KYLE BUSCH WINS AT WATKINS GLEN

Solid Run by Juan Pablo Montoya

South Florida resident Juan Pablo Montoya posted his third top 5 finish of 2013 -- a strong fifth-place result-- at Watkins Glen International (photo courtesy: Jerry Markland, GETTY IMAGES SPORT)

Kyle Busch held off Brad Keselowski’s furious last lap challenge to win at Watkins Glen International.  It was redemption of sorts for Busch, who led the most laps during the previous two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at The Glen, but could not secure the top spot to claim the checkered flag in either contest.

In addition to maintaining his lead over Keselowski and third-place finisher Martin Truex Jr., Busch overcame grass on his grill early in the race and three late restarts to earn the trip to Gatorade Victory Lane.

Busch’s first win at The Glen came in 2008.  It’s the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s third win in NASCAR’s top series this season. Meanwhile, Keselowski’s second place showing marks his third-straight runner-up finish at WGI.

Busch admitted his misfortunes from the last two years were on his mind, but he simplified his approach as the race drew to a close: “It was just run as hard as you can; try not to lose your car,” said Busch. “It was fun and (I’m) glad it worked out the way it did.”

Polesitter and two time (2011; 2012) race winner Marcos Ambrose led a race-high 51 laps before a crash with six laps remaining ended his day, dashing his chances for a third-consecutive victory celebration at The Glen.

Sunday’s win is Busch’s second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Watkins Glen International and 27th career win in the series.   The win gives the driver of the No. 18 car the fifth place spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings, an improvement of one place.

Just four races remain until the field is set for the 10-race Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup begins.  Jimmie Johnson, who finished eighth Sunday, now holds a 75-point advantage over second place Clint Bowyer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.  Johnson’s finish clinches at least a Wild Card spot in the Chase for the five-time series champion.

The Cheez-It 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International featured plenty of cautions and a lengthy red flag delay, but that didn’t deter Juan Pablo Montoya from posting a strong top-five finish - his third top-five finish of 2013. 

“It was fun it’s just not enough laps,” Montoya said after exiting his No. 42 car.   “It’s hard to pass.  These cars, you know, guys that run up front are pretty good here.  Our Target Chevy was really good all day.  To be honest with you we didn’t think we could make it in two (pit stops) all weekend.  We got so many cautions and I felt, you know they told me to save and I started saving a ton of gas and even saving gas we were pretty good.”

Next up for the Sprint Cup drivers is Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 18 (1 p.m. EDT, MRN Radio, ESPN, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90)—Race 23 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 15-17). The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins after Race 26. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.

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