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Marcos Ambrose wins again at the Glen

Kurt Busch spun just after the first round of pit stops when his left-rear tyre fell off under the McMurray caution while he was in 11th place. He limped back to the pits where it was found that the problem was now a more substantial issue with the suspension that took the team nine laps to rectify before he was able to rejoin.

"The axle shucked out on the track," he said while waiting out the repairs. "It felt like a broken track bar again like we had at Sonoma, but it's not. They are just working hard to find out what it is."

That was a lot better than Brian Vickers fared while filling in for Mark Martin in the #55. Vickers' race ended almost before it started: "We blew an engine getting into turn 6. On the downshift maybe I over-revved it. I'm not sure. It's really frustrating."

With the McMurray caution coming in the middle of that round of pit stop, the running order at the front was jumbled: the front four were now Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, with Kyle Busch the first of the cars not having visited pit road now having briefly dropped back to eighth. Tony Stewart also had to make a stop, but he exited with the gas can still in place that incurred a penalty drive-thru for the reigning Cup champion.

The front three started to break away from the chasing pack, and as the laps went on it was clear that Keselowski and Ambrose were dropping Johnson and engaging in their own private duel. Finally at the start of lap 39, Ambrose made his move down the inside of turn 1 and claimed the position for himself for the first time in the race, quickly opening up a almost a second's worth of a gap.

It was an opportune moment to take the lead, as the weather radars were showing increasing number of rain cells popping up in the Watkins Glen area, and with the race now past halfway it meant that if the rain arrived in force and a red flag was called, the result could be called as it stood.

Even so, Ambrose had to give up the position to take to pit road at the same time as Johnson and Kevin Harvick on lap 47; that put Keselowski in the lead, with Kyle Busch now back in second place albeit still five seconds off the #2. Keselowski didn't need to pit until lap 58, putting him in range to finish the race without another stop. The strategy point became somewhat blunted, however, when Denny Hamlin blew up the next lap around to bring out the second caution of the afternoon.

"I have a thing with wrecks and fires lately, it's frustrating," said Hamlin, who was already in his backup car after wrecking on the oil laid down by someone else's engine blow-up in Friday practice. "I started feeling the heat and I looked down and saw fire right by my feet and it was coming through the fire wall. That part of it is pretty scary. Once I started to get a little fire on me, I decided to stop at the nearest fire station!

"For us, it's really the first engine issue all year," he added. "It's unfortunate, but it's part of racing – it's what happens. Just an overall bad weekend for us, not the way we wanted to end it."

That meant that everyone yet to pit - and even Ambrose, slightly earlier than planned for his own final stop of the day - could now pit under the caution. Keselowski was still in the lead, and Tony Stewart had benefitted as well and was now in second ahead of Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle.




Related Pictures

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Brad Keselowski leads Marcos Ambrose as both cars skid through the grass in the backstretch chicane on the final lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series` Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International. (Photo Credit: By John Harrelson, Getty Images for NASCAR)
Team owner Richard Petty hugs Marcos Ambrose after the Australian driver`s second straight Watkins Glen International victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images)
Kyle Busch spins in the #18 after contact with Brad Keselowski in Turn 2 as Marcos Ambrose lurks on the final lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series` Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland, Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, talks to his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, after failing to advance to the championship round of the Chase for the Spring Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 2nd place Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon just missed out being in the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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Buster - Unregistered

August 13, 2012 10:58 PM

It would be interesting to ask NASCAR followers what they found more exciting. The Watkins race or slip stream racing at Daytona. That was what racing is all about. v8 supercars take note. There doesn't need to be a penalty given for hard racing.



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