NASCAR at Bristol 2021 Results: Kyle Larson Wins Final Round of 16 Playoff Race

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 19, 2021

Cars take the green flag to start a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Kyle Larson took home the third and final Round of 16 race in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee on Saturday evening.


CHECKERED FLAG: Get him that sword! ⚔️<a href="https://twitter.com/KyleLarsonRacin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KyleLarsonRacin</a> wins at Bristol! <a href="https://t.co/SjJX3WUg1C">pic.twitter.com/SjJX3WUg1C</a>

Larson passed Kevin Harvick on the inside to take the lead and earn his sixth win of the year.


The winning move 🔥<a href="https://twitter.com/KyleLarsonRacin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KyleLarsonRacin</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamHendrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamHendrick</a> <a href="https://t.co/Y1b05WobHq">pic.twitter.com/Y1b05WobHq</a>

He spoke with NBC Sports afterward:


"That was an awesome race."<br><br>It sure was, <a href="https://twitter.com/KyleLarsonRacin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KyleLarsonRacin</a>. <a href="https://t.co/jzL5agYYau">pic.twitter.com/jzL5agYYau</a>

Here's a look at how the race went down.

Chase Elliott took the early lead at Bristol, surpassing Martin Truex Jr. on the inside:


Engine No. 9 powers to the lead early at <a href="https://twitter.com/BMSupdates?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BMSupdates</a>!<br><br>📺: NBCSN 📲: <a href="https://t.co/r61CT6B6jq">https://t.co/r61CT6B6jq</a> <a href="https://t.co/0KsHinOuAW">pic.twitter.com/0KsHinOuAW</a>

Joey Logano was near the lead but fell 19 spots because of pit-stop concerns:


🔊 <a href="https://twitter.com/joeylogano?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@joeylogano</a> dropped from third to 22nd due to pit-stop issues. <br><br>How will this affect their <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> hopes? <a href="https://t.co/1fKLStuT9p">pic.twitter.com/1fKLStuT9p</a>

Larson used David Starr's No. 66 car to impede Elliott's path to take the lead:


Using the No. 66 as a pick and rolling right to the lead.<a href="https://twitter.com/KyleLarsonRacin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KyleLarsonRacin</a> jumps to P1.<br><br>📺: NBCSN 📲: <a href="https://t.co/r61CT6B6jq">https://t.co/r61CT6B6jq</a> <a href="https://t.co/Q00TOlT4LR">pic.twitter.com/Q00TOlT4LR</a>

However, it was Hamlin who eventually won the stage.


Keep the scoring pylon on refresh all night long.<a href="https://twitter.com/dennyhamlin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dennyhamlin</a> navigates the lapped traffic and takes command at @bmsudpates.<br><br>📺: NBCSN 📲: <a href="https://t.co/r61CT6B6jq">https://t.co/r61CT6B6jq</a> <a href="https://t.co/pA0uo3IliL">pic.twitter.com/pA0uo3IliL</a>

Stage 2 ended in Larson's favor, however, but not before some more action along the way.

For starters, Elliott had to start at the back of the field for being too fast on pit road. Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports provided more information:

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

Elliott was speeding in section 8, believe that's the section before entry to frontstretch pit stalls

Pit road issues have been a problem for Elliott, as Jeff Gluck of The Athletic tweeted:

Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck

Third pit road mistake for Chase Elliott to open the playoffs. Missed pit road at Darlington, tried backing up and broke jack at Richmond, now speeding at Bristol.

Elsewhere, Brad Keselowski's No. 2 car jetted past Larson for a lead:


.<a href="https://twitter.com/keselowski?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@keselowski</a> is driving a 🚀.<br><br>Score the No. 2 P1! <a href="https://t.co/r3xnLRPBEG">pic.twitter.com/r3xnLRPBEG</a>

Everyone had to slow down after a tire issue for Ryan Newman sent him into the wall and took some other cars along with him:


A big issue for the No. 6 collects a few cars as we go to caution at <a href="https://twitter.com/BMSupdates?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BMSupdates</a>. <a href="https://t.co/8zCp58swHN">pic.twitter.com/8zCp58swHN</a>

This stage also saw Aric Almirola get black flagged due to a leaking issue only to get the problem fixed and race again:


🔊 "We got the line changed that had a leak in it."<a href="https://twitter.com/Aric_Almirola?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Aric_Almirola</a>'s team believes they fixed the issue on the No. 10.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/8Xtu4n2aF0">pic.twitter.com/8Xtu4n2aF0</a>

Another wreck soon went down, though, and this one led to a red flag:


Problems for Anthony Alfredo, BJ McLeod, and Justin Haley.<br><br>All right in front of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> contender Joey Logano!<br><br>TV: NBCSN <a href="https://t.co/Ii2vWWQI9T">pic.twitter.com/Ii2vWWQI9T</a>

In the end, Larson emerged as the Stage 2 winner after all that drama.

The first two stages were 125 laps each, and the third one was 250.

Kevin Harvick took the lead early in Stage 3:


NEW LEADER: <a href="https://twitter.com/KevinHarvick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KevinHarvick</a> is the man to catch at <a href="https://twitter.com/BMSupdates?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BMSupdates</a>! <a href="https://t.co/DAtA3qeJVo">pic.twitter.com/DAtA3qeJVo</a>

Quin Houff's night featured an unfortunate turn with 140 laps left:


A big spin by the No. 00 and big save from the No. 47 brings the field to caution with less than 140 laps remaining. <a href="https://t.co/IHOfX04hTC">pic.twitter.com/IHOfX04hTC</a>


Tires are a necessary accessory in <a href="https://twitter.com/NASCAR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NASCAR</a>.<br><br>Quin Houff just lost his.<br><br>Less than 140 laps remain at <a href="https://twitter.com/BMSupdates?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BMSUpdates</a> on NBCSN! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> <a href="https://t.co/iZ0qYW1KdI">pic.twitter.com/iZ0qYW1KdI</a>


More action occurred when Hamlin hit the wall after making contact with Larson and cutting a tire:


The good news: Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson have both clinched a spot in the next round.<br><br>The bad news: the two got together, Hamlin cut a tire, then Hamlin hit the wall. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> | NBCSN <a href="https://t.co/mPLt5I4TSD">pic.twitter.com/mPLt5I4TSD</a>

The chaotic race continued with Elliott storming all the way back to take his own lead:


The No. 9 has stormed back to the lead after his speeding penalty!<a href="https://twitter.com/chaseelliott?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@chaseelliott</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/BMSupdates?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BMSupdates</a> <a href="https://t.co/FMTf0miKbD">pic.twitter.com/FMTf0miKbD</a>

Soon enough, drama between Elliott and Harvick began:


CONTACT. Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott!<br><br>Elliott pits with a flat tire! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCARPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCARPlayoffs</a> | NBCSN <a href="https://t.co/yykUVTMdyY">pic.twitter.com/yykUVTMdyY</a>


"PULL IT OUT" <a href="https://t.co/NDh0fs3r9I">pic.twitter.com/NDh0fs3r9I</a>

Elliott did not seem very pleased with that result:


.<a href="https://twitter.com/chaseelliott?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@chaseelliott</a>: Big mad <a href="https://t.co/AClXOtWgpx">pic.twitter.com/AClXOtWgpx</a>

Larson ended up winning the race, but the Harvick-Elliott drama took centerstage:


There will be a 𝓬𝓸𝓷𝓿𝓮𝓻𝓼𝓪𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷 <a href="https://t.co/XoDnpDnKE3">pic.twitter.com/XoDnpDnKE3</a>


The boys are talking. The boys are shoving. <br><br>IT'S BRISTOL BABY. <a href="https://t.co/EIghd7Sc8s">pic.twitter.com/EIghd7Sc8s</a>

Both said their peace to NBC Sports afterward:


"It was a 🐓💩 move there at the end ... We're racing for the win at Bristol." — <a href="https://twitter.com/KevinHarvick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KevinHarvick</a> has OPINIONS <a href="https://t.co/oEh2QOZ3Ma">pic.twitter.com/oEh2QOZ3Ma</a>


"It's something he does all the time. He runs into your left side constantly ..." — <a href="https://twitter.com/chaseelliott?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@chaseelliott</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/KevinHarvick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kevinharvick</a>'s moves at <a href="https://twitter.com/BMSupdates?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bmsupdates</a>. <a href="https://t.co/wuUSGtRqK6">pic.twitter.com/wuUSGtRqK6</a>

We'll see if any bad blood rolls into next week, but for now, here's a look at a playoff update.

Kurt Busch, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola and Michael McDowell have been eliminated from the playoffs following the conclusion of Saturday's race.

The 12 remaining drivers are Hamlin, Truex Jr., Larson, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Harvick, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, William Byron and Alex Bowman.

The round consisted of three races: the Cook Out Southern 500, the Federated Auto Parts 400 and the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. The winners, in order, were Hamlin, Truex Jr. and Larson.

Saturday's 500-lap race saw the NASCAR Cup Series drivers cover 266.5 total miles at the track known as The World's Fastest Half Mile.

The Round of 12 is up next, beginning with the South Point 400 in Las Vegas on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. ET at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.