Emotions ran high on September 11, 2021 at Richmond Raceway. It was the 20th anniversary of the events that toppled the World Trade Center and the second race in round one of the playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Denny Hamlin knew that he had secured his spot in the next round of the playoffs after winning the opening race at Darlington Speedway.

Hamlin dominated the race but came up a little short when Joe Gibbs Racing team mate Martin Truex Jr won the race to secure his spot in the next round of the playoffs.

During the race, regular season champion and points leader Kyle Larson had earned enough points to secure his spot in the next round. Larson has earned over 50 bonus and playoff points this season so far.

A wreck early knocked Kurt Busch out of the race…and possibly a spot in the next round. Busch is currently on the bubble as the last driver that would move on. Alex Bowman, Tyler Reddick, William Byron, and Michael McDowell are all currently below the cut line and are facing elimination after the night race in Bristol on Saturday.

The current standings for the 16 playoff drivers are:
Kyle Larson
Denny Hamlin
Martin Truex Jr
Joey Logano
Ryan Blaney
Kevin Harvick
Chase Elliott
Christopher Bell
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Busch
Aric Almirola
Kurt Busch
Alex Bowman
Tyler Reddick
William Byron
Michael McDowell