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NASCAR at Watkins Glen 2021 Results: Kyle Larson Earns 5th Win of Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 8, 2021

WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 08: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 08, 2021 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Kyle Larson held off Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. to win for the fifth time during the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The points leader collected the checkered flag in Sunday's Go Bowling at the Glen at Watkins Glen International in New York.

Larson cruised to the finish line with nearly three seconds separating him from Elliott in second place. It was a story fans already saw play out at Sonoma Raceway in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC

RETWEET to congratulate <a href="https://twitter.com/KyleLarsonRacin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KyleLarsonRacin</a> on his WIN at <a href="https://twitter.com/WGI?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WGI</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCAR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCAR</a> <a href="https://t.co/BU9OJMLMEQ">pic.twitter.com/BU9OJMLMEQ</a>


Go Bowling at the Glen Leaderboard

1. Kyle Larson

2. Chase Elliott

3. Martin Truex Jr.

4. Kyle Busch

5. Denny Hamlin

6. William Byron

7. Christopher Bell

8. Kevin Harvick

9. Chase Briscoe

10. Tyler Reddick

Full leaderboard available at NASCAR.com


Larson was basically racing against himself in the final 10 laps given his comfortable lead, while Elliott and Truex were locked in a tight battle for second place.

NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC

Chase Elliott up to second! <br><br>He sends it past Martin Truex Jr. in the bus stop! TV: NBCSN<br><br>Stream: <a href="https://t.co/609wR4i4Bw">https://t.co/609wR4i4Bw</a> <a href="https://t.co/cxShMbcR1z">pic.twitter.com/cxShMbcR1z</a>

Despite overtaking Truex, Elliott had a substantial gap to close and wasn't making up much ground.

Matt Weaver @MattWeaverAW

Chase Elliott only matches Kyle Larson with 7 to go<br><br>Actually, 74.8 to 75.0<br><br>5 faster past two laps after the 9 passed the 19

Lapped traffic presented a minor hindrance to the No. 5 car and allowed Elliott a bit of a lifeline. At one point, Larson's lead dwindled to under two seconds, but his team cautioned that Elliott was due to encounter the same problems.

"There's nothing to worry about, Chase still has all that s--t to get through," crew chief Cliff Daniels said over the radio.

After the race, Larson said he felt a more serious threat from Elliott in the moment.

"Chase was already catching me pretty quick," he told NBC Sports. "When I caught those four cars, I thought I would look in my mirror and he'd be right on me."

Elliott was circumspect about a strong day overshadowed by Larson's dominant performance:

NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC

No three-peat today for Chase Elliott.<br><br>Elliott charged through the field, but ran out of laps to catch Kyle Larson. The <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamHendrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamHendrick</a> driver finishes second at <a href="https://twitter.com/WGI?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WGI</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NASCAR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NASCAR</a> <a href="https://t.co/2MERrHe2mn">pic.twitter.com/2MERrHe2mn</a>

The championship playoff structure can quickly nullify whatever happened earlier in the year. A driver can look like the clear title favorite and all of a sudden be on the bubble with a couple of bad showings.

Having said that, Larson has been in a class by himself for much of 2021, transforming under the guidance of Hendrick Motorsports.

Nick Bromberg @NickBromberg

Kyle Larson won six races in 223 races at Chip Ganassi Racing<br><br>He has five wins in 23 races at Hendrick Motorsports.

Only three more races remain before the playoffs get underway, so every little bit counts in terms of jockeying for position. Truex and Joey Logano were the two stage winners to earn one playoff point apiece.

Logano's fortunes shifted significantly later in the race when he caught friendly fire from Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski.

NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC

"That's just bad luck!"<br><br>Brad Keselowski spins and gets into his own teammate, Joey Logano.<br><br>📺 NBCSN <a href="https://t.co/9FHfuGPCx3">pic.twitter.com/9FHfuGPCx3</a>

Logano wound up in 22nd place, with Keselowski only managing a 35th-place showing.

One of NASCAR's signature events lies ahead on Aug. 15. Drivers will make the trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.

This will be the first year NASCAR runs the road course in Indianapolis, which adds a different dimension to the 2021 installment in the legendary race.

Kevin Harvick is the two-time defending champion at the Brickyard, but his back-to-back victories may not count for much on a new track configuration.