Kyle Larson slides past Chase Elliott to win at Watkins Glen International in the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen on Sunday afternoon.
Watkins Glen hosted the NASCAR Cup Series for another road course race in the 2022 campaign. Two more races were left before the beginning of the playoffs. With only one spot open, teams are scrambling to find a way to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Ryan Blaney is holding on as tight as he can to that last spot. If one more driver wins his first race on the season, it could be over for Ryan Blaney and his team.
Pole Sitter, Chase Elliott is Passed by Michael McDowell for the Early Lead
Chase Elliott was the heavy favorite coming into Sunday’s race for obvious reasons. He held the pole and jumped out to an early lead. Michael McDowell came from third place and made a pass for the lead two laps into the stage.
The track was wet to start the race and it did not take long to dry up. Many teams began coming down pit road to switch out the rain tires.
Tyler Reddick Takes Over the Lead; A Mistake Opens the Door for Chase Briscoe
Tyler Reddick took over the race lead as McDowell came down pit road. Reddick had a great stop and stayed ahead of McDowell. However, Reddick missed the turn leading into the interloop and had to serve a stop-and-go penalty.
Chase Briscoe moved into first place with six laps remaining and was able to lead all six laps to win the opening stage.
Joey Logano Cycles to the Lead to Open the Second Stage
Joey Logano cycled into the lead to begin the second segment and he paced the field throughout the stage. The second stage ran caution-free, but that does not mean it went without incident.
Tyler Reddick and Mike Rockenfeller both spun out in the chicane early in the stage. The caution flag was not waved as both were able to continue without issue.
Many drivers began coming down pit road right before the stage ended to set themselves up for the final stage. Joey Logano was not one of those drivers and he carried on with the lead to win the second stage.
After the Stage Break, Michael McDowell Cycles to Lead for the Start of the Third Stage
Michael McDowell cycled into the lead under the stage break. On the opening restart, Austin Dillon spun around in the chicane to bring out a quick caution. McDowell tried to hang on to his lead once the race returned to the green flag. However, he was quickly passed by Chase Elliott.
Chase Elliott versus Kyle Larson in the Third Stage
Elliott took control of the final stage. The field entered a green flag pitting cycle and Elliott was able to cycle back into the lead with eighteen laps remaining. Right after Elliott returned to the lead, Joey Hand spun out and was stuck in the sand pit.
On the next restart, Loris Hezemans spun out as well and had to be retrieved from the trap. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson lined up side by side on the final restart of the race.
The two barreled down into turn one not giving up an inch. Larson broke hard underneath Elliott and forced Chase to move up the track. This move gained Kyle Larson the lead with five laps remaining.
Chase Elliott was never able to recover, and Larson drove off with the lead. Kyle Larson was able to lead the final five laps to win at Watkins Glen.
Kyle Larson’s win at Watkins Glen spares Ryan Blaney an extra week to fend off any contenders for the last remaining playoff spot. However, this will not be an easy task for Blaney as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Daytona International Speedway for one final race in the regular season.
2022 is the second season where Daytona International Speedway is the site for the Regular Season cutoff race. With what lies in the balance, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona will have all eyes looking on in anticipation.