Kyle Larson held off a hard-charging Chase Elliott for his first ever win at Watkins Glen, and his Cup series-leading 5th win.
With Elliott starting from the rear for failing pre-race inspection, Larson was one of the favorites to win the race.
But, first he had to get past Martin Truex, Jr.
Truex led a race high 34 laps and won Stage 2. But during a three way battle for the lead with Truex, Christopher Bell and Larson, Larson and Bell made contact giving Larson the space he needed to run down the 19 car.
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Bell went on to finish 7th and you have to wonder how the race would have evolved had no contact been made because Bell was pressing Truex hard for the lead at that point. Bell was playing the good teammate in holding Larson off of Truex but there is no doubt he would take the lead from Truex as soon as the opportunity showed itself. But going into the corner, Larson had the inside position on Bell who pinched down giving Larson no room. The ensuing minor contact sent Bell out of the groove and gave Larson the room to chase down Truex.
Had Bell to do it all over again, he might give Larson a little more room inside and race him from third rather than losing several positions.
Elliott drove his way to the front but the charge forward was just too little too late. Had he been in that position say 10 laps earlier, we might have seen a real battle for the win between two of the best road course drivers in the series.
Kyle Busch Watch
Kyle finished 4th but led no laps. All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars finished in the Top 10. The road course at Indy should prove a good challenge for Busch before the final two races.
- Good on ya, mate
- As mentioned, Chase Elliott (P2) for coming from the last row to nearly winning the race.
- Martin Truex, Jr. (P3) for flexing his muscle heading to the playoffs.
- Denny Hamlin (P5) for staying in the hunt for the regular season title, without a win.
- Kevin Harvick (P8) for staying strong in a season without a win to date.
- Chase Briscoe (P9) for fighting in the Top 10 all day.
- Tyler Reddick (P10) for fighting for the last playoff position. Three more good races should cement his playoff run.
- Matt DiBenedetto (P11) just missed another Top 10.
- Ross Chastain (P12) got good news on his 2022 seat and followed that up with a good run.
- So you had a bad day
- Brad Keselowski (P35) couldn’t keep his car pointed straight.
- Daniel Suarez (P31) had another race full of bad luck.
- Ryan Newman (P25) didn’t do much to help convince his new boss to keep him employed.
- Joey Logano (P22) was doing OK until Keselowski took him out. After that, none of the Penske cars had a great day after starting 1, 2, 3.
- Alex Bowman (P20), remember him?
- Austin Dillon (P15) was a driver I had pegged on having a pretty decent season. Well his future is in his hands right now as he fights teammate Reddick for the final playoff position. He needs to out-point Reddick over the final three races or he is toast.
Bob Jenkins passes
Longtime race broadcaster Bob Jenkins passed away from cancer at the age of 73. His legendary prowess in the booth as a true race fan came through to viewers in both NASCAR and Indy car. We wish his family peace as they go through this difficult time.
The Indy Road Course. This will be all new for the drivers and brings fan favorite AJ Allmendinger out for another race. Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and MTJ all have to be considered contenders. Kyle Busch has had several good runs as of late and this could be another strong effort. Christopher Bell has to be considered as a potential Top 10 after he ran so well at Watkins Glen. Team Penske needs to do better after a forgettable Glen race. The forecast is for partly cloudy and 82°. That is good race weather for Indy.
What’s YOUR thoughts? Leave ’em below in the comments section.