WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - After Michael McDowell, last Sunday's winner at the Indianapolis Road Course received a costly penalty on pit road and experienced mechanical issues that took the No. 34 Ford out of the race, Hendrick Motorsports' William Byron dominated the Go Bowling at The Glen to earn his fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of 2023 at Watkins Glen International.
Byron led 66 of 90 laps en route to his ninth career Cup Series victory. Byron also earned 59 out of a possible 60 points on the last road course of the regular season.
"It feels really good, man, you know, just a huge credit to the race team behind me," Byron said. "I want to thank Max Papis. This first road-course win, we’ve worked years and years for this. Thanks to him. I know he’s watching back home."
Byron held off the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin, who qualified on pole and went on to take the runner-up position.
Hamlin not only finished second to Byron in the race, but he also finished second to Byron in Stage 2 as the battle between the drivers lasted the entire 90-lap event.
"Yeah, I’m happy with my day," Hamlin said. "It was a fun race. Appreciate the whole Mavis guys here and Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing for giving me a good car and giving me the tools I need to get better."
Two notable road-course greats from the NASCAR Xfinity Series also battled it out on Sunday. Both AJ Allmendinger and Ty Gibbs are looking to win to get into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Allmendinger and Gibbs finished fourth and fifth at Watkins Glen, who will both dream of a walk-off victory at Daytona this coming Saturday night for the 16th and final spot in the postseason.
Results from the 2023 Go Bowling At The Glen are listed below.
Other Race Facts
With only one spot remaining in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, 23XI Racing's Bubba Wallace held on to the 16th spot after having a career day at Watkins Glen. Wallace earned stage points in both stages and maintained a 32-point lead above the cutline.
For a driver who does not consider himself to be a good road-course racer, Wallace reached out to six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon before the Go Bowling at The Glen.
"Shout out to Scott Dixon," Wallace said. "I actually talked to him this morning about the mental piece of it. It’s hard when you come into a road-course race, and you tell yourself that every time.
"He basically told me to shut the hell up and that I’m here for a reason and to trust in myself and believe in myself and this is what can happen. I don’t think I had one lap where I said I was going to suck, so it was good.”
Rookie sensation and 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Ty Gibbs is the first driver on the outside looking in. If there is no new winner at Daytona, Gibbs can still point his way in if he outscores Wallace by 33 points at Daytona.
The rest of the bubble includes Daniel Suárez (-43), AJ Allmendinger (-72), Alex Bowman (-96) and Chase Elliott (-101). If any of these drivers win at Daytona, they will claim the final spot.
Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick both locked themselves into the playoffs on points at Watkins Glen with a repeat winner.
The Go Bowling At The Glen was completed in 1 hour, 58 minutes and 44 seconds, making it the shortest full-length NASCAR Cup Series race in the modern era.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 20 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.
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Martin Truex Jr.
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The next race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 26. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.
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