Watkins Glen winners and losers

0 Comments

A look at the winners and losers from the weekend at Watkins Glen International:

WINNERS

Kyle LarsonHe ended a five-race winless “drought” with his series-high fifth victory of the season. He has finished first or second in eight of the last 12 races. His efforts have led him to tie Denny Hamlin for the points lead. Three races remain in the regular season.

Hendrick Motorsports — For the fifth time in 23 races — an occurrence happening more than 20% of the time this season — Hendrick cars finished first and second in a race. Chase Elliott placed second to winner Kyle Larson. Also, William Byron finished sixth, tying his best road course finish.

Kyle BuschHis fourth-place finish is his fifth top-five finish in the last six races. The only blemish is New Hampshire when he hit the wall in the rain before NASCAR called a caution for the weather.

Tyler Reddick He placed 10th and scored seven stage points. That allowed him to extend his lead by 10 points to 15 on Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon for the final playoff spot.

Ty GibbsOvercame challenges from Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger — arguably the two best road course racers in the Xfinity Series — to win Saturday’s Xfinity race. The 18-year-old Gibbs has won three of his 10 Xfinity starts in his partial season in the series. His three wins have come at tracks rich in racing history: Daytona, Charlotte and Watkins Glen.

LOSERS

Brad KeselowskiYes, it could have been worse, but Sunday was awful for the pole-sitter. He spun twice and slid through Turn 1 another time. One of his spins sent him careening into the back of teammate Joey Logano. Keselowski finished 35th in the 37-car field and Logano, who won stage 1, saw his race ruined by the contact and placed 22nd.

Christopher BellHe left Watkins Glen frustrated after contact from Kyle Larson spun him in the final stage. Bell felt he had a race-winning car. Instead, he finished seventh. Still a good performance but that was of little consolation to him immediately after the race. His day got off to a bad start. Crew chief Adam Stevens was ejected and Bell was docked 10 points for inspection violations that led NASCAR to confiscate parts. He also had to start at the rear.

Chase Elliott and team — Elliott took the blame for finishing second. It’s hard to consider such a finish a losing effort, but the bar is high with Elliott, who had won seven of his 16 career Cup races on road courses before Sunday. He pitted on Lap 30 after he flat-spotted his tires but fought back from that. His day didn’t get off to a good start. Crew chief Alan Gustafson was ejected and Elliott was docked 10 points for inspection violations that led NASCAR to confiscate parts. He also had to start at the rear.