At Watkins Glen International, William Byron delivered a dominating performance in the NASCAR Cup Series, securing his series-leading fifth victory of the season. Driving the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Byron led 66 of the 90 laps, including the final 33, to claim his first win on a road course in his Cup career.
Byron overtook Michael McDowell early in the race and maintained control for the rest of the event. Denny Hamlin finished second, followed by Christopher Bell in third, AJ Allmendinger in fourth, and Ty Gibbs in fifth.
The race marked the penultimate event of NASCAR’s regular season. Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth but failed to lock up the regular-season title, setting up a battle with Denny Hamlin for the title in the final regular-season race at Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona race will be the last opportunity for many drivers, including fan favorite Chase Elliott, to secure a spot in the 16-car playoffs. Elliott, a two-time winner at Watkins Glen, faced disappointment after running out of fuel with 36 laps to go, losing a lap and the chance to secure a playoff spot. He now needs a win at Daytona to extend his streak of eight consecutive playoff appearances.
Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez, and Ty Gibbs are also vying for the 16th and final playoff spot. Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski locked up playoff berths at Watkins Glen, while Byron’s repeat win added to the list of playoff qualifiers.
The NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Daytona for the regular-season finale, with drivers racing for their playoff positions. Austin Dillon is the defending race winner at the Daytona regular-season finale.
Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons / Watkins Glen, NY