RPW Column: “Yung Money” Comes Up Clutch; Larson Wins NASCAR Xfinity Race At Watkins Glen After Gibbs, Byron Spin Battling For Lead

Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – WATKINS GLEN, NY – Just under 24 hours after Sammy Smith and Taylor Gray moved each other up the track, it was Ty Gibbs and William Byron spinning at the bus stop with five to go. The result? Kyle Larson scores his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win of 2022.

On the restart, Byron and Gibbs were side by side at the bus stop with Gibbs driver left. The teenager tried to out brake Larson into the inner loop where Gibbs hit the curb, going wide and sending both around.

“My goal was to have one of us two [HendrickCars.com drivers] win, so with him lining up on the front row, I was trying to help William as much as I could,” explained Larson. “Try to lag back on the start and get a good run to push him, maybe clear him in one. But they ended up side-by-side that was the best-case scenario. Byron almost got cleared. Ty got the lead and drove in deep. I haven’t seen a replay, but I imagine his angles were messed up.”

“I said, ‘there’s going to be contact.’ I didn’t think they were both going to spin. I knew that William was in a bad position being on the outside of that switchback. They weren’t going to get there side by side. Opened the door for Larson and ran some great laps,” team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said to RPW. “I just hustled to get my picture with him in victory lane. What an honor it is for our team to put him behind the wheel.”

Junior called the race from the outer loop near the bus stop for USA Network.

With Larson winning, it is the team’s 9th win of 2022. That ties the team’s season-high dating back to 2014.

Byron and Gibbs discussed their incident after the race, but there was no pushing or shoving.

“I had a good side draft going into the bus stop. Going into the bus stop too wide wasn’t going to work. I feel like that’s my lone shot because I thought we were both equally fast. I feel like if I let him by, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get that back. That was win or lose right there. My fault,” Gibbs commented on the accident.

“I wish we could have won that one. We were in position and got wrecked,” Byron said on his team radio during the cool-down lap.

The finish moved AJ Allmendinger up to 2nd for the second straight year in this event. Rounding out the podium was Sammy Smith, scoring his best career NXS finish.

The Series heads to Daytona next week for the Wawa 250. Tomorrow, it’s Cup racing at The Glen.

For interviews with Larson, Earnhardt Jr., Allmendinger, Smith, and Grala, head to the Trackside Facebook page.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Sunoco Go Rewards 200
Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, New York
Saturday, August 20, 2022

1. (3) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 82.
2. (4) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 82.
3. (19) Sammy Smith, Toyota, 82.
4. (16) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 82.
5. (14) Kaz Grala(i), Chevrolet, 82.
6. (7) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 82.
7. (6) Riley Herbst, Ford, 82.
8. (11) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 82.
9. (17) Josh Berry, Chevrolet, 82.
10. (22) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 82.
11. (5) Cole Custer(i), Ford, 82.
12. (23) Stefan Parsons(i), Chevrolet, 82.
13. (34) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 82.
14. (35) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 82.
15. (13) Connor Mosack(i), Toyota, 82.
16. (20) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 82.
17. (21) Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, 82.
18. (26) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 82.
19. (33) Andy Lally, Ford, 82.
20. (27) Brad Perez(i), Toyota, 82.
21. (31) Preston Pardus, Chevrolet, 82.
22. (25) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 82.
23. (32) Scott Heckert, Chevrolet, 82.
24. (12) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 82.
25. (1) William Byron(i), Chevrolet, 82.
26. (37) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 82.
27. (2) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 82.
28. (15) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 81.
29. (38) Blaine Perkins(i), Chevrolet, 80.
30. (8) Austin Hill #, Chevrolet, 73.
31. (9) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, Accident, 58.
32. (30) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, Axle, 51.
33. (29) Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, Accident, 50.
34. (36) Kris Wright(i), Chevrolet, Driveshaft, 30.
35. (18) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, Accident, 26.
36. (24) Patrick Gallagher, Ford, Rear Gear, 14.
37. (28) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, Accident, 8.
38. (10) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 4.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 77.651 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 35 Mins, 14 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.273 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 23 laps.
Lead Changes: 15 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: W. Byron(i) 1-7;T. Gibbs 8;W. Byron(i) 9-10;T. Gibbs 11-16;A. Allmendinger 17-18;S. Smith 19-23;K. Larson(i) 24;W. Byron(i) 25-32;K. Larson(i) 33;W. Byron(i) 34-51;A. Allmendinger 52;S. Smith 53;R. Herbst 54-57;J. Clements 58-59;T. Gibbs 60-77;K. Larson(i) 78-82.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): William Byron(i) 4 times for 35 laps; Ty Gibbs 3 times for 25 laps; Kyle Larson(i) 3 times for 7 laps; Sammy Smith 2 times for 6 laps; Riley Herbst 1 time for 4 laps; AJ Allmendinger 2 times for 3 laps; Jeremy Clements 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,16,48,51,34,45,17,2,88,08
Stage #2 Top Ten: 17,54,16,9,88,2,8,48,92,26

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