This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
The final race of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs was a frantic affair at Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights. Kyle Larson scored his first playoff win of the year, and his first at the track, with a strong showing in which he led the most laps and racked up a stage win. The race victory gives him a little extra momentum heading into the round of 12, a round he should be expected to advance from as well. His win didn't come without drama. Hendrick Motorsports put three of its drivers into the top five, while one played a factor in the outcome despite finishing 25th. It happened to be Chase Elliott, who's run-in with Kevin Harvick was arguably the story of the night. The pair raced hard at the front of the field all night, but when Harvick slid up the track and cut Elliott's tire with contact, the defending champion returned to the rack with a score to settle. Elliott unlapped himself from Harvick upon his return to the race and then held Harvick at bay as Larson chased him down. In the end, the victory went to Larson, while Harvick's joint-best finish of the season ended with him being on the receiving end of the crowd's booing.
The playoffs continue this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Larson won the spring Las Vegas race and will aim to sweep the races at the track to see himself safely through to the next championship round. Whoever