Larson sweeps the weekend with second Cup victory of 2022 at Watkins Glen

A day after emerging late for an Xfinity Series victory at Watkins Glen International, Kyle Larson benefitted through another late-race restart and outlasted a challenge from AJ Allmendinger to win the rain-delayed Go Bowling at The Glen on Sunday, August 21.

The reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion led the final five of 90-scheduled laps and was running in second place behind teammate Chase Elliott with 12 laps remaining before a caution for an on-track incident involving Joey Hand stacked up the field. Two restarts later, Larson executed a strong launch on the inside lane to overtake Elliott for the lead on a restart with five laps remaining. From there, he kept Allmendinger at bay as he went on to claim his second victory of the 2022 Cup Series season and earn additional momentum with the Playoffs looming and in his quest to defend his series title.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Chase Elliott pole position after posting a pole-winning lap at 124.857 mph in 70.477 seconds. Joining him on the front row was teammate Kyle Larson, winner of last year’s Cup event at The Glen, who posted his best qualifying lap at 123.939 mph in 70.516 seconds.

Prior to the event, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell dropped to the rear of the field for engine changes made to their respective cars. In addition, names like William Byron, Daniil Kyat, Ty Gibbs, Cody Ware and Kyle Tilley dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to their respective cars.

When the green flag waved and the race started amid a nearly two-hour delay due to lightning with the competitors starting on slick tires under a single-file restart formation amid wet conditions, the field quickly fanned out to multiple lanes entering the first turn as Elliott was out in front. Behind, Michael McDowell and Larson made contact, with the former assuming the runner-up spot. As the field made their way through the seven-turn circuit and back to the start/finish line, Elliott led the first lap followed by McDowell, Larson, Tyler Reddick and AJ Allmendinger. 

Then in Turn 1, Allmendinger got bumped by rookie Austin Cindric as he spun off the circuit without sustaining any significant damage. Soon after, Harrison Burton also spun in the first turn, but the event proceeded under green as Elliott retained the lead ahead of McDowell. 

During the second lap, Harrison Burton’s rough start went rougher as he spun for a second time in the first turn and plummeted below the leaderboard.

Then during the third lap, McDowell gained a strong run on Elliott through the first three turns as he moved his No. 34 Love’s Travel Stop Ford Mustang into the lead. Not long after, Tyler Reddick moved his No. 8 KC Motorgroup Ltd. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 into the runner-up spot while Elliott fell back to third ahead of teammate Larson.

Through the first five scheduled laps, McDowell was leading by four-tenths of a second over Reddick followed by Elliott, Chris Buescher and Daniel Suarez. Larson was mired back in sixth after he missed the Inner Loop and had to come to a full stop before proceeding while Cindric, Chase Briscoe, rookie Todd Gilliland and Ross Chastain were in the top 10. Austin Dillon was back in 11th followed by Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, Joey Hand, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ty Dillon, Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski, Kimi Räikkönen and Erik Jones. Ryan Blaney was in 21st ahead of William Byron, Kyle Busch, Mike Rockenfeller and Martin Truex Jr. while Cole Custer, Loris Hezemans, Christopher Bell, Corey LaJoie and Denny Hamlin, who was reporting engine issues, were in the top 30. Meanwhile, Ty Gibbs was in 31st ahead of AJ Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, Daniil Kyat and Cody Ware while Aric Almirola, Kyle Tilley, Harrison Burton and Justin Haley, who pitted to have his window net reattached, rounded out the 39-car field.

Two laps later and with the track conditions drying, Buescher pitted his No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang under green for slick tires while McDowell remained as the leader by seven-tenths of a second over Reddick. Another lap later, Briscoe pitted his No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang under green.

By the Lap 10 mark, McDowell continued to lead by six-tenths of a second over Reddick while Elliott, Gilliland and Suarez were scored in the top five. In addition, names like Bubba Wallace, Blaney, Cindric, Kyle Busch, Truex, Ty Dillon and Cody Ware pitted under green.

Two laps later, McDowell surrendered the lead to pit for slick tires as Reddick assumed the lead. Another lap later, Reddick pitted for slick tires as Elliott, who has yet to pit for slicks, assumed the lead followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Larson. Meanwhile, Briscoe, the first competitor on slicks, was in fourth while McDowell was in fifth. Following his pit stop, however, Reddick was forced to serve a “stop-and-go” on-track penalty for missing the inner loop.

Then on Lap 15, Briscoe overtook Elliott, who remained on wet tires, through Turn 5 to assume the lead with McDowell quickly pursuing behind. Meanwhile, Larson, who also remained on wet tires, had fallen back to 11th while being overtaken by competitors on slicks.

With two laps remaining in the first stage, Elliott, who was struggling on the track on wet tires but opted for a two-pit strategy, pitted his No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 under green along with teammate Larson, Christopher Bell, Cindric, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Blaney, Truex, Buescher and McDowell while Briscoe continued to lead. Following the pit stops, Cindric was penalized for speeding on pit road.

When the first stage concluded on Lap 20, Briscoe captured his fourth stage victory of the season. Reddick settled in second followed by Suarez, Gilliland, Chastain, Joey Logano, Ty Dillon, McDowell, Kyle Busch and Allmendinger. Despite settling in 23rd place in the first stage, Elliott clinched the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series regular-season championship.

Under the stage break, some led by Briscoe pitted while the rest led by Gilliland and Logano remained on the track.

The second stage started on Lap 23 under green. By then, the field returned to double-file restart formation as Gilliland and Logano occupied the front row. At the start, Gilliland briefly dueled with Logano before assuming full command of the field through the first four turns and approaching the Inner Loop. Behind, Logano was in second while Kyle Busch muscled his No. 18 Snickers Toyota TRD Camry into third place followed by McDowell and Ty Dillon.

At the Lap 25 mark, Gilliland was leading by half a second over Logano followed by Kyle Busch, McDowell and Ty Dillon while Joey Hand, Corey LaJoie, Custer, Räikkönen and Elliott were in the top 10.

Two laps later, Logano moved his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang into the lead followed by Kyle Busch, McDowell, Ty Dillon and Joey Hand while Gilliland, who initially lost the lead in the first turn before regaining it through the esses but losing it again through the carousel, pitted under green to address a broken axle.

By Lap 30, Logano was leading by half a second over Kyle Busch while McDowell, Ty Dillon and Joey Hand remained in the top five. Elliott was up in sixth followed by Custer, Räikkönen, Buescher and LaJoie while Larson, Bell, Loris Hezemans, Stenhouse, Blaney, Allmendinger, Truex, Chastain, Bowman and Mike Rockenfeller occupied the top 20.

A lap later, Reddick and Rockenfeller spun through the Inner Loop while battling for 20th place before both proceeded under green.

Through the first 35 scheduled laps, Logano retained the lead by eight-tenths of a second over Kyle Busch followed by McDowell, Elliott and Ty Dillon. Meanwhile, Joey Hand retained sixth ahead of Custer, Buescher, Larson and Räikkönen.

Soon after, names like Räikkönen, Truex, Loris Hezemans and LaJoie pitted under green while Logano remained as the leader by less than a second over Kyle Busch.

When the second stage concluded on Lap 40, Logano secured his fourth stage victory of the 2022 season after fending off Kyle Busch by half a second. McDowell settled in third followed by Elliott, Ty Dillon, Joey Hand, Buescher, Larson, Custer and Christopher Bell.

Under the stage break, names like Logano, Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon, Custer, Reddick, LaJoie, Bubba Wallace, Briscoe, Mike Rockenfeller, Cody Ware and Hamlin pitted while the rest led by McDowell and Elliott remained on the track.

With 46 laps remaining, the final stage started as McDowell and Elliott occupied the front row. At the start and with the field fanning out, McDowell, who nearly went off the course in the first turn, fended off Elliott and Joey Hand to retain the lead through the fourth turn and entering the esses. Then through the esses, a stack-up occurred towards the middle of the pack as Austin Dillon got turned and spun by Ross Chastain. At the same time, Hezemans made contact with Räikkönen, who got sent into the tire barriers as his strong debut in NASCAR’s premier series came to an end just shy of the halfway mark.

Photo by Patrick Sue-Chan for SpeedwayMedia.com.

“It was good fun,” Räikkönen said at the infield care center on USA Network. “I felt more confidence all the time. I had some good battles. It’s a shame. I think the car felt like it had a lot of speed in there, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

With 43 laps remaining, the race proceeded under green. At the start, McDowell retained the lead ahead of Elliott, who had Bell challenging him for third place as Larson was up in fourth ahead of Joey Hand. 

Two laps later, Elliott overtook McDowell on the outside lane approaching Turn 6 to assume the lead as Larson started to close in on the two leaders. 

With less than 40 laps remaining, Elliott was leading by more than a second over McDowell, who had Larson challenging him for the runner-up spot. Bell was in fourth followed by Joey Hand, who remained uncertain about completing the remainder of the event on his current fuel tank, while Allmendinger was up in sixth following his opening lap spin. Buescher, Stenhouse, Erik Jones and Blaney were in the top 10 while Suarez, Byron, Harvick, Justin Haley, Bowman, Logano, Chastain, Burton, Wallace and Brad Keselowski were in the top 20.

Then with 34 laps remaining, McDowell and Larson, both of whom were in second and third, pitted under green along with Erik Jones, Logano, Harvick and Truex as Elliott continued to lead. By then, Stenhouse, Reddick, Buescher and Joey Hand had made pit stops. Allmendinger, Chastain, Kyle Busch, Bell, Byron, Haley, Wallace, Ty Dillon, Hamlin and Blaney would soon pit.

With 32 laps remaining, the leader Elliott pitted under green as Custer, who has yet to pit, assumed the lead. Following his service, Elliott was able to exit pit road and remain ahead of teammate Larson, who pitted earlier.

Down to the final 25 laps of the event, Custer remained as the leader by more than 10 seconds over LaJoie followed by Austin Dillon and Mike Rockenfeller, all of whom still needing to pit prior to the event’s conclusion. Elliott, the first competitor on fresh tires and fuel, was in fifth while teammate Larson, McDowell, Kyle Busch, Logano and Allmendinger were in the top 10. By then, Chastain and Briscoe were straightening their cars after both spun through the Inner Loop.

A lap later, Custer surrendered the lead to pit under green while Austin Dillon was out in front by a mere margin over LaJoie while third-place Rockenfeller trailed by three seconds. Meanwhile, Elliott trailed in fourth place by four-and-a-half seconds while teammate Larson was in fifth. In addition, Cody Ware spun through the Inner Loop, but the race proceeded under green.

With 20 laps remaining, Austin Dillon was leading by a second over Elliott, who overtook LaJoie earlier and was closing in on Dillon’s rear bumper. A lap later, however, Elliott gained a strong run and overtook Dillon for the lead in Turn 5. Behind, Larson overtook Dillon’s No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to move into the runner-up spot as he started his bid on teammate Elliott for the lead and win.

Two laps later, Kyle Busch, who was running in ninth after rallying from restarting towards the rear of the field at the start of the final stage, got loose and spun in Turn 1 after running over the curb before hitting the Armco wall driver’s side before proceeding, cycling his way around the circuit and pitting under green. Back at the front, Elliott was leading by more than a second over teammate Larson while Austin Dillon retained third place ahead of McDowell and Allmendinger.

Then with 12 laps remaining, the caution flew when Joey Hand, who was having a stellar run within the top 10, got loose and spun entering Turn 1 before backing his No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang into the Armco barrier, though he continued with rear-end damage. By then, Austin Dillon pitted under green and Elliott was out in front by more than two seconds over teammate Larson.

During the caution period, names like while the rest led by teammates Elliott and Larson remained on the track.

Down to the final nine laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Elliott dueled and fended off teammate Larson to retain the lead and Allmendinger muscled his way into third place as the field scrambled for late positions. By then, McDowell, who was in third, got shuffled back to sixth.

During the following lap, the caution returned when Loris Hezemans spun and got his car stuck on the gravel trap in Turn 6.

With five laps remaining, the race proceeded under green. At the start, teammates Elliott and Larson dueled for the lead until Larson, who locked up the front tires and went briefly wide, managed to emerge with the lead ahead of teammate Elliott. In addition, Allmendinger moved into the runner-up spot as Logano and Reddick overtook Elliott through the Inner Loop. When the field returned to the start/finish line, Larson was ahead by half a second over Allmendinger and Elliott was mired back in fifth as the field scrambled for late positions.

Three laps later, Larson continued to lead by less than half a second over Allmendinger, who found himself pursuing Larson for a win at The Glen for a second consecutive day, while Logano, Elliott and Suarez were in the top five. Behind, Reddick and McDowell fell back to sixth and seventh while Bell, Buescher and Erik Jones were in the top 10.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Larson remained as the leader by nearly eight-tenths of a second over Allmendinger. Through the first four turns, Larson stabilized his steady advantage. While Allmendinger gained a small advantage through the Inner Loop, he could not close the gap through the final three turns as Larson managed to smoothly navigate his way back to the finish line and claim the checkered flag by eight-tenths of a second over Allmendinger.

With his second victory of the 2022 season, Larson joined Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose and teammate Chase Elliott as the only competitors to achieve back-to-back Cup victories at The Glen. He also became the eighth competitor to achieve multiple victories throughout this year’s regular-season stretch as he recorded his 18th career victory in NASCAR’s premier series and first since winning at Auto Club Speedway in February.

Photo by Patrick Sue-Chan for SpeedwayMedia.com.

“I knew that was my only opportunity [to beat Elliott in Turn 1],” Larson said on USA Network. “I’m not proud of it, but being in the inside lane or the right lane, being the leader, choosing the left lane, it definitely wins out. But when it gets too late in the race, it’s definitely risky. I felt like our cars were pretty equal today. [I] Had a lot of fun after the green-flag [pit] cycle trying to chase him down. Kind of burnt my stuff up a little bit, but the restarts kept me in it and 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. We haven’t had many of those this year. Hopefully, this [win] will build on some momentum and we can rack up some more points.”

Allmendinger recovered from his opening lap spin to methodically work his way to a strong runner-up result a day after finishing in the runner-up spot behind Larson in the Xfinity event at The Glen. Logano came home in third followed by Elliott, who led a race-high 29 laps and remained humble over the defeat, though he clinched the 2022 Cup Series regular-season championship.

“Huge congratulations to Kyle [Larson] and everybody on the No. 5 team,” Elliott said. “Congratulations to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for getting another win. [I] Appreciate Kelley Blue Book for being on our car this weekend. Proud of that and looking forward to next week.“ 

Suarez rounded out the top five in fifth while McDowell, Reddick, Bell, Buescher and Erik Jones completed the top 10 on the track.

There were 12 lead changes for nine different leaders. The race featured five cautions for 11 laps.

With one regular-season race remaining to this season, Chase Elliott, who secured the 2022 Cup Series regular-season championship, leads the regular-season standings by 134 points over teammate Kyle Larson and 143 over Ryan Blaney. 

Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe, Christopher Bell, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, rookie Austin Cindric and Kurt Busch have clinched spots for the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular-season stretch while Ryan Blaney occupies the 16th and final transfer spot to the Playoffs based on points by 25 points over Martin Truex Jr. The following competitors that include Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace, Chris Buescher, Justin Haley, Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Cole Custer, Brad Keselowski, Harrison Burton, Ty Dillon and Todd Gilliland control their fate in making the Playoffs by winning next weekend at Daytona.

Results.

1. Kyle Larson, five laps led

2. AJ Allmendinger

3. Joey Logano, 15 laps led, Stage 2 winner

4. Chase Elliott, 29 laps led

5. Daniel Suarez

6. Michael McDowell, 14 laps led

7. Tyler Reddick, two laps led

8. Christopher Bell

9. Chris Buescher

10. Erik Jones

11. Cole Custer, seven laps led

12. Kevin Harvick

13. Austin Cindric

14. Alex Bowman

15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

16. Ty Dillon

17. Austin Dillon, six laps led

18. Justin Haley

19. Brad Keselowski

20. Denny Hamlin

21. Ross Chastain

22. William Byron

23. Martin Truex Jr.

24. Ryan Blaney

25. Chase Briscoe, seven laps led, Stage 1 winner

26. Ty Gibbs

27. Corey LaJoie

28. Harrison Burton

29. Aric Almirola

30. Mike Rockenfeller

31. Joey Hand

32. Kyle Busch, one lap down

33. Loris Hezemans, one lap down

34. Cody Ware, two laps down

35. Bubba Wallace – OUT, Suspension

36. Daniil Kvyat, 32 laps down

37. Kimi Räikkönen – OUT, Accident

38. Todd Gilliland – OUT, Rear end

39. Kyle Tilley – OUT, Steering

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series regular-season stretch is set to cap off next weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero Sugar 400. The event is scheduled to occur on Saturday, August 27, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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