kyle Busch while Erik Jones and Truex occupied the top 15.

Two laps later, Almirola launched a charge on the outside lane, but Harvick moved up the track to block his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate. Harvick would then surge ahead with the top spot followed by Almirola and Buescher as Elliott tried to fight back on the inside lane as he had teammate Larson drafting him. Elliott then tried to launch another charge on the inside lane with seven laps remaining, but Harvick surged ahead on the outside lane as he, Almirola and Buescher briefly broke away from the pack. Teammates Buescher and Keselowski then overtook Almirola through the backstretch to move up to second and third as they settled behind Harvick with five laps remaining.

Shortly after, the caution flew when Preece, who was running in the middle of the pack through the backstretch, got hit by Erik Jones as he veered sideways and collected teammate Briscoe in the process. Amid the collision, Preece’s No. 41 RaceChoice.com Ford Mustang then went airborne and barrel-rolled multiple times in the air and towards the backstretch’s infield before the battered car came to a violent rest on all four wheels. Despite the wild ride that ended his hopes of making this year’s Playoffs, Preece emerged uninjured as he was placed on a stretcher and medically escorted to the infield care center before being transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Preece’s wild wreck was also enough to send the event into overtime.

Following an extensive caution period, the race restarted in overtime as Harvick and Buescher occupied the front row in front of Elliott and Keselowski. At the start, Buescher and Harvick dueled for the lead entering Turns 1 and 2 until Buescher gained the upper hand as his teammate and co-owner Keselowski drafted his No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang into the lead entering the backstretch. Buescher then maintained the lead followed by Keselowski’s No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang as Almirola tried to move up to third place while battling alongside teammate Harvick and in front of Logano.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Buescher, who transitioned from the inside to the outside lane to retain the momentum and keep Keselowski behind him, remained as the leader as Harvick launched a charge with drafting help from Elliott. The two Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing competitors would slightly surge ahead entering the backstretch and remain on the outside lane with more momentum that included pushes from Almirola and Logano keeping them ahead of Harvick and Elliott. With Buescher and Keselowski starting to pull away from the pack through Turns 3 and 4, Harvick got shuffled out of the draft as Almirola and Elliott fanned out in their final hopes of making the Playoffs. Despite gaining momentum with drafting help, their runs were not enough to catch the Roush competitors as Buescher surged ahead and beat Keselowski to the finish line to capture his third checkered flag of the 2023 Cup season by 0.098 seconds over Keselowski.

With the victory, Buescher became the fourth different competitor to achieve at least three victories throughout the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season as he also notched the fifth career win of his premier series resume and first at Daytona. With a total of 2,021 points, Buescher, who has made the Playoffs for the second time in his career and first since 2016, will line up in fourth place in this year’s Playoff grid and will embark on a 10-week Playoff stretch to battle for this year’s championship, beginning next weekend at Darlington Raceway.

“[I owe Brad Keselowski] A little more than [the push],” Buescher said on NBC. “That was amazing. So proud to get Fifth Third Bank into Victory Lane here at Daytona. I knew we were coming here with fast [Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing] Ford Mustangs and got there at the end and showed when it counted. That’s as much Brad’s win as ours right there. That was the right help. Aggressive, sticking with us, too, all the way to the line. I was waiting for him to do something there coming to the finish. I figured we’d be side-by-side, but looked like he got stalled out a little behind. Just so thankful to Brad for all those pushes there at the right time. [This season]’s hard to explain. It’s awesome, though. To be sitting here again [as a winner] so quickly. What a heck of a start into the Playoffs right now. It’s been a long time coming, a lot of work. So amazing for us.”

While Buescher celebrated on the frontstretch, Bubba Wallace celebrated with his pit crew, family, friends, teammate Tyler Reddick and team owners Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin on pit road after securing the 16th and final spot to make the 2023 Cup Series Playoffs by finishing 12th on the track and being 47 points ahead of Daniel Suarez, who ended up 20th. As a result, Wallace, who is in his third season driving for 23XI Racing and was able to lock both 23XI Racing cars in the Playoffs alongside teammate Tyler Reddick, has qualified for the Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career and in a season highlighted with four top-five results, six top-10 results, 14 top-15 results and five 12th-place finishes, a career-high 159 laps led and an average-finishing result of 16.8 throughout the 26-race regular-season stretch. He will line up in 16th place in the Playoff standings with 2,000 points as he will contend for his first series title.

“That was the most stressed, but also the most locked in that I’ve ever been, knowing that this place is mostly out of your control,” Wallace said. “I just try to focus on doing the things that I could do. Missing that wreck [at the end of Stage 2] was massive. [I] Appreciate [spotter] Freddie [Kraft]. He’s one of the best up on the roof that gets us through a lot and that’s what helps our resume here at the speedway stuff. Proud to be locked into the Playoffs. This is special for our team. 23XI [Racing], third year in, getting both cars in the Playoffs. We’ve gone through a lot of trials and tribulations, but just so proud of the effort that we put in. No matter how much we set ourselves back, we know that we have a kickass group and we can bounce back from anything.”

Meanwhile, Elliott was left disappointed after surging his way to finish fourth on the track, but could not gain the momentum needed to make the Playoffs as this season will mark the first time where he will not contend as a Playoff competitor. Amid a difficult regular-season stretch where he was absent for a total of seven events, six due to an injury from a snowboarding accident earlier this season, Elliott remained optimistic as he set his sights on gaining momentum for the 2024 season.

“I really liked where we were before the caution [with five laps remaining],” Elliott said. “Honestly after the [overtime] restart there, we had the bottom lane that we wanted. I knew [Keselowski] was gonna go with [Buescher]. I thought [Harvick] was gonna take the bottom [lane] and he did, and we really had all the help that we could ask for behind…It’s a bummer, for sure. [I] Hate the season’s worked out like it has, but the good news is the car got in the owner’s points. That’s a big deal. Credit to [crew chief] Alan [Gustafson] and everybody for continuing to work and scratch and claw while I was out to keep our team alive and to give ourselves a chance, so that’s a big deal. Probably much bigger than a lot of people realize to our team. Looking forward to these next 10 [races] and try to make a little noise on that side of things and just try to get ready and prepare for next year. I appreciate everybody’s support. The season hasn’t been what I would want by any means, but certainly gonna be some lessons taken from it and I think we’ll be better for it on the other end.”

Almirola came home in third place behind Buescher and Keselowski as he too missed the 2023 Playoffs while Elliott and Logano finished in the top five on the track. Bowman, who also missed the Playoffs, settled in sixth while Kyle Busch, Byron, Harvick and Corey LaJoie finished in the top 10.

William Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain, Brad Keselowski, Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick and Bubba Wallace have made the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Daniel Suarez, rookie Ty Gibbs, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, AJ Allmendinger, Austin Cindric, Aric Almirola, Justin Haley, Corey LaJoie, Ryan Preece, Todd Gilliland, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon, Harrison Burton, Chase Briscoe and Ty Dillon are the remaining full-time competitors who did not make the Playoffs.

There were 22 lead changes for 17 different leaders. The race featured three cautions for 18 laps. In addition, 25 of 39 starters finished on the lead lap.


1. Chris Buescher, two laps led

2. Brad Keselowski, six laps led, Stage 2 winner

3. Aric Almirola, three laps led

4. Chase Elliott, two laps led

5. Joey Logano, nine laps led

6. Alex Bowman

7. Kyle Busch, five laps led

8. William Byron, one lap led

9. Kevin Harvick, 14 laps led

10. Corey LaJoie

11. Ty Dillon

12. Bubba Wallace

13. Michael McDowell

14. Austin Hill

15. Chandler Smith

16. Christopher Bell

17. Ross Chastain, 19 laps led

18. Erik Jones

19. JJ Yeley

20. Daniel Suarez, one lap led

21. Justin Haley

22. Josh Berry

23. BJ McLeod

24. Martin Truex Jr., four laps led, Stage 1 winner

25. Tyler Reddick

26. Denny Hamlin, one lap down, 12 laps led

27. Kyle Larson, two laps down

28. Harrison Burton, three laps down, five laps led

29. AJ Allmendinger, three laps down, eight laps led

30. Chase Briscoe – OUT, Accident, 67 laps led

31. Ryan Preece – OUT, Accident

32. Todd Gilliland – OUT, Overheating

33. Austin Dillon – OUT, Accident

34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – OUT, Accident, one lap led

35. Ty Gibbs – OUT, Accident

36. Ryan Blaney – OUT, Accident, four laps led

37. Austin Cindric – OUT, Accident

38. Riley Herbst – OUT, Accident

39. Brennan Poole – OUT, Accident

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is set to commence next Sunday, September 3, during Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina for the Cook Out Southern 500. The event’s broadcast is scheduled to occur at 6 p.m. ET on USA Network.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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