For the second day in a row, fans at Watkins Glen International were treated to a thrilling finish. In a case of déjà vu, the dominating cars failed to finish the race one-two. Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson took home the victory in his 88 Chevy. Larson had speed but could never get the needed track position until opportunity presented itself. Larson’s Cup Series teammate William Byron, and Xfinity Series regular Ty Gibbs wrecked from the lead position with five laps remaining.
Byron and Gibbs dominated the first 78 laps of the race. Swapping the lead numerous times between them, a late race caution proved to be too much to handle for the young stars. After struggling for grip entering turn one on the restart, Byron and Gibbs handled the Esses with ease. Larson tried to help Byron by bump drafting down the back stretch. Entering the famous bus stop, Byron took the inside line right, while Gibbs would have the inside on the switchbacks left. Neither would see the end of the bus stop in the right direction. Gibbs took too much curb on the first left and lost control under Byron. Byron would then enter the spin cycle with Gibbs on exit of the bus stop. Cruising by the spinning two-some were Larson, A.J. Allmendinger, and Sammy Smith.
Larson, Allmendinger, and Smith would be nose-to-tail the remaining four laps of the race. Allmendinger was only able to muster one deep lunge into turn one with three laps left on Larson, who was able to hold position. At the end of the 82-lap event, Larson, Allmendinger, and Smith all held serve and finished one-two-three respectively. Rounding out the top five were Noah Gragson and Kaz Grala.
One race remains this weekend at Watkins Glen. The NASCAR Cup Series takes the green flag at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Coverage of the race can be found on USA Network. Stay tuned to FingerLakes1.com for more coverage throughout the weekend!
Paul is a producer responsible for production of podcasts and streamed content on our network. This includes Finger Lakes Today, FingerLakes1.com’s flagship daily live program. He hosts the Concrete Jungle podcast, too. Have a question? Send it to [email protected].