Welcome race fans to the 22nd race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This is the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips At The Glen. The Watkins Glen International is in the Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York. In beautiful wine country. A 2.45 mile road course with eleven turns, the racing is 90 laps. As a reminder, 48 Jimmy Johnson is on the pole with a lap of 123.619. And 2 Kurt Busch is with him on the front row. Road race ringers run through the line-up. The race was scheduled to start on Sunday, but was rained out before the command to “start your engines”. This is the second consecutive weekend where the race had to be raced on Monday. 47 Marcos Ambrose is the in-car reporter.
Some keys to the race and finishing well: Know your pit window and where to pit to make it to the end, take the last stop early, stay on the course and take care of the brakes. The pit stops are backwards here at Watkins Glen. They go around the track clockwise, instead of counter-clockwise. And they work on the car starting with the left side instead of the right first. So the pitting takes longer because they only do this twice a year.
So, here we go! 2 Kurt Busch jumps out to lead the first lap. 11 Denny Hamlin challenges 48 for second, racing side by side for quite some time. 48 finally gives the spot to 11. Jimmy says he’s loose. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets by 39 Ryan Newman for sixth. 08 Boris Said, one of the road course ringers, gets by 39 for seventh. 96 Bobby Labonte spins off the track on Turn 1. 31 Jeff Burton was already in the spot. 42 gets by 18 Kyle Busch for fifth. 47 Marcos Ambrose is pressuring 48 for third. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is up eight positions. 47 gets by 48 for third. 34 John Andretti is loosing spots and pits. 42 challenges 48 for fourth.
The first caution comes out for debris. With one to go, most of the field pits. 47, 9 Kasey Kahne and 43 Reed Sorenson stay out, with 47 leading. 42 runs into one of the over the wall crew of the 6 David Ragan team when 42 gets out of his stall. 11 and 88 are too fast and will have to start at the end of the line. 47 picks the inside for the restart. 55 Patrick Carpentier gets spun by 12 David Stremme. They are both able to go on and there is no caution. 18 gets by 43 for fourth. 98 Paul Menard gets into 24 Jeff Gordon. 48 gets by 43.
The second caution comes out on lap 23 when 12 is too fast in the inner loop and spins himself out. He is going backwards while everyone else is getting out of the loop and 29 Kevin Harvick and 24 get collected. He was trying to get by 83 Brian Vickers and lost it.
47 stays out again, still leading. 7 Robby Gordon is in the pits with the hood up. 39 is having alternator problems and is changing the battery. 2 takes the lad on fresher tires. 09 road course ringer Ron Fellows goes to the garage with a broken starter. 2 pits for fuel only, leaving 47 back in the lead. He leads and them pits the next time around. So that when he gets out of the pits, he has the whole track ahead of him with no one to have to race with. 48 leads. 17 Matt Kenseth is up thirty-one spots in eleventh.
18 takes the lead from 48. 20 Joey Logano spins after contact with 00 David Reutimann. 77 is overheating. He got into the grass. 26 Jamie McMurray goes to the garage with transmission issues. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 48 for second. 99 Carl Edwards gets by 18. 42 and 83 battle and 42 takes the spot. 11 gets by 83.
The third caution comes out when 88 looses his brakes while trying to get by 43. 88 crashes into the gravel pit and into the tires. 43 goes around the gravel pit to get out. 18 chooses the outside. 14 takes the lead in the esses. 42 and 07 Casey Mears battle. 42 gets the spot. 13 Max Papis gets by 08 08 gets to the pits, overheating. 55 and 39 get together. 48 spins off Turn 1. 43 gets into the gravel pit again. 14 pits and 2 leads. 2 pits and 12 leads. 7 drives by leader 12 to get one lap back. 12 pits and 82 Scott Speed leads.
The fourth caution comes out during the commercial for the big one. 9 gets loose next to 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. 77 gets knocked into the tires and launches himself off of them into 24. 31 Jeff Burton doesn’t slow fast enough and gets into them. 20 and 71 Andy Lally, a road course ringer, get some damage getting around them. Jeff, Jeff and Sam get out of their cars. We get a Red Flag for over nineteen minutes. 47 snuck into the pits before the caution for fuel only. 7 Robby Gordon is the Lucky Dog and is now on the lead lap, so he makes a pit stop.
34 and 09 are ahead of the leader and get waved around. Rain is seventeen miles away. 18 chooses the outside for the restart. 14 takes the lead. 16 Greg Biffle can’t get by 47. 47 and 16 get by 18. 18 missed his braking point!
The fifth caution comes out during the commercial for debris on the track. The debris was the tire from 19 Elliott Sadler who was spun by 6. 19 spins out 55. And the tire shreds off the car.
14 chooses the inside for the restart. They go Green with sixteen to go. 18 and 99 get by 16, but he blocks 42. 11 and 83 battle side by side. 83 forces 11 off the track. 08 blows up. 9 and 17 battle. 17 gets by. 96 gets loose. 2 gets by 13 who got into the grass. 99 gets by 18 for third. 26 is smoking.
And Tony Stewart wins his fifth win at Watkins Glen, making him the first to do so. This is his third win of the season. 13 runs out of gas 300 feet past the Finish Line.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley