Kyle Larson out-runs Chase Elliott at The Glen

Chase Elliott ran a great race, Sunday, at Watkins Glen International, but Kyle Larson ran a near-flawless one.

Larson exited pit road ahead of then race leader, Martin Truex Jr., on Lap 57, and cycled to the lead on Lap 65. From that point on, it was a matter of running a mistake-free race.

At least, until he caught lap traffic.

“Chase was already catching me pretty quick, even with me being in open track,” he said. “So when I caught those, I think, four cars and got into (Anthony Alfredo) right here, I thought I would look at my mirror and the 9 would be right on me.”

Even when he caught a large group of lapped cars with four laps to go, however, he snaked his way through, before Elliott caught him. He drove the final two laps perfectly and scored his 11th career NASCAR Cup Series victory in 247 starts and fifth of 2021.

“Anyways, hats off to,” he said. “Thanks for everything you guys do for me, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick, Jeff Gordon, Cliff Daniels, this whole 5 bunch. Another amazing car. I could tell from about Lap 3 after I stopped making a bunch of mistakes that we were going to have a car that could win today.”

Elliott ran out of laps to run him down and came home runner-up.

“Yeah, I made too many mistakes to get the win, unfortunately, and made it too late in the race. Super proud of our team. Been kind of an uphill battle all day, but everybody was just super prepared coming into the day, and our NAPA team just did a really good job of fighting it.”

Truex, who led a race high of 34 laps, rounded out the podium.

“Honestly, I felt like through the esses and through the carousel, off the carousel was my weakest point,” he said. “Just couldn’t quite turn as good as them in turn two and then turn three I would get loose and couldn’t get the power down at all off the carousel. Just a little bit of everything. When I asked it to turn, they would out-turn me and when I ask it to go, they’re out-going me. Nonetheless, all the guys did a great job. We had a replacement or fill-in tire changer on the front and he did a good job so thanks to him. Overall, it was a solid day for our Reser’s Fine Foods Camry. Thanks to Toyota, TRD and everybody that works with us to make the cars better. Just need to find some more.”

Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five.

William ByronChristopher BellKevin HarvickChase Briscoe and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-10.

Kyle Larson out-runs Chase Elliott at The Glen

Race summary

First stage

Brad Keselowski led the field to green at 3 p.m. He led the first nine laps, before he spun in Turn 10. Joey Logano assumed the lead on Lap 11. Keselowski pitted from sixth, under the competition caution, as did several cars in the back-end of the field.

Logano led through the end of the first stage. Multiple cars short-pitted the end of it.

Second stage

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the field back to green on Lap 23. Truex overtook him going into Turn 2 to take the lead. Aside from that, not much of note happened in the second stage. Truex dominated the stage and won it.

Run to the finish

Bell pressed the attack for the lead in the opening laps of the final stage, from pulling alongside Truex to throwing a massive block on Larson down the pit straight on Lap 48. Eventually, he backed off for a few laps. Larson dove inside of Bell in Turn 1 on Lap 55, locked up and turned him.

Several cars hit pit road around Lap 56. Truex made his final stop on Lap 57. As did Larson, who pulled up alongside him on pit entry. He exited the pits ahead of Truex.

On that same lap, Keselowski got loose and spun, going into Turn 1. In the process, he clipped Logano and turned him, too.

Hamlin spent six laps up front, before pitting on Lap 63. Kurt Busch turned a lap up front, before he pit on Lap 64. Larson cycled to the lead.

Kyle Larson out-runs Chase Elliott at The Glen

Nuts and bolts

The race lasted two hours, 10 minutes and 57 seconds, at an average speed of 101.031 mph. There were seven lead changes among seven different drivers, and four cautions for six laps.

Larson and Hamlin leave Watkins Glen tied for the points lead.

TOP IMAGE: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images