Before the race began, most of the talk was that Kyle Busch would be the car to beat Sunday afternoon. Many were also pointing to Martin Truex Jr. as another car that had a good chance to challenge for the win. However, in a pre-race driver interview Kyle pointed out that people should keep an eye on the #9 driven by Chase Elliott in the race.
Early in the race the garage talk seemed to be right on the money. Kyle took the lead of the race on the second lap and held it until choosing to pit just before the end of stage one. When Kyle pitted it moved Martin Truex Jr. to the lead and the win of stage one.
The second stage of the race saw Kyle move back to the lead early. However, Chase was able to race past Kyle to take over the lead and keep it until he scored the win in stage two.
The third and final stage of the race saw Chase back out front to start. However, it was Kyle that took the lead from Chase this time. During the final round of pit stops the #18 Toyota got only a few gallons of gas into the tank due to an issue fueling during the stop. That meant he had to come back to pit road to get fuel to have enough to make it to the end of the race. That allowed Chase to get back out front and lead the race.
Chase held the lead in the race at Watkins Glen International for a race high 52 of the 90 laps in the race. While Kyle Busch was racing back through the field after the pit row miscue, Martin Truex Jr. raced up to second place and was putting pressure on Chase to get around and take the win away.
The closing laps of the race saw the defending cup series champion racing right behind the #9 Chevrolet trying to force a Chase to make a mistake. Martin actually made a mistake first allowing Chase to get out to a sizable lead. While Chase did make a small mistake after that, he had enough of a lead that Martin was only able to get back up behind Chase, not around him. When the #78 Toyota ran out of gas on the final lap it allowed Chase to race to the checkered flag with no pressure for the last quarter of a lap or so. Chase ran out of fuel himself on his victory lap around the 2.45-mile track. He got a push back to the front stretch to celebrate his win for the 7-time NASCAR Champion and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.
I pointed out earlier that Chase was following in his father’s footsteps in multiple ways. Bill got his first NASCAR Cup Series win after scoring eight second place finishes. Chase has scored eight runner-up finishes prior to Sunday afternoon’s win in the cup series. Bill’s first win in NASCAR’s top division also came on a road course just as his son’s did yesterday. Watch a re-cap video of the race at Watkins Glen Intentional at the top of the page.
Even though he ran out of gas, Martin Truex Jr. was able to coast to a second place finish at The Glen. Kyle Busch rebounded from the pit road issue to finish third with Daniel Suarez claiming fourth place and Erik Jones crossing the finish line in fifth place. See the complete race results for the Go Bowling at The Glen here.
Kyle Busch holds pat in the lead in the point standings. Kevin Harvick (2nd place) and Martin Truex Jr. (3rd place) also hold steady for another week. Kurt Busch makes a jump up to forth place in the standings while Clint Bowyer remains the driver in fifth place for another week. See the complete Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
By: Buck Stevens