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Race report

NASCAR Cup Watkins Glen: Byron wins, Harvick and Keselowski book playoff spots

William Byron ended his summer slump with a dominant NASCAR Cup victory at Watkins Glen, as Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski became the latest pair to book playoff spots.

Byron, who had not finished better than 14th in the past five races, left little doubt in Sunday’s race, leading 66 of the 90 laps.

Byron cycled into the lead following an early caution in the final stage for team-mate Chase Elliott’s stalled car and cruised to a 2.632-second win over polesitter Denny Hamlin.

The victory for the #24 Hendrick Motorsports driver is a series-leading fifth triumph of the season and the ninth of his career. It’s also his first road course victory in the Cup series.

Hamlin, just ahead of Byron in the regular season standings, had to settle for second place ahead of fellow playoff contender Christopher Bell.

A.J. Allmendinger and Ty Gibbs, who still hold an outside shot of the playoffs, could only manage fourth and fifth respectively.

Overall points leader Martin Truex Jr came home in sixth ahead of a quartet of fellow playoff contenders Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

Next Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway is the final race in which a driver can win his way into the playoffs.

"Just a huge credit to the race team behind me. I want to thank Max Papis. This first road course win - we've worked years and years for this," Byron said. "Thanks to him. I know he's watching back home.

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

"I think it shows that when we're at our best, we can perform like this. We seem to go through that summer slump in July and August, and for some reason we just can't quite put the races together. I think it's the race tracks itself.

"Road courses have been tough, so it's fun to get a win."

Elliott’s season continued to underdeliver as he stopped on track on lap 53 when he ran out of fuel in his #9 Hendricks Motorsport Chevrolet, which caused a three-lap caution period.

It meant the 2020 NASCAR Cup champion must now win the final race of the regular season to make the playoffs.

NASCAR Cup - Watkins Glen race results

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Pits Points Retirement
1 United States W. Byron William Byron Hendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 90 1:58'44.505   4 59  
2 United States D. Hamlin Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 90 +2.632 2.632 5 52  
3 United States C. Bell Christopher Bell Joe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 90 +3.118 0.486 5 43  
4 United States A. Allmendinger A.J. Allmendinger Kaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 90 +4.066 0.948 5 45  
5
T. Gibbs Ty Gibbs Joe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 90 +4.482 0.416 5 47  
6 United States M. Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 90 +5.047 0.565 5 31  
7 United States C. Buescher Chris Buescher RFK Racing 17 Ford 90 +9.212 4.165 5 30  
8 United States T. Reddick Tyler Reddick 23XI Racing 45 Toyota 90 +13.773 4.561 5 30  
9 United States R. Blaney Ryan Blaney Team Penske 12 Ford 90 +17.320 3.547 5 28  
10 United States J. Logano Joey Logano Team Penske 22 Ford 90 +21.626 4.306 5 27  
11 United States T. Gilliland Todd Gilliland Front Row Motorsports 38 Ford 90 +22.738 1.112 5 26  
12 United States B. Wallace Bubba Wallace 23XI Racing 23 Toyota 90 +23.231 0.493 5 30  
13 United States R. Stenhouse Jr. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing 47 Chevrolet 90 +23.650 0.419 5 24  
14 United States K. Busch Kyle Busch Richard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 90 +23.985 0.335 5 28  
15 United States B. Keselowski Brad Keselowski RFK Racing 6 Ford 90 +24.226 0.241 5 22  
16 United States A. Cindric Austin Cindric Team Penske 2 Ford 90 +27.402 3.176 5 21  
17 United States R. Preece Ryan Preece Stewart-Haas Racing 41 Ford 90 +28.827 1.425 5 20  
18 United States R. Chastain Ross Chastain TrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 90 +30.082 1.255 5 19  
19 Germany M. Rockenfeller Mike Rockenfeller Legacy Motor Club 42 Chevrolet 90 +31.075 0.993 5 18  
20 United States C. Lajoie Corey Lajoie Spire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 90 +31.097 0.022 5 17  
21 United States K. Harvick Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 4 Ford 90 +31.340 0.243 5 16  
22 Mexico D. Suarez Daniel Suarez TrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 90 +32.080 0.740 6 15  
23 United States A. Bowman Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports 48 Chevrolet 90 +38.476 6.396 6 14  
24 United States J. Haley Justin Haley Kaulig Racing 31 Chevrolet 90 +39.639 1.163 5 13  
25 United States A. Lally Andy Lally Rick Ware Racing 15 Ford 90 +40.700 1.061 6 12  
26 United States K. Larson Kyle Larson Hendrick Motorsports 5 Chevrolet 90 +42.767 2.067 7 23  
27 United States J. Bilicki Josh Bilicki Live Fast Motorsports 78 Chevrolet 90 +45.021 2.254 4    
28 United States C. Custer Cole Custer Rick Ware Racing 51 Ford 90 +45.196 0.175 4    
29 United States E. Jones Erik Jones Legacy Motor Club 43 Chevrolet 90 +45.758 0.562 5 8  
30 United States A. Almirola Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing 10 Ford 90 +54.425 8.667 5 7  
31 United States A. Dillon Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 90 +1'01.118 6.693 4 7  
32 United States C. Elliott Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 89 +1 Lap 1 Lap 6 9  
33 United States H. Burton Harrison Burton Wood Brothers Racing 21 Ford 89 +1 Lap 28.747 5 4  
34 United States T. Dillon Ty Dillon Spire Motorsports 77 Chevrolet 89 +1 Lap 4.988 5 3  
35 United States C. Briscoe Chase Briscoe Stewart-Haas Racing 14 Ford 83 +7 Laps 6 Laps 8 2  
36 United States M. McDowell Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports 34 Ford 74 +16 Laps 9 Laps 9 11 Electrical

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