WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Kyle Larson took advantage of late-race contact for William Byron and Ty Gibbs to grab the lead for good and win the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International. 

Larson took the point position with five laps to go after Gibbs and Byron, who were running one-two at the time, made contact in the bus stop section of the 2.45-mile track. The two drivers spun and that allowed Larson to take his No. 88 Hendrick Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports past them for the lead. 

"I got lucky," Larson said afterwards. "My only shot really was if the 54 (Gibbs) and 17 (Byron) got racing. I just wanted to help William (Byron) down the front stretch as much as I could. Then they got battling up the esses and I tried to help him get clear into the bus stop. They raced side by side into there and got together. The seas parted and I was able to get through there. Then, I had AJ (Allmendinger) behind me, so I was just trying to hit my marks as best I could. He had me definitely nervous out in front of him. 

"Cool to get a win here. Rick Hendrick is here too. Wish William and I could have fought it out for the win there but either way, happy to get into victory lane. ...Pretty iconic number. Cool to get a win with No. 88 on it."

The 30-year-old Elk Grove, California, native qualified third but had to start from the rear after the No. 88 team had to fix an issue with the carburetor found after its lap in the first round of qualifying. He was back in the top 10 by lap 13 and would lead seven laps on the day - including the final five.

The victory is his 13th in the series and first since 2018. Larson has one more start on tap in the No. 88 for JRM, which will come on Sept. 3 at Darlington Raceway. 

PHOTOS: No. 17 makes final start of the 2022 Xfinity Series season

As good of a day as it turned out for Larson, was as heartbreaking of a day as it turned out for Byron in the No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports. 

Byron won the pole position earlier in the day and led a race-high 35 laps in the 82-lap event. The 24-year-old driver won Stage 2 and had been a fixture at the front of the field for much of the afternoon. He was in close pursuit of Gibbs for much of the latter half of the final stage. However, the late contact and spin with Gibbs sent him to a 25th-place finish. That led the Charlotte, North Carolina, native to have a discussion with his younger competitor on pit road after the race. 

Byron’s run was the third and final start for the Xfnity Series entry out of Hendrick Motorsports. Larson was the first to pilot the No. 17 entry this season with a runner-up finish at Road America last month. Alex Bowman also earned a second-place result when he drove the car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course three weeks ago.

The start was also Byron’s third and final Xfinity start this season. He made two starts earlier in the season for JR Motorsports in the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro. 

Both Larson and Byron will be back in action on Sunday for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen. The drivers will line up second and fourth, respectively, in the 90-lap race that begins at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network and radio coverage on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).