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Kyle Larson goes elbows out to secure victory in NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen

  • / Updated:
  • Paul Russo 

For the second day in a row, Kyle Larson took victory at Watkins Glen. Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series win for Larson is one that will remain fresh in the minds for days to come. On the final restart with five laps to go, Larson shoved Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott wide in turn one and didn’t look back.

The race was delayed at the start, at the conclusion of driver introductions lightning struck within the eight-mile radius of the track. Once the 30-minute window expired another strike pushed the start back even further. The sellout crowd was more than willing to wait as they were treated to only the third Cup Series event to race in the rain. Surviving the start of the race and transition from wet to dry conditions were key. Elliott and Larson, along with their crew chiefs nailed the execution as they were the dominate cars all race long.

Following a spin in turn six with eight laps remaining, the final restart was pivotal to collecting the checkered flag. After forcing Elliott wide, Larson once again was tailed by A.J. Allmendinger. Much like Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, Allmendinger never could quite reach the rear bumper of Larson. Allmendinger would once again settle for second place. Joey Logano, Elliott, and Daniel Suarez would complete the top five finishers.

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A late race restart is controlled by Chase Elliott (Car 9) and Michael McDowell to his inside. Credit: Staff Photo.

International NASCAR history made at the Glen

A record seven nationalities competed in a NASCAR race Sunday at Watkins Glen. All drivers in the race except the next six are from the United States. Mexico’s Daniel Suarez was the highest finishing international driver. The Cup Series regular finished fifth. The next highest international finisher was Mike Rockenfeller of Germany. Rockenfeller ran within the top five at moments, but strategy and caution flags dropped him to position 30. Loris Hezemans of the Netherlands finished position 33. Daniil Kvyat, a former Formula 1 driver from Russia finished in 33rd. Kyle Tilley from the United Kingdom finished in 39th after mechanical issues forced him to retire.

The biggest name in the group was Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion, would have the strongest showing of the group. After starting in 27th, he climbed to the top 10. Raikkonen was running behind Cup Series regular Austin Dillon when Dillon spun exiting the bus stop section. Raikkonen spun in avoidance and hit the barrier exiting the bus stop. The damage was too much and forced Raikkonen to retire. He received to round of applause from the Watkins Glen faithful. Raikkonen was credited with a 37th place finish.