Ambrose Smokes the Field to Win the Zippo 200

Ambrose Makes it Three in a Row at The Glen

Ambrose in Victory Lane

Marcos Ambrose has made visiting Gatorade Victory Lane at The Glen into a regular occurance following his third consecutive win in the Zippo 200.

Marcos Ambrose won today’s action packed ZIPPO 200 at Watkins Glen International by 2.835 seconds over Joey Logano, Kevin Harcick Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. An ecstatic Ambrose commented in victory lane: “This is the most satisfying win I’ve ever had. It’s huge for us. It’s nice to get a win for my guys.”

Second place finisher Joey Logano said this may have been the first time he was happy to finish second. “I’m glad we (Kevin Harvick) ran each other clean. I thanked him afterwards. We had a good car. That #47 (Ambrose) is the man. We had a bad set of tires on the second set. I’m happy with a second place at a road course.”

Harvick commented, “I didn’t do a very good job today. I knocked the front fender in against the #60 (Carl Edwards) at the start running over the curb. It didn’t’ start good. Then I was speeding g on pit road. My shoe string got stuck on the gas pedal. I had a lot of weird stuff happen today.

Former Formula One drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Jacques Villeneuve finished 7th and 8th respectively.
At the drop of the green flag, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano pulled away from the field. Behind them, Jacques Villeneuve moved up from his 6th starting spot into the 4th position. He held onto that position for a few laps before his brakes began fading. He had to give way to Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, dropping back to his original 6th position. Jacques would fight brake problems for the entire race.

On lap 3, Brendan Gaughan (#62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota) spun his machine in turn one.  A couple laps later, rookie Brian Scott (#11 AccuDoc Toyota) did a 360° spin in the ‘bus stop’.

The first pit stop of the day was on lap 9, when Billy Johnson (#6 CitiFinancial Ford) headed to pit road for fuel. It became evident that the strategy of the day was to pit relatively early in the race, hoping this would translate into better track position later in the race. Edwards and Harvick pitted before lap 15

There was a tense moment as Marcos Ambrose headed for pit road on lap 18. Tony Raines was helped into a spin entering the final corner by another car, just as Ambrose was looking for the entrance to pit road. Luckily, he made it through, as did Jacques Villeneuve. When the front runners were done with their pit stops, Joey Logano, who had pit on lap 14, was in the lead.

The first caution of the race flew on lap 20 for debris on the track from bodywork knocked off a car after a blown left front tire. Carl Edwards needed the time out to have his engine looked at. All the cylinders appeared to be firing, but there was clearly something amiss. The team would end up isolating a cylinder and attempt to finish. This effort would prove to be futile and the team parked the car.

Going green on lap 23, Jason Leffler (#38 Great Clips Toyota), who was running 8th,and Colin Braun (#16 Con-way Ford) ,who was in 10th, came together on the short straight between turn one and the Esses. As Leffler and Braun bounced off guard rails on opposite sides of the track, they ricocheted right back into the path of the pack. Once the dust cleared, the track was blocked and NASCAR had no choice but to throw the red flag, stopping the action. Justin Allgaier (#12 Verizon Wireless Dodge), Alex Kennedy (#23 Media Master Chevrolet), Billy Johnson (#6), Boris Said (#09 Zaxby’s Ford), Brendan Gaughan (#62), Trevor Bayne (#99 Out! Pet Care Toyota) and Victor Gonzalez Jr. (#05 31-W Insulation Chevrolet) all ended up with damaged race cars. Tony Raines (#34) even ended up on top of Billy Johnson’s machine. The red flag period would last 25 minutes.

When the race commenced under the yellow flag, Jacques Villeneuve headed to pit road from his 5th place to change 4 tires and make adjustments to his brakes. He would drop back to 13thposition. Kevin Harvick, who had nearly been involved in the giant melee, headed to pit road to change 4 tires as a precaution.
At the end of the first green flag lap, Kyle Busch muscled his way past Joey Logano coming out of the last turn. Logano would drop to 4th place by the time he got out of turn one, losing positions to Marcos Ambrose and Ron Fellows (#88 GT Vodka Chevrolet). As the leaders completed their 30th lap, Carl Edwards climbed out of his crippled machine, calling it a day after 25 laps.

On lap 33, Nelson Piquet Jr. made a mistake at the ‘bus stop’ under pressure from Jacques Villeneuve. Harvick would also get around Piquet Jr., dropping him back to 11th.

By lap 35, Busch and Ambrose would pull out a 4 second lead over Fellows, who was another 2 seconds up on Joey Logano. By lap 40, the leaders would pull out 6 seconds over third place

On lap 41, Ambrose was able to maneuver around Busch on the back straight after Kyle got balked by a back marker.

Kyle Busch headed to the pits on lap 48 for new tires and fuel. Ron Fellows was in one lap later, along with Brad Keslowski and Paul Menard. Unfortunately, Fellows and Menard would be penalized for speeding on pit road.

Ambrose made his pit stop on lap 51 while holding a 40+ second lead. Ambrose would return to the track just ahead of a charging Kyle Busch. These pit stops left Jacques Villeneuve in the lead. In the Carousel, Villeneuve was held up in traffic, ran wide, and then chopped in front of Ambrose. Marcos would get past Villeneuve in the next corner, but Busch was not able to get around. Moments later, the caution flag waved because of a blown engine for Justin Allgaier. Allgaier’s machine was running 25 laps down with no hood following the race-stopping pile-up on lap 23. Villeneuve would head to the pits while crews cleaned up the oil and water dropped by Allgaier’s machine, dropping Jacques to 14th

As the race returned to green on lap 56, the running order was Ambrose, Busch, Keselowski, Logano, Harvick, Fellows, and Ryan Newman.

By lap 60, Ambrose opened up a 3.4 second lead over Kyle Busch who was under attack from Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. Ambrose was so comfortable in the lead that he radioed his crew to say, “This is a lot of fun.” He would go on to set a number of fastest laps in the closing stages of the race as he pulled out a sizable lead.

With 19 laps to go, Kyle Busch dropped to 5th place after running wide at the entrance to the Esses. Just behind this action, Paul Menard’s car dropped a “weight box” sending a heavy piece of debris bouncing down the track at the bottom of the hill at the Esses. This brought out the 4th caution of the day.

With 7 laps to go, Kevin Harvick got past Brad Keselowski at the bottom of the Esses. With 5 laps to go, Ambrose led Logano by 3.5 seconds, followed by Harvick, Keselowski, Busch, Fellows, Piquet Jr., and Jacques Villeneuve.

The average speed of the race was 93.526mph. The ZIPPO 200 had 3 lead changes among 3 drivers.
Fourth place finisher Brad Keselowski now leads the NASCAR Nationwide point standings with 3509 points, 327 ahead of Carl Edwards who finished 33rd today.

© 2014 Watkins Glen International

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