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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)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field on the first lap of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/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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