No one knew what to expect as the NextGen cars hit the pavement at Bristol for the very first time, but even this was hard to imagine. Buescher came into tonight's race with 125-1 odds of winning, but captured his first Cup win since the rain-shortened race at Pocono in 2016. That ended a 222-race winless streak, and was the first win for team co-owner Brad Keselowski. The team’s last win came in the July 2017 race at Daytona.

It’s so special here," Buescher said after exiting his car. I love this race track. I love the fans. I love every time we come here. It’s so special. It’s pretty awesome. We knew we had a really fast race car in practice and didn’t quite get the job done in qualifying, but what a race car. I don’t know what all to say right now. I’m out of breath. This place will wear you flat-out and I love that about it. It’s just a special night."

Although it was a spectacular performance by Buescher and the No. 17 team, tonight was all about the mistakes and misfortune of playoff drivers. Four of them were eliminated in this cutoff race, and all of them have ties to Richard Childress Racing. Ironically, the team has been in the headlines all week after their big announcement on Tuesday.

That announcement was for Kyle Busch, who will be taking over the No. 8 Chevrolet next season. That car is currently occupied by Tyler Reddick, who will still be with the team next year, but moving on after that. His current teammate is Austin Dillon, and Kevin Harvick spent the first 13 years of his Cup career driving for RCR.

Those four drivers were all eliminated tonight, and all of them had major issues in the race.

Busch was running strong for most of the night and was in a great position to advance safely to the next round. That was until Lap 270, when his engine let go. The night was done for the two-time Cup champion, as he awaited his fate as the race continued without him. Ultimately, he was eliminated by just two points.

Reddick and Busch ended up tied on points, but they were 13th and 14th when the checkered flag waved. Dillon finished behind his current and future teammate, after he was involved in a massive crash on the ensuing restart after Kyle's issue. Reddick was also caught up in that accident, which affected several playoff drivers including Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez.

Harvick had the biggest gut punch of the night. After battling up front for most of the night, the Stewart Haas Racing driver was making his final pit stop of the night, and was going to come out ahead of Buescher, but his left-front wheel came off as it was not securely fastened during the stop. That ultimately was the nail in the coffin for the 2014 Cup champion as he needed to win the race to advance.

For the first time in the history of the playoffs, both Busch and Harvick were eliminated in the first round.

"It just goes with our year," Busch said. "I don't even know what to say, I'm flabbergasted. I feel so bad for my guys, they don't deserve to be in this spot. Two engine failures in three weeks, that will do it to you." Harvick echoed those comments after the race. "It's just the way our year has gone. We went from having a chance to lead the parade, to being part of the parade. Just really difficult to pass."

The race itself played out very well for a couple of teams. Hendrick Motorsports had three cars that finished inside the top-five with Case Elliott and William Byron 2nd and 3rd, and Kyle Larson in 5th. It was nearly a flawless night for them aside from Bowman getting collected in the big accident.

2022 Bristol Night Race - Race Results
Pos Driver Team Manufacturer
1Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord
2Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
3William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
4Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
5Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
6Ross ChastainTrackHouse RacingChevrolet
7AJ AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet
8Cole CusterStewart Haas RacingFord
9Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
10Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingFord
11Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord
12Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet
13Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord
14Chase BriscoeStewart Haas RacingFord
15Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
16Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord
17Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord
18Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord
19Daniel SuarezTrackHouse RacingChevrolet
20Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord
21Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
22Landon CassillSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
23JJ YeleyRick Ware RacingFord
24BJ McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord
25Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
26Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
27Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord
28Aric AlmirolaStewart Haas RacingFord
29Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota
30Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord
31Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
32Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
33Ricky Stenhouse JrJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
34Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
35Ty Gibbs23XI RacingToyota
36Martin Truex JrJoe Gibbs RacingToyota

Team Penske also had several scares with all three drivers, but all of them have advanced to the Round of 12. Ryan Blaney was one of several Ford drivers that saw a right-front tire go down, which sent him hard into the outside wall. The team spent the majority of the night trying to repair the No. 12 Mustang, which they ultimately did.

Joey Logano also had a tire go down, and had an issue with a wheel on pit road as well. Austin Cindric was in the most precarious situation, as he was one of the drivers right on the cut line. The rookie had a flat tire early but managed to escape with a 20th place finish, which was just good enough to squeak into the 12th and final playoff spot.

The theme of the night started with a handful of Ford drivers having right-front tire issues. Then it was Toyota who had several cars suffering power steering issues. That took out 23XI Racing drivers Bubba Wallace and Ty Gibbs within just a few laps of each other. Martin Truex Jr was next on the list, as his night ended early once again. Hamlin had a tire issue, Busch had a blown engine, and even Bell had trouble but still managed to finish 4th tonight.

It was a night of chaos for 12 of the 16 playoff drivers. In the end, it was Buescher that landed in victory lane, becoming the 19th different race winner this year, the most in a season since 1972. This was also the third consecutive playoff race that was won by a non-playoff driver.

With four drivers now eliminated, teams will now turn their attention to the Round of 12, which begins at Texas Motor Speedway. The goal is always to win, but staying out of trouble will be just as important. The two other races in this round (Talladega, Charlotte ROVAL) are major wild cards. Coverage for Sunday's AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas begins at 3:30 ET on USA Network.