Week 31 GFT NASCAR AI Driver Rankings: Buescher wins Bristol, Elliott Retakes Playoff Points Lead

17 September 2022
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE — Chris Buescher (RFK Racing) held on to win Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Buescher is the 19th different NASCAR Cup Series winner this season and his win means none of the Playoff eligible drivers captured a win in Round 1. Eliminated were Reddick, Dillion, Kyle Busch, Harvick as the Playoffs move to Texas for the opening race of the Round of 12.

Week 31 of the NASCAR GFT Top 25 AI Driver Rankings following the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 17, 2022 in Bristol, TN (Image: GFT Digital / gofullthrottle.net)

Chase Elliott Retakes the NASCAR Cup Series Points Lead and P1 in the GFT NASCAR AI Driver Rankings
Elliott was “full throttle” pursuing Buescher for the final 50 laps but had to settle for 2nd place finish after qualifying a dismal 23rd. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Willaim Byron finished 3rd, Bell 4th, defending Cup Champion Kyle Larson was 5th. Ross Chastain (Trackhouse Racing) finished 6th and jumped 5 spots in our ranking models to P3. Only Chase Briscoe (Stewart-Haas Racing) had a bigger move- jumping 6 spots from P15 to P9.

Credit: BRISTOL, TENNESSEE — SEPTEMBER 17: Chris Buescher, driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, leads the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 17, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
NASCAR Cup Series 2022 Playoffs enter the Round of 12 (Image: NASCAR Digital/nascar.com)

All Four Hendrick Cars Advance to Round of 12
In the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Standings, Hendrick has the numbers:
P1 Chase Elliott
P4 Kyle Larson
P5 Willaim Byron
P10 Alex Bowman
Only 8 drivers move on next round so Bowman begins the Round of 12 at -33 points, 2 spots below the cut line. However, the № 48 team showed strength at Bristol, only to be caught behind a wreck and finish 32nd.

On to Texas!
The Round of 12 brings the series to Texas Motor Speedway on Sep 25, Talladega Superspeedway Oct 2nd, and the Charlotte ROVAL on Oct 9.

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association