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Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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Wild finish at Watkins Glen shakes up point standings

Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcus Ambrose made it two in a row at Watkins Glen last Sunday in a wild finish when oil all over the track sent cars spinning in all directions. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, who were both headed for top ten finishes, spun out in separate incidents and both finished well down in the standings. NASCAR did not throw a caution flag as the mayhem unfolded, but let the drivers beat and bang to the finish line. At the end it was the road racing specialist from Australia, Marcos Ambrose, who came out on top. 

Ambrose described the scene in his post race interview. “Yeah, it was absolute chaos at the end. The three cars were very evenly matched. Kyle had a head start on us there. I was trying to chase him. I burnt my tires off, really burnt off the brakes. I thought, I’m going to be stuck here in second. All of a sudden I’m starting to slide out on oil. Couldn’t work out where it was coming from, if it was from my car or on the track. I saw Kyle backing up to us. It was absolutely crazy at the end. 

“A huge thank you to Richard Petty Motorsports, Stanley, Ford, everyone on our program. A real thrill to be back in Victory Lane. We earned it. We’re up there with the big boys, led a lot of laps today, had to pass a lot of cars to get the win, and we did it.”

“I didn’t know Brad hit Kyle. I thought Kyle got loose first on some oil. Can’t blame Brad for hitting Kyle. The guy was sliding across the track. He was going to spin out. Brad finished him off. I thought, Man, there’s one, I got one more to go. Went up over the hill. Thought I was going to hit the fence. Then we get down to the chicane, I’m going to follow Brad because he’ll see the oil before I do and I might be able to save myself. I went straight off the track with him. That wasn’t a good plan.” 

“Then I dove to the inside thinking I was going to get off the oil that way. I slid through it through the carrousel. He slid through it afterwards. Got some momentum on it. Gave him a shot to try to clear him away. Sailed off into turn six. All I want to do is be offline. If I can be offline, there’s a fair chance, because up until that point it felt like it was on the racing groove. I felt if I could break off the racing groove, I’ve got a chance, then I’ll work it out from there. I turned in, slid, thought I had blown my chance in turn six. I went over the curb, shot back the inside of Brad, put him in the oil, he slid on the oil, we snuck through for the win. 

“You couldn’t see where the oil was at. If it was a black streak, it would be okay. It was almost like a fine spray. I was the first one to start sliding on it. For whatever reason, my line, I slid into turn one, the hill, the bus stop. I thought I was blowing up. I thought it was my oil. Didn’t know what was really going on. Not until I saw Brad and Kyle sliding as well, I thought, Okay, there’s something on the track and we’re going to have to deal with it. 

“Big shoutout to NASCAR, a lot of people saying: Should they have thrown a caution or not... No one wants to see these races finish under caution, bunched back up in these two-by-twos, make it a random finish. We had the three fastest cars duking it out for the win. That’s the way it should be and I think they made the right call.”

When the dust cleared Dale Earnhardt Jr. went from the points lead to fourth. Jimmie Johnson heads to Michigan this weekend with a single point lead over Greg Biffle. Matt Kenseth sits in third, two points behind Johnson.

You may reach Pete Barber at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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