In another wild race at Watkins Glen International Kyle Busch finally sealed the deal on a victory after being passed late in the race the last two seasons. On Sunday Busch held off Brad Keselowski's last lap runs to win the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen.
"This Toyota Camry was awesome today, fun to drive," Busch said in victory lane. "Great turn out, great job by Watkins Glen International here today."
The win was the second at the Watkins Glen road course for Busch. His first came in 2008. It was also his third win of the 2013 season and 27th of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
Kyle Busch got out front following a caution on lap 60 for a crash by Aric Almirola. He had just pitted on lap 59 under green while Marcos Ambrose, who had led 51 of the races first 60 laps, was still on the track. Ambrose had to pit under the caution which dropped him to 14th and back in traffic. Busch then held off a battle from Martin Truex Jr on the lap 64 restart and then showed the way the rest of the race.
In what was a two lap sprint to the finish Busch then held off Brad Keselowski even though Keselowski got to his bumper in the final corner on lap 90. Keselowski finished second for the third straight season at Watkins Glen.
Ambrose, the winner the past two seasons, started from the pole position and asserted his dominance from the outset. Clint Bowyer ran in second, Truex third, AJ Allmendinger fourth in the JTG/Daugherty Racing No. 47 Toyota, and Kyle Busch fifth in the early laps.
The first caution of the race came out on lap 6 when David Reutimann missed a shift and blew his engine. He finished in 43rd. The race restarted on lap 9 and Truex dropped to fifth behind Allmendinger and Busch.
On lap 14 Brad Keselowski spun in Turn 1 when trying to pass Jamie McMurray. Keselowski was running in seventh at the time and dropped to 22nd. He did make some contact with McMurray but got a break when the caution came out on the same lap when Jeff Gordon lost control coming out of the esses and slammed into the wall. Gordon's crew made extensive repairs and Gordon got back out on the track in a wounded car. He finished 36th.
Keslelowski used this second caution to pit and he restarted deep in the field on lap 19. This time Allmendinger dropped to fifth behind Busch and Truex. By lap 25 Ambrose led over Kyle Busch, Truex, Allmendinger, and Juan Pablo Montoya. Bowyer had dropped to sixth.
Green flag pit stops started on lap 27 for the leaders when Allmendinger hit pit road. On lap 29 Ambrose, Busch, and Truex all pitted. Montoya then led and pitted on lap 30. McMurray led lap 31 and pitted while Brian Keselowski spun but kept going and no caution came out. Kevin Harvick then found himself in the lead after he had pitted back under the lap 14 caution and was still out on this fuel run.
The third caution then came out on lap 34 when Michael McDowell broke the track bar on his No. 35 Ford. He finished in 38th. Harvick and Ron Fellows were in the top two spots and Fellows used this caution to pit. Harvick meanwhile stayed out and led the field to green on lap 39. Ambrose re-took the lead on lap 39 in the inner loop and Kyle Busch moved into second.
The fourth caution came out on lap 40 when a melee ensued in the esses. Ron Fellows got into Travis Kvapil and spun him into the wall and then also hit the wall himself. Tomy Drissi then slammed into the back of Victor Gonzalez Jr and Landon Cassill got some damage as well. A 22 minute red flag was thrown to clean up the amount of oil on the track from Drissi and Gonzalez's cars. Cassill continued and finished 28th while the others involved had severe damage. Fellows finished 35th, Kvapil 40th, Gonzalez 41st, and Drissi 42nd.
After the mess was cleaned up the race restarted on lap 43. Ambrose opened a lead again while Harvick passed Busch for second. Max Papis, who was filling in for Tony Stewart, spun in the inner loop but no caution came out. On lap 48 Busch repassed Harvick for second and then Harvick pitted under green on lap 50.
On lap 59 AJ Allmendinger slowed as he ran out of gas. That same lap Kyle Busch, Martin Turex Jr, and Clint Bowyer all pitted. They were already on pit road when the fifth caution came out for Aric Almirola's crash in Turn 5. Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, and AJ Allmendinger all got a penalty for pitting while the pits were closed and had to restart at the back of the field.
The caution came at a bad time for Ambrose and Montoya as both of them needed to pit under caution and lost their track position to those who had already hit pit road. Montoya restarted in 13th and Ambrose 14th. Kyle Busch inherited the lead with Truex in second, Bowyer third, Brad Keselowski fourth, and Kurt Busch fifth for the lap 64 restart.
On lap 65 Truex battled side-by-side with Busch for the lead through the esses and down into the inner loop where the two made contact. Keselowski took advantage and moved into second ahead of Truex. On lap 67 Boris Said spun but no caution came out as he was able to get going. Then on lap 74 Jeff Burton spun in Turn 7 after contact from Casey Mears. Again no caution flew.
The sixth caution did come out on lap 78 when Travis Kvapil hit the wall coming out of the esses in his repaired Toyota. His tire also went flat and the caution flew for debris. That set up a restart with 10 laps to go and another big crash in the esses.
Matt Kenseth got into the back of Kasey Kahne and spun him out. Kahne hit the wall and came back across the track where Dale Earnhardt Jr had nowhere to go and piled into Kahne. David Ragan and Jeff Burton also spun in the aftermath and Dave Blaney sustained some damage. Earnhardt finished 30th and Kahne 34th. Kenseth had damage and finished 23rd while Ragan was 21st, Burton 26th, and Blaney 27th.
That set up a restart on lap 85 of 90 with Kyle Busch leading over Brad Keselowski. Again an accident occurred in the esses though this time collecting Marcos Ambrose and Brian Vickers. Under the previous caution period Ambrose complained that he believed something was broken in the rear of his car. He was not up to speed in the esses and Max Papis got into and spun him out. Ambrose then clipped Vickers and both slammed hard into the wall. Ambrose finished 31st and Vickers 32nd.
The race restarted on lap 89 for a two lap shootout and Kyle Busch was able to get a good lead by the end of the first lap. Keselowski though gained on Busch and by Turn 6 and Turn 7 was right on Busch's bumper. He looked high in the final corner and then touched the back of Busch but got loose and lost momentum. That was all Busch needed to hold onto win.
Martin Truex Jr almost beat Keselowski back to the line but finished third. Carl Edwards was fourth and Juan Pablo Montoya fifth. Clint Bowyer took sixth, Joey Logano seventh, Jimmie Johnson eighth, Kurt Busch ninth, and AJ Allmendinger tenth. Jamie McMurray was 11th, Casey Mears 12th, Kevin Harvick 13th, Ryan Newman 14th, Max Papis 15th, Greg Biffle 16th, Paul Menard 17th, Ricky Stenhouse Jr 18th, Denny Hamlin 19th, and Danica Patrick 20th. Others in the finishing lineup were Boris Said in 22nd, Owen Kelly in 24th, David Gilliland 25th, Alex Kennedy 29th, David Stremme 33rd, and Brian Keselowski 39th.
Jimmie Johnson leads the points by 75 over Clint Bowyer after 22 races. Carl Edwards is third, Kevin Harvick fourth, and Kyle Busch fifth. Dale Eanhardt Jr is sixth and 47 points ahead of 11th place Kurt Busch. Matt Kenseth is seventh and is 36 ahead of 11th. Brad Keselowski moved up four spots to eighth and is 11 points ahead of 11th. Greg Biffle is ninth and is plus four and Martin Truex Jr also moved up four spots and is plus two on 11th. Kasey Kahne dropped to 12th but holds wild card number one due to his two wins. Jeff Gordon dropped to 13th and is 15 points out of tenth. Ryan Newman is 14th and holds wild card number two. Jamie McMuuary is 25 points out of tenth in 15th and Joey Loagno is 27 out in 16th. Tony Stewart has dropped to 17th after missing the race and is 31 points out of tenth and is no longer in a wild card position.
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway next Sunday.
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