Ambrose Fights Way To Victory At The Glen
Marcos Ambrose passed Brad Keselowski for the lead with just over a lap to go and went on to win Monday’s rain-delayed, green/white/checkered decided Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips Sprint Cup race at the Watkins Glen International road course.
The victory was the first of Ambrose’s Sprint Cup career. It put the native of Australia into contention for a Wild Car berth in the Chase.
“Just a dream come true,” Ambrose, who was making his 105th start, said.
Ambrose became the first first-time race winner this year and the 15th driver to win a race.
Keselowski finished second and Kyle Busch, who made a rare mistake while leading heading into the first turn on the final restart, was third.
“I wanted to win,” Kesleowski said, “but if I’m going to lose on a road course to someone, Marcos Ambrose is the man. He’s so good on restarts and I thought we had a shot at it and that’s all you can ask for as a driver. We were really good on long runs today. I’m proud of the day. I’m proud of the finish. It was a good points day for us.”
Rounding out the top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya, A.J. Allmendinger, Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson.
“For me to drive for Richard Petty in the first place is an unbelievable opportunity and to get into Victory Lane is just incredible,” Ambrose said. “Mrs. Petty is not doing so well at home. She’s having a tough time of it right now. This win is for her and the whole family. To Stanley, DeWalt, thank you so much for giving me the chance. They plucked me out of obscurity almost. I was just trying hard to win races and to get to Victory Lane with my Stanley boys behind me, what a dream come true.”
Busch started the race from the pole but lost the lead to Allmendinger on the first lap.
On lap nine, Ambrose passed Richard Petty Racing teammate Allmendinger for the lead.
Busch took the lead back when Ambrose pitted on lap 17. Busch kept the lead until a caution flag waved and he pitted on lap 29.
Ambrose restarted with the lead and held it until pitting under green on lap 38. On lap 45, Busch had the lead again.
On lap 49, the yellow came out for the second time. When the race resumed after pit stops, Busch had the lead.
Keselowski passed Busch for the lead with 31 laps to go.
On the next lap, the teams began making their final green flag stops.
Denny Hamlin crashed hard with 24 laps to go. Something, he said, let go in the front end of his car and he slammed the tire barrier head on.
When the race restarted with 21 laps to go, Busch had the lead. Second was Keselowski while Truex was third and Ambrose fourth on tires which were four laps fresher than those in front of him.
With 15 laps to go, Busch had stretched his lead to 1.5 seconds but, having just passed Keselowski for second, Ambrose began making a charge.
With 10 laps to go, Ambrose had cut the Busch lead to just under a second. With eight laps to go, Ambrose was within a car length of Busch’s rear bumper.
Ambrose could get no closer, however, until a caution waved with four laps – a caution caused when Paul Menard blew a tire and then caught fire.
That sat up a green/white/checkered restart and turned the 90-lap race into a fuel-mileage contest.
Busch started from the inside of the first row and Ambrose on the outside. Behind them were Keselowski and Ryan Truex Jr.
Keselowski and Ambrose both blew past Busch after the restart when Busch went high into Turn 1. Ambrose took the lead later in the lap and took the white flag as leader.
Shortly there after, a scary wreck brought out the yellow and Ambrose was declared the winner.
“I was trying to pass the 18 before the caution came out and really used my stuff up,” Ambrose said, “so I was happy when the caution came out. I didn’t want to start on the outside, so I actually gave up the start trying to get to the inside, but when I realized that wasn’t gonna work, I just turned up into turn one and tried to make something happen.”
Kurt Busch, fourth in points and 14 behind leader Carl Edwards when the race began, had a tough day. He spun on lap four and his day that ended when he blew a tire and crashed just after the halfway point.No Comment