The biggest story during the Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International was the fight between Joe Gibbs’ Ty Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron. These two drivers seemed to be the favorites to win, but a stunning wreck knocked them out of the competition.
The accident occurred with five laps remaining. Gibbs was inside Byron while they were fighting to get the Commander into the bus stop. The number 54 was disassembled and rolled while collecting the number 17 in the process. Both drivers went off the track as Kyle Larson jumped ahead, ahead of AJ Allmendinger.
Larson, who started at the rear of the field due to pre-race adjustments, proceeded to turn off the Allmendinger’s road track. He drove the last five laps and captured the checkered flag. This was his first Xfinity Series win since the 2018 season when he won four times at Chip Ganassi Racing.
“My only shot was really if 54 and 17 had started the race,” Larson said after making a celebratory fatigue. “I just wanted to help William at the front, and then they fought and got together. The seas separated and I was able to cross over there.”
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Larson added to NASCAR Achievements List
The win at Watkins Glen International was Larson’s first since the 2018 season and thirteenth of his Xfinity Series career. It was also the first time he hit Victory Lane in the series on a NASCAR road course.
All of Larson’s previous Xfinity Series wins have occurred on a variety of ovals. The list includes Daytona International Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, and Pocono Racecourse among others. However, he has only had two of his top five finals in road training sessions.
Larson had his previous two best finishes on a road course that were years apart. He placed third overall at Watkins Glen International in 2016 while driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. His second place finish came in fifth earlier in the 2022 season when he finished second behind Gibbs at Road America while driving Hendrik Motorsports’ #17 Chevrolet.
Larson opens new ground for JR . motorsport
The win at Watkins Glen International was huge for Larson as it helped him achieve another goal. It was just as important to JR Motorsports, the team that put the #88 Chevrolet on the track.
The Xfinity Series team entered the race this weekend without a win at Watkins Glen International. Larson cut that streak on August 20 when he became the first driver since Dale Earnhardt Jr. In 2016 he places number 88 on Victory Lane after racing the Xfinity Series.
Besides breaking the no-win streak, Larson has helped JR Motorsports make a historic mark. He achieved his ninth organization win for the 2022 season while joining Noah Gregson (three), Justin Algaer (three) and Josh Perry (two).
This ties into the 2014 season when a diverse group of drivers won nine races for JR Motorsports. Contributors included Kevin Harvick (four), Chase Elliott (three), Reagan Smith (one), and Casey Kahn (one). Elliott went on to win the Xfinity Series while Smith finished second in the standings.
There are still 11 races in the Xfinity Series season, seven of which take place during the playoffs. There is no guarantee that a JR Motorsports entry will make it to Victory Lane and take the record win, but the team must continue to compete.
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