Chris Buescher’s Bristol win caps first round of Cup Series playoffs

AP photo by Mark Humphrey / RFK Racing driver Chris Buescher takes off his helmet after winning Saturday night's NASCAR Cup Series race at Tennessee's Bristol Motor Speedway.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — One of the expected effects of NASCAR's introduction of the Next Gen car this year was a more level playing field for all teams in the Cup Series.

That proved true during the regular season, and parity apparently has no intentions of putting on the brakes in the playoffs.

Chris Buescher won Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway to become the 19th driver with at least one victory this year, tying NASCAR's single-season record, and in the process he closed out a bizarre first round of the postseason. The second victory of Buescher's career marked the first time in this format of NASCAR's postseason that a playoff driver failed to win during a round.

Petty GMS Motorsports driver Erik Jones won the opener at Darlington Raceway, and 23XI Racing's Bubba Wallace won last Sunday at Kansas Speedway.