This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Watkins Glen International hosted the NASCAR Cup Series Sunday in a return to action after a two-week summer break. Team Penske teammates held the top three starting positions, but Kyle Larson was the one who played his cards right to develop a comfortable lead in the final segment and drive to his fifth win of the season. The No. 5 left the rest of the field in his rearview mirror once he fought his way into the lead, and not even a valiant charge from the reigning road-course king, Chase Elliott, was enough to threaten him as he cruised to his second road-course win of the season. Larson now stands even with Denny Hamlin for the regular-season points lead with three races remaining until the championship playoffs get underway.
The playoff picture remains roughly the same after the break with three spots left for nonwinning drivers. Tyler Reddick retains the final transfer spot and extends his margin over teammate Austin Dillon. The drivers and teams go road-course racing again this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before returning to the ovals for the final two regular-season races at Michigan and Daytona.
Kyle Larson – Larson snagged his second road-course win of the season with a mistake-free run Sunday at Watkins Glen. The Hendrick Motorsports driver started fourth and kept himself in contention, ultimately leveraging pit stops to move into the lead. From there he nursed his equipment and maintained a comfortable margin all the way to the finish