NASCAR Cup at Watkins Glen: Kyle Larson Completes Perfect Weekend; retirement for Kimi Räikkönen (+ video)

Sunday August 21, 2022 by Julie Bouchard

Two in two! Kyle Larson won his second victory of the season in the NASCAR Cup series on Sunday at the Watkins Glen circuit in New York State. It is also the second victory in two days for Larson, who won yesterday on this same road circuit at the end of the Xfinity series event.

This Sunday, Larson got the better of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) teammate Chase Elliott on the final restart to win. The overtaking caused a bit of controversy but not at the level of the drivers involved. Larson indeed pushed Elliott off the track after locking the wheels at the first corner, for which he apologized as soon as he crossed the finish line while Elliott wanted to congratulate his teammate!

Larson led just five of 90 laps in Go Bowling at The Glen. He won with 882 thousandths of a second ahead of AJ Allmendinger (Chevrolet / Kaulig Racing). It is also the 18th victory of his career in the NASCAR Cup series. Allmendinger finished 2nd after spinning on lap 2. He finished ahead of Joey Logano (Ford/Team Penske), Elliott and Daniel Suárez, the first of the Trackhouse Racing drivers (Chevrolet) to complete the Top 5.

For the other pilots of Justin Marks’ team, it was more difficult. If Ross Chastain finished 21st, Kimi Räikkönen had to retire following a collision which sent him into the wall of tires on the 45th of the 90 laps. Qualified 27th, the F1 world champion (2007) had had a good race so far. 15th after 10 laps, he closed the first segment in 19th. From the start of the second, Räikkönen climbed into the Top 10 but during a restart at the end of this segment, the collision and then the impact against the tire wall broke the steering of his No.91 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet. .

No less than 7 nationalities – a record for the series – were represented at Watkins Glen during this NASCAR Cup series race. In addition of course to the United States, Räikkönen (Finland) and Suárez (Mexico), who is racing the whole season, we found on the track Mike Rockenfeller (Germany, DTM champion and winner of the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans), Daniil Kvyat (Russia, former Red Bull F1 driver), Loris Hezemans (Netherlands, double Euro NASCAR champion) and Kyle Tilley (Great Britain, Endurance and rally driver; he won the Big White Rally, a contested Canadian Championship event in British Columbia last year!).

Rockenfeller finished 30th after being involved in a collision with Tyler Reddick and managed to climb up to 4th place with the small team Spire Motorsports Chevrolet, Hezemans 33rd and Kvyat 36th. Tiley was the first to retire, due to management issues. He was ranked 39th.

It was Chase Elliott who qualified in pole position. The 2020 champion led 29 laps and secured the regular season title after Stage 1. Only one event remains in the 26-race NASCAR Cup Series regular season. The peloton of 16 pilots qualified for the playoffs will then be known after this event scheduled for next Saturday evening on the oval of the Daytona International Speedway.

It should also be noted that this Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen started almost two hours late, due to the risk of lightning and excessive rain. When the green flag was finally waved, the riders covered the first 20 laps on wet tires before switching to slick tires, with the track then remaining dry until the finish.

Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Chris Buescher and Erik Jones completed the Top 10. Kevin Harvick (Ford/Stewart-Haas Racing), who was aiming for a third victory in three events, had to settle for 12th place. For the full ranking, click here. And for the summary in pictures, see the video below…

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