Found August 11, 2012 on
Race Review Online:
Martin Truex, Jr.
NASCAR's finest will turn right for the second and final time this year with one of the shortest races of the season this weekend at Watkins Glen.
Par for the course...roadcourse, that is...Watkins Glen usually features fuel mileage shenanigans, pit stop cunning and strategy, and funky cycles that often sees the leaderboard being turned upside down every half hour or so. With that said, here are the fellows most likely to survive the circus and claim a prize.
Pole position: Marcos Ambrose
Ambrose still has yet to find that elusive oval-track consistency, nevermind win, but he's always a lock for road course win contention. Winner of this race one year ago, Ambrose is almost guaranteed to be seen in the top-five for most of the day.
Outside pole: Jeff Gordon
Hard luck coal of past months seems to have been turned into diamond dust for a run to the Chase. Nothing is set in stone yet, but ol' Four Time and cranial crew chief Alan Gustafson are finally finding the results to match their performance mojo. Look for a return to former Watkins Glen form for Gordon this weekend as he continues his run to a Chase berth.
Position 3: Tony Stewart
In 13 starts at The Glen, Smoke has 10 top-10's and...five wins. With a winning percentage approaching 50%, I won't say much more. And oh, he already has three wins on the year. Shutting up now.
Position 4: Jimmie Johnson
Slotting Johnson a bit lower--say, in the 6th-10th range--is tempting. Of all tracks on the circuit, Watkins Glen is arguably his weakest, and serious contention at the track is often elusive for Five-Time. However, he showed two years ago at Sonoma that a road course win can certainly be in the team #48 cards, and it's hard to rank JJ any lower than 4th these days. Ergo, 4th it is.
Position 5: Kurt Busch
KuBusch almost took his undermanned team to a glorious W at Sonoma in June, with a mechanical issue relegating his result to a still-noble third place finish. Road courses often showcase drivers with raw skill and driving chops, and the elder Busch is just such a man. Look for top-five contention from the humble, yet admirable, team #51.
Position 6: Brad Keselowski
Keselowski was the odd American out last year at The Glen, battling with panache between the likes of Tasmanian Marcos Ambrose and Colombian Juan Montoya. Unlike Sonoma, which features slow corners and demands controlled finesse, Watkins Glen is a road course that caters more to Keselowski's penchants for aggressive speed and cornering intensity. Look for a repeat of last year's valiant performance.
Position 7: Clint Bowyer
Like several on this list, this ranking for this driver is a calculated risk based on past performance. This time, this ranking is based on Bowyer's recent sublime performance and victory at the tour's last road course (Sonoma in June).
Position 8: Juan Montoya
Like Johnson and Bowyer above, ranking Montoya this high is a risky notion. Montoya has won this race before (2010), and he almost nabbed the trophy again last year. However, Earnhardt-Ganassi woes continue to plague its teams this year, Montoya included. It might be a gift, but nevertheless, look for potential top-five contention from the fiery Colombian.
Position 9: Kasey Kahne
Kahne isn't necessarily known for road course glory, but he did put a large feather in his, er, helmet when he took the Sonoma win in 2008 over road racing great Tony Stewart. He can win on a road course, and he's hard-pressed to run outside of the top-10 this year, so look for solid speed from Kahne all weekend long.
Position 10: Kevin Harvick
Happy Harvick already owns a Glen trophy for his mantlepiece, having conquered the joint, and Tony Stewart along with it, in 2006. Harvick is a man with quiet yet savvy skill and raw racing ability, and he often puts on a good show at road courses. Keep a top-10 eye on Happy.
Position 11: Martin Truex Jr.
Truex Jr. is often a man to beat at the other road course on the circuit (Sonoma), and he's also riding a small wave of renewed strength over the last month of racing. It would be hard to imagine the man not contending somewhere around the top-10 this week, so along with teammates Clint Bowyer and part-timer Brian Vickers, keep your other eye on team #56.
Position 12: Joey Logano
To complete the risky rankings this week, Joey Logano brings up the vanguard with a 12th-place slotting. He owns three straight top-10's over the last three road course races, dating back to the Sonoma race of 2011. Such fact is a testimony to Joey's raw, if as yet unrealized, driving skills and potential, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him keep the top-10 streak alive this week.
Lucky Dogs: Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch
BEST OF MAXIM
Watkins Glen International turned into a 2.45-mile slip-and-slide Sunday as NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers attempted to avoid oil and rain.
But Marcos Ambrose used his stellar road-course skills -- and a little luck -- in an effort to find a dry line with maximum grip on a track that was less than satisfactory after the No. 47 Toyota coated the surface with oil.
And when the track wasn...
Marcos Ambrose driving the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford slipped by Brad Keselowski on the last lap of the race at Watkin’s Glen to win for the second year in a row.
Kyle Busch was leading the race reports are that he slipped on oil and got loose, at that point Keselowski got into him and turned him. [...]
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 Stanley/DeWalt Ford Fusion, is the defending winner of the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen. He spoke to reporters earlier this afternoon.
MARCOS AMBROSE ON WATKINS GLEN: “I remember the rain from last year and we had to wait until Monday to get it in, but it is good to come back. It’s been a good track for me and I’m ready to get started...
In the final laps at Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen, Marcos Ambrose's chances for the checkered flag looked slim. After passing Brad Keselowski to move into second and staying neck-and-neck with the leader Kyle Busch, Keselowski got by Ambrose.
At this time, Bobby LaBonte's engine sprung an oil leak, spewing the slippery black gold all over...
Marcos Ambrose passed Brad Keselowski on the final lap, then held him off in a fender-banging duel to win the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International for the second straight time.
Kyle Busch was in control but was leaking oil on the track and skidded sideways coming out of the first turn of the final lap. Keselowski's No. 2 Dodge caromed off the side of the No. 18 Toyota...
Marcos Ambrose got by Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski on an oil-slicked race track on Sunday to claim victory in the Finger Lakes 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday. It was Ambrose’s second-straight win at the track.
“It just feels so good to be back here in victory lane,” Ambrose said.
Busch was in the lead as the white flag waved...
On a track too greasy to provide traction, Marcos Ambrose surged from third to first on the final lap of Sunday's Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International and won the race in a slugfest with runner-up Brad Keselowski.
Keselowski had grabbed the lead in Turn 2 of the final circuit at the 2.45-mile road course, after he knocked Kyle Busch's No. 18 Toyota for a loop...
Below is the race and commercial breakdown for the Finger Lakes 355k at Watkins Glen International Raceway from Sunday versus what it was a year ago.
Marcos Ambrose slid by Brad Keselowski to win his... [...]
Add another driver to the mix for the second Wild Card berth, the final Chase position available. With his second career win at Watkins Glen, Marcos Ambrose inserted himself into the Wild Card mix. Though he's yet to win at the Sprint Cup level on an oval track, which is a necessity if Ambrose hopes to make the Chase, anything is possible. There are now six drivers who...
Marcos Ambrose led the way for the Ford Racing drivers by qualifying 5th for the Finger Lakes 355 At The Glen from Watkins Glen International. The next highest Ford driver was Michael McDowell in 11th place, a great run for a team that normally parks races. Greg Biffle (15th) and Carl Edwards (18th) were the only other Ford drivers in the top 20. Below is reactions from those Ford...
Marcos Ambrose recorded the second win of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career and second straight at Watkins Glen International. Today’s win is the third of the season for Ford Racing and 609th all-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This marks the second time in 2012 that Ford Racing has swept a NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide weekend. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Greg...
One of the best races we have ever witnessed sent Marcos Ambrose to victory lane for the second year in a row at Watkins Glen. Going into the final lap Ambrose was third and he crossed the finish line first. Many factors affected the end of the race but oil was the biggest one. After Bobby Labonte blew his engine with two to go, he laid oil all over the track and the leaders would...
The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series twist their way up to Watkins Glen International this weekend to compete in the road course race at Watkins Glen. Driver like Marcos Ambrose and Tony Stewart have dominated the Sprint Cup race in the past but drivers like Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski are looking to become new favorites at the track. Wild wrecks filled the Sprint Cup race last...
NASCAR had one of the most exciting final laps in its history yesterday at Watkins Glen. The last lap brought back memories of Petty v Pearson at the 1976 Daytona 500 and Kurt Busch's classic Darlington duel with Ricky Craven in 2003. Kyle Busch took the white flag first, but careened off the track in the first turn. Busch was then spun by Brad Keselowski in Turn...