It could be a long night at Bristol Motor Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones as all three drivers will drop to the rear of the field for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race after multiple pre-race inspection failures.
According to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, the first failure was for a body issue on the cars. When the teams made fixes to those issues, they then failed on the rear alignment. Al three passed inspection on their third attempt, avoiding further penalties.
It was a body issue on first time through tech and then when that was fixed, rear alignment issue on second time through tech for the KyBusch, Hamlin and Jones cars, all which will drop to the rear on pace laps. #nascar
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 19, 2020
Luckily for Hamlin, he is already locked into the Round of 12 of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by way of points entering Saturday night’s race. Hamlin was set to start from the seventh position on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Busch, who was set to roll from the grid in ninth, he is still in the thick of the battle to advance to the Round of 12, so he will need to avoid calamity on his way back through the pack if he wants to advance to the next round of the 2020 Playoffs.
Busch enters Saturday night’s race with just an 18-point advantage over the cut line. If he misses out on early Stage Points or gets involved in an incident, it could drastically impact his chances of advancing.
For Jones, who was slated to start from 20th position, this marks the continuation of a frustrating season, where he is win-less, out of the Playoffs and in search for a ride for 2020. If he can have a huge rally from the rear of the field though, it may go a long way toward landing him a new ride for 2021.
For fantasy game scoring purposes, the drivers will all be officially credited with their original starting spots, but will drop to the rear of the field on the pace laps.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.