The playoffs are on the horizon. However, the cast of characters set to join the festivities hasn’t yet been decided. At least not quite.
Bubba Wallace, Ty Gibbs and Daniel Suarez are among those vying for the final two positions in playoff seeding. The postseason features a loaded table filled with Cup Series icons and upstart talents. But the likes of Wallace, Gibbs and Suarez all believe they have what it takes to cause some trouble at the top.
Watkins Glen is a tricky surface, filled with all sorts of potholes and pitfalls that can doom even the most talented drivers. No one is more cognizant of that than Wallace, whose struggles on road courses are well-documented.
The No. 23 car needs a steady day. He’s among the competition’s best drivers at superspeedways, namely Daytona, where the regular season will come to an end. But sitting just 28 points above the cut line, Wallace is hanging on by a thread. A strong showing at unfriendly confines could go a long way in getting him to the promised land: the Cup Series playoffs.
The Sporting News is tracking live updates from Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen. Follow below for highlights and live results as racers trek onto the Glen for yet another mazy road course run.
NASCAR at Watkins Glen live updates, highlights from 2023 race
(All times Eastern)
4:31 p.m: CAUTION! First canary pennant flies for the day…and it’s Elliott. He ran out of fuel. He will need a sudden-death win at Daytona. It goes from bad to worse for HMS, as Larson — who raced into the top-three — was penalized for entering pit road too fast.
CHASE ELLIOTT RUNS OUT OF FUEL!
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 20, 2023
4:22 p.m.: Wallace has had a wonderfully steady day so far. There’s just one problem: Gibbs, Elliott and Allmendinger all sit in front of him. The No. 23 just needs Byron, Hamlin, Kyle Larson or another playoff driver to win and he should be in solid position heading into Daytona, a place that he’s finished second at on three separate occasions.
4:19 p.m.: Lapped car causing some issues for Hamlin, who is facing serious pressure from his JGR teammate Gibbs. Looks like the No. 54 might have more speed than his compatriot. He’ll need to make a move sooner rather than later if he wants that all-important win.
4:12 p.m.: Byron takes Stage 2! That’s his eighth stage win of the season!
4:06 p.m.: Gibbs is cooking with gas. He sits in third, 1.5 seconds behind the leader, Byron. Win and he’s in; that’s all the No. 54 car is focusing on. Five laps remaining in the second stage.
3:58 p.m.: Byron has the lead, about a second in front of Hamlin. However, it’s another Hendrick Motorsports star that’s making waves down the track: Chase Elliott. He’s up to seventh, bursting past Keselowski, who has yet to pit through 30 laps.
3:50 p.m.: Drive-through penalty for McDowell! He trekked through five different boxes before getting into his pit stop; he’s only allowed to go through four. Byron takes the lead as the No. 34 rides down pit road at pace speed.
3:48 p.m.: McDowell takes Stage 1 and secures that all-important playoff point. Gibbs, Wallace and A.J. Allmendinger also secure stage points, vital as all three compete for playoff qualification.
3:44 p.m.: Green flag pit stops starting to kick off. Suarez, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney coasting into pit road for tire changes and additional fuel. Just three laps left in the first stage. Remember: no stage breaks at Watkins Glen. So, strategy will be imperative as playoff hopefuls look to net as many stage points as possible.
3:30 p.m.: Daniel Suarez spins! Looks like. he went over a curb, sending dust all along the track. He just avoided serious contact with the inside wall. However, that’s going to place him firmly in the 20s.
Early issues for the No. 9️⃣9️⃣ as he exits the bus stop! pic.twitter.com/APbihNdy0x
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 20, 2023
3:28 p.m.: McDowell takes the lead! The No. 34 car puts the pressure as they rolled through the Esses before making a pass through Turn 1. William Byron swept past the No. 11 shortly thereafter, dropping Hamlin to third. If not for a block on Ty Gibbs, he could’ve fallen even further down the order.
3:23 p.m.: We are green from Watkins Mill! Denny Hamlin and Michael McDowell competing for that top spot as we get through the back straightaway!
3:05 p.m.: Canadian and American national anthems being sang. We’re about 15 minutes away from the waving of the green flag. Western propaganda finds a home on NASCAR racetracks.
2:40 p.m.: Uh oh! Brad Keselowski and Corey LaJoie among those starting from the back after NASCAR found that their cars had made unapproved changes prior to the race. Big blow for LaJoie in particular, who was initially slated to start in 10th.
NEWS: The Nos. 6, 7, 31 and 51 cars will start at the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) August 20, 2023
2:20 p.m.: All quiet on the Western front as we prepare for Sunday’s race. Looks like it’ll be a clear day at Watkins Glen.
Less than 5% chance of rain today at The Glen. https://t.co/1S4VGf6iLS
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 20, 2023
What channel is the NASCAR race on today?
- TV channel: USA Network (U.S.) | TSN5 (Canada)
- Live stream: Peacock, Fubo
Sunday’s race will be broadcast on USA Network in the United States. Canadian viewers can find the action on TSN5.
This week’s iteration of the the Cup Series will be headlined by USA Network’s “Radio Style” broadcast. Veteran broadcaster Rick Allen and Steve Letarte will carry the reins from the main booth. They’ll be joined on the call by longtime MRN radio announcer Mike Bagley, who will offer musings from “The Estes.” Former Cup Series stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton will also feature, manning the stations at Turn 6, “The Inner Loop” and “The Carousel”, respectively.
Cord-cutters can follow the action on Peacock, as well as with Fubo, which offers a free trial.
NASCAR start time today
- Date: Sunday, Aug. 20
- Start time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Go Bowling at the Glen has a listed start time of 3 p.m. ET., but pre-race festivities are expected to push the waving of the green flag closer to 3:15 p.m. ET.
NASCAR at Watkins Glen starting lineup 2023
|Starting pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|3||Michael McDowell||34||Live Fast Motorsports|
|4||Ty Gibbs||54||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|5||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||A.J. Allmendinger||16||Kaulig Racing|
|7||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|8||Tyler Reddick||45||23XI Racing|
|9||Kyle Busch||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|10||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|11||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|12||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|13||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing|
|14||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing|
|15||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|16||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|17||Austin Cindric||2||Team Penske|
|18||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|20||Justin Haley||31||Kaulig Racing|
|21||Mike Rockenfeller||42||Legacy Motor Club|
|22||Ross Chastain||1||Trackhouse Racing|
|23||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|24||Brad Keselowski||6||Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing|
|25||Todd Gilliland||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|26||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|27||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|28||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG-Daugherty Racing|
|29||Andy Lally||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|30||Ryan Preece||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|31||Erik Jones||43||Legacy Motor Club|
|32||Harrison Burton||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|33||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|34||Cole Custer||51||Rick Ware Racing|
|35||Josh Bilicki||78||Live Fast Racing|
|36||Ty Dillon||77||Spire Motorsports|