Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia
Race report
NASCAR Cup Watkins Glen

Larson moves Elliott to win Watkins Glen NASCAR Cup race

Kyle Larson outdueled his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott on the final restart and held on to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Elliott led the way and had the inside lane on a restart with five of 90 laps remaining with Larson alongside him.

As the two exited Turn 1, Larson appeared to lock up his brakes and drifted to the left, which forced Elliott wide and allowed Larson to move into the lead.

Then, in what seemed to be a repeat of the finish of Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, Larson had to hold off a furious challenge from A.J. Allmendinger and finally cleared him by 0.882 seconds to take the victory.

It’s just the second win of the 2022 season for Larson, the 2021 season champion. His previous victory came at Auto Club Speedway, the second race of the year.

The win is also the 18th of Larson’s career.

“I knew that was kind of my only opportunity. I’m not proud of it. But being in the inside lane, the right lane, being the leader, choosing the left lane, it definitely wins out,” Larson said. “But when it gets to late in the race, it’s definitely risky.

“I felt like our cars were pretty equal today. Had a lot of fun after the green flag cycle trying to chase him down. Kind of burnt my stuff up a little bit. The restarts kept me in it, kept our team in it.

“Proud of our guys. Good to get another win here at Watkins Glen, get some more bonus points going into the playoffs, which we haven’t had many of those this year.”

Larson said he expected at some point to talk out the late-race contact with Elliott.

“I’m sure, yeah, we would ultimately have a conversation. We have a competition meeting tomorrow,” Larson said. “I mean, I think if I was in his shoes, I would understand the risk that I’m taking choosing left lane also.

“Again, like I said, I’m not proud of it, but it’s what I felt like I had to do to get the win.”

Joey Logano ended up third, Elliott finished fourth and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher and Erik Jones.

Sunday’s race was the most internationally diverse in Cup Series history with seven different countries represented, including former Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen was involved in an accident on Lap 45 and was credited with a 37th-place finish.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, several lead-lap cars pit with Logano the first off pit road.

McDowell stayed on the track and inherited the lead. On the restart on Lap 45, McDowell was followed by Elliott, Joey Hand, Buescher and Larson.

As the cars went through the inner loop on the Lap 45 restart, Austin Dillon spun off course after contact with Ross Chastain to bring out a caution. Behind them, Raikkonen veered off to the left and smashed into the tire barrier.

The wreck brought an end to the first career Cup Series start for Raikkonen, a former Formula 1 World Champion.

 

On the restart on Lap 48, McDowell remained out front followed by Elliott and Larson.

Elliott got by McDowell in the carousel to reclaim the lead on Lap 49.

Buescher, Hand and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were among the first drivers to hit pit road for a green-flag stop on Lap 56 to take new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race.

Both Chase Briscoe and Chastain ran off course in the inner loop on Lap 65 but both were able to return to the track and continue without a caution.

With 20 laps remaining, Austin Dillon led the way but still had to pit one more time for new tires and fuel. Elliott was second, the first of the cars who had made their final stop.

Once the cycle of green-flag stops was completed, Elliott moved back into the lead on Lap 72.

Busch spun in Turn 1 on Lap 74 and hit the wall but was able to return to the track and continue without a caution.

With 15 laps to go, Elliott led Larson by 1.7 seconds as McDowell ran third, more than 10 seconds behind the leader.

Hand spun entering Turn 1 on Lap 79 and slammed into the tire barrier to bring out the fifth caution of the race.

A handful of cars elected to pit but Elliott remained on the track and in the lead. On the restart on Lap 82, Elliott was followed by Larson, McDowell, Allmendinger and Reddick.

Loris Hezemans spun off Turn 6 and ended up in the gravel pit which forced NASCAR to throw a caution on Lap 84.

The race returned to green with five laps to go with Elliott out front followed by Larson, Allmendinger, Logano and Reddick.

Larson and Elliott raced side-by-side off Turn 1 and the two made contact as Larson powered into the lead.

Read Also:

Stage 2

Logano held off Busch to win Stage 2, his fourth stage victory of the 2022 season.

McDowell was third, Elliott fourth and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five. Raikkonen pit before the stage break and was 28th.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, several lead-lap cars elected to pit but Todd Gilliland remained on the track and inherited the lead. NASCAR resumed double-file restarts for the start of Stage 2.

Just after Logano got around Gilliland for the lead on Lap 28, Gilliland fell off the pace with what he described as a “broken axle.” He limped around the track to pit road.

On Lap 32, Reddick spun off course in the inner loop. He was able to re-fire and continue in the race.

With five laps remaining in the first stage, Logano held almost a 1-second lead over Busch as McDowell ran third.

Several teams hit pit road for new tires and fuel before the end of the stage, including Raikkonen, Truex, and Hezemans.

Stage 1

Briscoe, among the first to switch from wet to slick tires, cruised to the Stage 1 win over Reddick.

Suarez was third, Gilliland fourth and Chastain rounded out the top-five. Raikkonen ended up 19th after starting 27th.

After a nearly 2-hour delay for lightning and heavy rain in the area, the race got underway as teams started on wet weather tires. All starts and restarts were ordered to be single file.

Elliott started on the pole and led the first lap.

Allmendinger got knocked off course in Turn 1 by Austin Cindric on Lap 2 but was able to continue.

On Lap 4, McDowell powered past Elliott entering the esses to take the lead as Reddick moved to third.

Larson missed the inner loop and had to serve a stop-and-go penalty on the track on Lap 5.

Buescher was the first driver to pit for slick tires on Lap 8 as the track began to quickly dry out.

Chase Briscoe, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch and Logano soon followed to pit road.

McDowell made his stop for slick tires on Lap 12.

On Lap 15, Reddick missed the inner loop and had to serve a stop-and-go penalty on the track.

Once all the cars had changed to slick tires, Briscoe emerged as the leader on Lap 16.

Cindric was penalized for speeding on pit road during a late-stage green-flag stop and had to start Stage 2 from the rear of the field.

Busch and Bell had to start from the rear of the field due to engine changes.

Ty Gibbs, William Byron, Daniil Kvyat, Cody Ware and Kyle Tilley had to start from the rear due to unapproved adjustments.

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Kimi Raikkonen wrecks out of NASCAR Cup debut
Next article Elliott keeps anger with loss at The Glen mostly to himself

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia