The pole sitter for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen would be Marcos Ambrose, whom had won the previous two events at Watkins Glen. Both events were dominated by Kyle Busch, who couldn’t hold off a hard charging Ambrose. These two previous failures to seal the deal for Busch made him feel like many drivers do at tracks. That the track “owes me one.” It’s something that is heard quite a bit.
Despite a debt to Busch, Marcos was looking for a three-peat, and would start this race by leading the first 28 consecutive laps. The lead would change hands due to various pit strategies. The first of eight cautions for 21 laps would be for David Reutimann, who on lap 6 lost his engine due to driver error.
The race would be red flagged at lap 40, as a chain of events brought out the caution. First the 33 of Ron Fellows and the 93 of Travis Kvapil made contact, spinning Kvapil up onto the curb, requiring a push or tow truck to move him. While this happened, the 87 of Own Kelly and 36 of Victor Gonzalez Jr., wrecked, destroying their cars. Both incidents laid oil all over the track in their respective locations. The red flag would last for 22 minutes.
Ambrose would retake the lead once pit stops settled, and led a total of 51 laps. Yet, an untimely caution for Ambrose proved gold for Kyle Busch. Kyle pitted the lap before the yellow flag flew, and was able to take the lead. Ambrose would be forced to start in the traffic for the first time all race.
This year would finally be the reversal of fortunes as “Wild Thing” got his third win of the year and The Glen cleared its debt with Kyle. Ambrose never recovered from being in traffic, and would wind up involved in an accident that ended his race early.
Something of note is on the closing laps with one final restart, Brad Keselowski would press Kyle. Having a few opportunities to turn Kyle, Brad took the higher road and raced Kyle cleanly. He was quoted as saying “I’ve had enough drama in my career.” This was smart on 2012 Sprint Cup Champion’s part. Kyle seems to race with a recent memory, and with Brad barely inside the top 10, he can ill afford any to anger someone who is all but guaranteed a chase spot.
The top 5 were 1st Kyle Busch, 2nd Brad Keselowski, 3rd Martin Truex Jr., 4th Car Edwards, and 5th Juan Pablo Montoya.
The points are as follows Jimmie Johnson is 1st with a 77 point lead over 2nd place Clint Bowyer. 3rd is Carl Edwards, 4th Kevin Harvick, 5th Kyle Busch, 6th Dale Earnhardt Jr., 7th Matt Kenseth, 8th Brad Keselowski, 9th Greg Biffle, and 10th Martin Truex Jr. If the Chase started today the Wild Cards would be Kasey Khane and Ryan Newman.
The next race is the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway; previous race winner is Greg Biffle. Race coverage starts at 1:00 PM on ESPN on August 18th.
Brad gets fourth straight win
The Nationwide series also came to Watkins Glen for the Zippo 200. Penske Racing came loaded to win, putting three drivers in the field. Their drivers were Nationwide Championship contender Sam Hornish Jr., who started from the pole and Sprint Cup drivers Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano.
The first caution came on the first lap, in a wreck that involved Kyle Busch in the 54. For the majority of the event, Penske dominated by holding the top three spots. Keselowski would be the dominate car of the group, leading 46 of 82 laps. Penske however, would not complete the 1-2-3 sweep as Joey Logano would run out of gas on the final lap. There were a total of 5 cautions for 15 laps.
This was Brad's fourth straight win in the Nationwide Series this season.
The top 5 were 1st Brad Keselowski, 2nd Sam Hornish Jr, 3rd Brian Vickers, 4th Regan Smith, and 5th Elliot Sadler. Austin Dillon maintained his points lead but saw it shrink to 3 points over second place Hornish Jr., and 5 back to Smith. There are 5 drivers within 18 points of the leader
The next race is the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This is the inaugural event at this track for the series. Race coverage starts at 2:30 PM on ESPN on August 17th.
The Camping World Truck series had the weekend off. They return next week at Michigan International Speedway for the Michigan National Guard 200. The defending race winner is Nelson Piquet Jr. Race coverage kicks off at on August 17th at 12:30 PM on Fox Sports 1, the new name for the Speed Channel.
IZOD IndyCar and F-1 also had this and next weekend off.
The NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series was also off this weekend. They return next weekend at Brainerd International Raceway for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Defending race winners are Morgan Lucas (Pro Stock), Ron Capps (Funny Car), and Erica Enders (Pro Stock). The Pro Stock Motorcycles have the weekend off. Race coverage can be found on ESPN 2 at August 18th at 9:00 PM.
In random news:
Jimmie Johnson at the end of the race Sunday, officially clinched a spot in the chase for at least the Wild Card position should he fall from the top ten. This isn’t really news. I predicted it a couple of weeks ago. I think actually everyone predicted it weeks ago. But official is official and it is official.
Austin Dillon has been tapped to replace Tony Stewart at Michigan in the 14 Mobile 1/Bass Pro Shop Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy. A solid choice in my opinion for everyone involved. It gains Austin much needed experience, and gives SHR a level headed driver. The connection to Bass Pro Shop surely helped as they sponsored Austin in the Camping World Truck series and continue a relationship with him today.
The decision for a replacement beyond that is to be decided sometime this week. The two leading candidates seem to be continuing with Austin in the ride, or Regan Smith who is also a Hendrick Motorsports affiliated driver through him being in the JR Motorsports lineup.
Speaking of Tony, he had a second surgery to insert a rod in his leg. He was released from the hospital Sunday. SHR’s twitter ended their announcing of “Smoke” going home to recover with #Smokewillrise….how Batman of them.
On Tuesday, Brian Vickers will officially be announced as the driver of the 55 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing. A press release on a major announcement from MWR had Vickers and long time MWR sponsor Aaron’s. Thus seemingly the three sides have worked out everything needed. Vickers’ has proved his worth in his appearances in the car and got a win for the team at New Hampshire. Now the real pressure will be on when the announcement is official.
The very thin rumor in the garage is Furniture Row Racing may be ending their technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing and making a move to Toyota. JTG-Daugherty Racing is rumored to replace Furniture Row in the technical alliance with RCR, moving from Toyota to Chevrolet should the swap occur.
Speaking of RCR, Ryan Newman is the rumored leading candidate currently for the vacated 29. With that news of Ryan potentially being the lead candidate, it makes me wonder; perhaps someone read a certain article about this free agency matter?
Random Sports/Non Sports Thought:
I’m going to shamelessly plug TJR Sports for my random thought. Check out my fellow TJR Sports writers as we have a bunch of great coverage on hockey, American and European football, MMA, basketball, tennis and baseball. We even have a guy who writes about NASCAR and racing!
I especially want to implore you to check out Eric Cooper’s MLB Twitter Encyclopedia (Version 1.0). TONS of great Twitter info on every MLB team out there. I can’t understate how awesome that is!
Have a question, suggestion or witty comment? Feel free to leave it below! Don’t want to do that? Then the fastest, easiest, and quickest way to interact with me is on Twitter, @tpierc07. I’m also on Facebook, but that one you have to work for. Don’t do social media or public comments? Then feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
See you on Wednesday, where I’ll explain how Denny Hamlin was right a few weeks ago when he called Kyle Petty a moron!