William Byron added to his career-best Cup Series season in strong fashion Sunday afternoon, winning NASCAR’s Go Bowling at the Glen in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver conquered Watkins Glen International’s 2.45-mile layout for his first road-course triumph by beating Denny Hamlin by 2.632 seconds in the regular-season’s penultimate race.
In a race with one caution period, Byron’s No. 24 topped the field in 66 of the 90 laps and was never threatened after assuming the point spot and winning Stage 2.
His fifth victory of 2023 snapped Ford’s three-race winning streak — consecutive wins by Chris Buescher at Richmond Raceway and Michigan International Speedway plus Michael McDowell’s at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course last week.
Christopher Bell, AJ Allmendinger and Ty Gibbs completed the top-five finishers.
With 35 laps to go, disaster struck for Chase Elliott, who needed a win in one of the final two races to make his ninth straight postseason.
The 2020 champion ran out of fuel off Turn 4 with 35 laps remaining to cause the lone caution and ended up one lap down.
A five-time Most Popular Driver winner, Elliott finished 32nd and will need a win at high-speed, unpredictable Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night in the regular-season finale.
On Saturday, Hamlin snared his fourth pole position and third on a road course this season, but race day saw last week’s victor — McDowell — take the lead in the first corner of Lap 4.
McDowell kept a steady pace and beat Byron by 0.821 seconds, claiming the most bonus points for winning Stage 1 at the 20-lap point of the event, which remained green.
However, McDowell committed a penalty by driving through four pit boxes — one too many — during his green-flag stop. The infraction caused him to serve a pass-through penalty down pit road.
Byron’s win over Hamlin in the second segment at Lap 40 set up a 50-circuit run to the finish of the regular season’s final of five road-course races.
—Field Level Media
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