William Byron adds another Cup win; Elliott down to one shot to make the Playoffs
By Dave Hascall
(Watkins Glen, NY). William Byron absolutely dominated the Go Bowling NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen International Raceway (he led 66 of the 90 laps), but the bigger story is the looming end of the regular season. Only 16 drivers will advance to the Playoffs, which begin in just two weeks. The easiest way to advance into the playoffs is to win a points paying race and short of that, having enough points is the only other way. Michael McDowell, who won last week’s Brickyard race, became the 13th Playoff eligible winner, leaving only three other slots open.
After today’s action, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick are locked in as they can’t possibly be out-pointed next week at Daytona. There is only one spot remaining and that is held by Bubba Wallace. Wallace just missed out on a top ten at The Glen and seems more optimistic that unless a new winner wins next week, he will make the Playoffs (he holds a 32 point cushion over the next driver). The biggest shocker so far is that the 2020 NASCAR Cup champion, Chase Elliott is on the outside looking in. He missed six races due to a snowboarding accident and another week due to a rough driving suspension and he’s in a must win situation next week.
McDowell won stage 1 but after leading 17 laps early on, he was hindered by two pit road penalties and finally was knocked out with mechanical issues. Byron also won the second stage. At the end, Byron took his leading fifth win of the year over Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, A.J. Allmendinger, and Gibbs.