WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Kyle Larson cruised to his series-high fifth Cup win of the season, while Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott came from the back of the field to finish second Sunday at Watkins Glen International.
It marks the third time among Larson’s five wins this season that Elliott has finished second to his teammate. Among Elliott’s two wins this year, Larson finished second to Elliott once.
“Awesome job guys,” Larson radioed his team after Sunday’s race.
Elliott apologized to his crew, telling his team on the radio: “You deserved it big time.”
Larson told NBC Sports about the key to his most successful Cup season: “It really just shows how good the organization is, all the people that they’ve assembled at their race shop, all the men and women. All four of us (at Hendrick Motorsports) could not be getting these wins like we have been without them.”
Larson’s win puts him in a tie with Denny Hamlin for the points lead with three races left in the regular season.
Elliott had won the past two races at Watkins Glen but started at the back for an inspection violation that also led to the ejection of crew chief Alan Gustafson, among other penalties. Elliott had to avoid a spinning Ryan Newman on the second lap in Turn 1.
Elliott scored two points in the opening stage. In the second stage, he pitted on Lap 30 after he flat-spotted his tires. He climbed into the top 10 on Lap 52. Elliott passed Kyle Busch for third on Lap 71. He passed Truex for second on Lap 82.
“I made too many mistakes to get the win, unfortunately, and made it too late in the race,” Elliott told NBC Sports. “Super proud of our team. Been kind of an uphill battle all day.”
STAGE 1 WINNER: Joey Logano
STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Chase Briscoe finished ninth for his third career top-10 Cup finish. All three have come on road courses. … William Byron‘s sixth-place finish ties his best result on a road course. … Christopher Bell‘s seventh-place finish marked his fourth consecutive top 10.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brad Keselowski, who started on the pole, had a rough day that included multiple spins. He finished 35th. Keselowski spun from the lead coming to the competition caution on Lap 10. He fell back to sixth but lost more track position when he pitted for tires and most of the top 20 stayed out. Keselowski slid through Turn 1 shortly before the end of stage 1. He spun in Turn 1 on Lap 56 and slid into teammate Joey Logano.
NOTABLE: The top seven finishers were either Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing cars.
NEXT: The series holds its inaugural race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course at 1 p.m. ET Aug. 15 on NBC.