The winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Watkins Glen International has been a regular visitor to Victory Lane this year.
Kyle Larson extended his series lead with his fifth win of the 2021 season in the Go Bowling at The Glen road race. Larson cruised to the checkered flag after building a large lead in Stage 3.
Larson also pulled into a tie with Denny Hamlin for the lead in the point standings. The regular-season champion receives a berth in NASCAR’s playoffs but Larson is already assured of a spot as a race winner. Hamlin is winless in 23 races this year.
Larson’s victory was good news for Hamlin and drivers closer to the playoff bubble. With 13 different race winners thus far, three berths in the 16-driver field remain open with three races remaining in the regular season. Right now those spots belong to Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick.
Below is more about Larson’s win Sunday, plus the complete results of the race.
Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?
Kyle Larson made it five wins on the season with a 2.430-second victory over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott. Larson had built a lead more than double that during Stage 3, but lapped traffic in front of him and Elliott behind him made things dicey for a few minutes.
“Chase was already catching me pretty quick, even with me being in open track so when I caught those, I think, four (lapped) cars and got into the 38 (Anthony Alfredo) right here, I thought I would look at my mirror and the 9 (Elliott) would be right on me, but thankfully had a comfortable enough gap to where I could make a mistake like that,” Larson said, per NASCAR.com.
Elliott, the two-time defending race winner, finished second despite starting at the rear of the field. He was sent there because his No. 9 car failed prerace inspection twice.
“I made too many mistakes to get the win unfortunately, and made it too late in the race,” he said, per NASCAR.com.
Larson and Elliott have finished 1-2 four times this season.
NASCAR results from Watkins Glen
Kyle Larson gave Hendrick Motorsports its 11th win in 23 races this season. All four Hendrick drivers have at least one win in 2021.
The rest of the top 10 after Larson and Elliott: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe and Tyler Reddick.
Hamlin, Harvick and Reddick hold the three open playoff spots for the moment, but they could be bumped off the bubble if they remain winless and first-time winners emerge in each of the next three races. Hamlin could still get in by winning the regular-season points title.
Reddick is fighting just to stay in the top 16 of the projected playoff field. He leads Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon by 15 points for the 16th spot. Harvick is 95 points ahead of Dillon.
The Cup Series will make history next weekend when it races for the first time on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Verizon 200 at The Brickyard is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 15 (NBC, TSN 3 & 5, IMS Radio).
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