(WOMR file photo)
What an exciting end to the road race Sunday in The Finger Lakes 355!
Marcos Ambrose passed Brad Keselowski for the lead with just two turns to go, held Keselowski off through those final two corners, and went on to win Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at an oil-bathed Watkins Glen International road course.
With one lap to go, Kyle Busch had the lead, and appeared to be headed for the victory on the final lap, but lost grip in oil that had been laid down on the track by Bobby Labonte. When he recovered, he was still in front but with Keselowski right behind.
Keselowski moved in, bumped Busch sideways from behind and took the lead.
While Kyle and Keselowski were battling, Ambrose moved in on Keselowski over the final turns, bumped Keselowski out of the way and made the winning pass.
“I was the first one to slip in the oil and it was just getting worse and worse,” Ambrose said. “You could tell the car was staying out there because the oil was moving around the race track and you just take your chances. You’ve got to commit at that point in the race and it was great racing with Kyle and Brad. They’re the two best guys to race. It’s just awesome fun and that’s the way racing should be and we got the No. 9 Stanley Ford in Victory Lane.”
After the race, few drivers shared Ambrose’s assessment that racing on oil was fun. They took aim at NASCAR’s failure to throw a caution because of the oil which was on the track.
Among them were Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt, both of whom lost big points because their cars spun out in the oil.
“To work that hard all day long, come all the way from way back all the way up into the top 10 and have it taken away because they don’t want to throw a caution it’s pretty disappointing,” Gordon said. “I jumped out there to the outside of Kenseth and I think he could see the oil because he just gave it to me. I went out there and there was just no grip just completely came around.
“I went to the outside and hit it (oil on the track) and just spun right out. I’m just really disappointed because we fought hard today to come back to get what was going to be a pretty nice finish. The thing is, I’m just disappointed at how hard we had to fight for the position. The points are going to be what the points are going to be. We can’t control what other people do. We can only control what we do. And today, we took back control when we got off, and we were coming. It’s just unfortunate that it gets taken away from you because NASCAR doesn’t want to end the race under yellow.”
“Those last two laps were just out of control with the oil down,” Johnson, Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, said. “You are studying the road trying to see if you can see an oil trail and there really wasn’t a large visible one to dodge. But you could feel the oil on your tires and slipping and sliding and then guys are spinning all over. It was chaos, but I’m glad we got back to the finish line, finished third.”