Kyle Larson Joins Joey Logano on Historic NASCAR List

Kyle Larson

Getty Chase Elliott has joined a historic list at Watkins Glen International.

The race weekend at Watkins Glen International was historic for Kyle Larson. The Hendrick Motorsports driver won the Xfinity Series and Cup Series races while joining a unique list.

Larson’s two wins at Watkins Glen marked the second time that a NASCAR driver swept the Xfinity Series and Cup Series races at the New York track. Logano is the last driver to achieve this goal. He drove the No. 12 Team Penske Ford during the Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2015. Logano started on the pole, led 39 laps, and held off Brad Keselowski to secure the win.

One day later, Logano returned to the track. He drove his No. 22 Team Penske Ford from the 16th position, and he only led one lap before beating Kyle Busch and the rest of the Cup Series drivers to capture his second trophy of the weekend.

The 2022 iteration played out in a fascinating way. Larson ran third at Watkins Glen behind William Byron and Ty Gibbs, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver spun out and collected them both. Larson then proceeded to maintain his lead over the final laps while AJ Allmendinger attempted to chase him down.

One day later, it was Larson who used an aggressive move in Turn 1 to move Chase Elliott out of the way and take the lead. He jumped to the front of the pack with mere laps remaining while Allmendinger took the second position once again. The two skilled drivers battled with Larson ultimately taking his second win of the weekend.

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Larson Acknowledged His Aggressive Move

The move obviously created conversations among racing fans and industry members. They wanted to know if Larson had locked up his wheels or if he had purposely used his aggressive move to take the lead late.

“I knew that was probably my only opportunity,” Larson told NBC Sports after climbing out of his No. 5 Chevrolet. “I’m not proud of it. Being the leader, choosing the left lane evens out but this late in the race it’s risky. I knew that was my only shot to get by him.”

Elliott was clearly upset after missing out on the opportunity to secure his fifth win of the season. He was very animated while talking to both team owner Rick Hendrick and vice chairman Jeff Gordon. Though he shied away from any angry comments during his post-race interview.

“Just a huge congratulations to Kyle and everybody on the 5 team,” Elliott said. “Congratulations to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for getting another win and appreciate Kelley Blue Book for being on our car this weekend.”

This Win Was Significant for Larson’s Title Defense

Kyle Larson

GettyKyle Larson gained some crucial points in the playoff chase.

Larson entered the race weekend at Watkins Glen International as the projected fourth seed in the playoffs. He had secured some bonus points by winning three stages, as well as the race at Auto Club Speedway, but he was below both Ross Chastain and Joey Logano.

The win at Watkins Glen International changed the conversation. Larson moved up the leaderboard with five more bonus points. He took the second spot in points from Ryan Blaney, who remains winless after Watkins Glen, which gives him a cushion entering the playoffs.

The opening round will provide Larson with opportunities to gain even more points considering his past success at the tracks. He hasn’t won at Darlington Raceway, but he has five top-five finishes in nine starts.

The second race in the Round of 16, which takes place at Kansas Speedway, was an important race during the 2021 playoffs. Larson started on the pole and led 130 laps before winning. He then finished second during the 2022 race after a late battle with Kurt Busch.

The Round of 16 cutoff race will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway. Larson only has one win at the short track, but it took place during the 2021 season. He captured the cutoff race in the playoffs and added even more points.

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