Allmendinger records first win
WATKINS GLEN–In classic Watkins Glen fashion, the final laps of the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, Sunday Aug. 10, gave race fans a reward for sticking around until the end of the race. AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose battled with each other as the race wound down, running two wide, repeatedly making contact and both constantly looking for an opportunity to pass. Allmendinger was able to get around Ambrose with just over one lap left and hold him off for the win.
“I was hoping to make [my first win] boring, honestly,” said Allmendinger, driver of the No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Chevrolet. “I wanted to lead all 90 laps and just have a cruise control. But that’s what makes the Sprint Cup Series so fun. You know you’re not going to get that.”
He continued, “And [Ambrose], I don’t believe he’s one of the best road racers in NASCAR, I don’t believe he’s one of the best in the U.S., I believe he’s one of the best in the world.”
This was Allmendinger’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 Ford, recalled the final laps, “I got my tires really hot during [the final laps] and I slid coming off turn 11 after I got the lead and he was able to get it back before the caution dropped. That was probably the difference between winning and losing the race right there.”
The top five included Allmendinger, Ambrose, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson and Carl Edwards.
Pole-sitter Jeff Gordon lost power in his car during the race, and the result was a 34th place finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended the day in 11th.
Five-time WGI winner Tony Stewart did not race Sunday, Aug. 10, after a racing incident in a sprint car at Canandaigua Motorsports Park Saturday night. Stewart’s car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during the race. Regan Smith competed in Stewart’s car Sunday.
Although Ambrose had to settle for second in the Sunday Sprint Cup race, he was first in Saturday’s Zippo 200. The Nationwide race saw a familiar face in victory lane as Ambrose led for 48 laps to beat Kyle Busch to the checkered flag.
This was Ambrose’s fourth time winning a Nationwide race at Watkins Glen.
The top five in the race was rounded out by Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth.
Racing action began at Watkins Glen, Friday, Aug. 8, with the running of the Bully Hill Vineyards 125. The race was for NASCAR’s Pro Series East division and second-year driver Scott Heckert brought home the win.