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It's a tight race at the top for the Sprint Cup Series points title. After the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen, Jimmie Johnson holds just a one-point lead over Greg Biffle at the top of the standings. Matt Kenseth trails by just two points.
Johnson is tied with Brad Keselowski for the most wins this season, tallying three. He also leads the way with 11 top-5 finishes in 2012.
The leaders are below:
|4||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||760|
|6||Martin Truex Jr.||728|
Kyle Busch led taking the white flag at Watkins Glen, but after his Toyota got in oil laid down by Bobby Labonte, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose tracked him down. Keselowski spun Busch in the esses, sending the No. 18 Toyota into the guardrail.
Keselowski and Ambrose then proceeded to have a wild final lap duel, sliding around the 2.45-mile circuit. Both cars were sideways, cutting through grass, and jumping through curbs. Ultimately, Keselowski slid last, exiting the final turn, and Ambrose won the Finger Lakes 335 for his second-career win and his second-straight victory at Watkins Glen.
Keselowski wound up second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, and Sam Hornish Jr. Greg Biffle finished sixth. Busch recovered to finish seventh, while Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith, and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top-10.
Johnson takes the point lead by a single marker after a late spin by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Jeff Gordon, in the top-10 on the last lap, spun exiting the final corner and backed into the wall similar to an incident by Tony Stewart earlier in the race. Gordon wound up 21st.
Tony Stewart will not get his sixth Watkins Glen victory in the Finger Lakes 335 today.
Stewart lost control as he exited the last corner and backed into the inside wall at the entrance to pit road, doing significant damage to the rear of his No. 14 Chevrolet.
The five-time Watkins Glen winner was trying to catch Brad Keselowski, who holds the lead with fewer than 20 laps remaining. Marcos Ambrose runs second as he seeks his second-career win and his second straight win at The Glen.
Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Greg Biffle round out the top-five.
Bowyer, struggling with brake issues for much of the day, is seeking to become the first driver since Busch to sweep the season at the two road course races. Bowyer won at Sonoma in June.
Keselowski and Biffle are among the front-runners looking for their first road course victory. Keselowski, already a three-time winner this season, could take his season-high fourth win of the 2012 campaign.
The Finger Lakes 335 is past its halfway point, and that is key. Rain is approaching Watkins Glen International, and depending on how much of the wet stuff - if any - hits the 2.45-mile road course, the race could be in its closing stages.
Brad Keselowski leads, but has not yet made his second pit stop of the race. Kyle Busch holds second ahead of Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, and Tony Stewart. Stewart, who restarted 25th after a pit road penalty during the first and only caution period of the race, charged into the top-10 even before the second cycle of pit stops began.
Clint Bowyer, Sam Hornish Jr., point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, and Denny Hamlin round out the top-five.
Marcos Ambrose has led seven laps but is among the drivers to already hit pit lane for their second pit stop, dropping him outside the top-10 as he awaits the other leaders' next trip to pit road. He was out front when he peeled off for his stop.
In addition to the mechanical woes for Juan Pablo Montoya and Kurt Busch, several other drivers have been felled by issues with their cars including Joey Logano and Jeff Burton. Burton is still on track but limping around with only seven cylinders firing on his No. 31 Chevy.
The Finger Lakes 335 is a third of the way complete, and a trio of drivers expected to contend for the victory today have had problems.
Something in the rear of Kurt Busch's No. 51 Chevrolet broke right after Jamie McMurray crashed to draw the first caution of the race. The entire left-rear tire of Busch's car came off as he tried to limp back to pit road. Busch had a chance to win at Sonoma in June before breaking a rear swaybar. He still managed a third-place finish that day, but his car is in the garage as the team attempts to diagnose what has put them out of the race.
Tony Stewart, the all-time wins leader at Watkins Glen with five, was third when he pitted under the yellow for McMurray's accident. As he pulled away, the gas can was still attached to his No. 14 Chevy. Leaving pit road with equipment attached to the race car is grounds for a NASCAR penalty, and Stewart was forced to the rear of the field.
Most recently, polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya broke a lower control arm in the left front of his car on lap 33. Unlike McMurray, his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing teammate, he avoided wrecking the car but the wheel was wobbling badly as he tried to limp to the garage.
While those three are having issues, Marcos Ambrose leads as he seeks to win his second consecutive event at the Glen. Stewart was the last driver to win consecutive races at the track, in 2004 and 2005.
Brad Keselowski holds second ahead of Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Busch swept the road course races in 2008, but those are his only Sprint Cup victories on the circuits with right hand turns to date. He's off to a good start in the Finger Lakes 335 as he looks for his third. After starting second, Busch took the lead from polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya on the very first lap and has held the top spot in the race's infancy.
Montoya, the 2010 champ, runs second ahead of Brad Keselowski who finished second last year. Keselowski's run was one of several impressive performances he had in the immediate aftermath of a broken ankle he sustained on at Road Atlanta in Brasleton.
Rounding out the top-five are Jimmie Johnson and defending race winner Marcos Ambrose. Ambrose's win a year ago made the native of Tasmania the fourth foreign-born driver - joining Canada's Earl Ross, Italy's Mario Andretti, and Colombia's Montoya - to win a race at NASCAR's top level.
Brian Vickers, who had a strong fourth-place run at Sonoma, blew an engine on the very first lap and will finish dead last. Vickers was making his fifth start for Michael Waltrip Racing in their No. 55 Toyota.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series shifts to a road course at Watkins Glen for Sunday's "Finger Lakes 355." Forty-three drivers will race 90 laps around the 2.45 mile track as they look to capture an elusive road course win.
ESPN will provide coverage for today's race with coverage getting underway at 1 p.m. ET. The green Flag is scheduled to drop at 1:20 p.m. Live streaming coverage of today's race will be provided via Nascar.com's Race Buddy site which includes alternate angles and plenty of in car camera feeds.
There should be no issues with the weather this week as the forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s with a very slight chance of rain.
Race Date/Time: Sunday, August 12, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Watkins Glen
Radio: Motor Racing Network
Live Streaming: Nascar.com's Race Buddy
Here's the starting lineup for today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya
2. Kyle Busch
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Marcos Ambrose
6. Ryan Newman
7. Tony Stewart
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Martin Truex Jr.
10. Jamie McMurray
11. Michael McDowell
12. Jeff Gordon
13. Regan Smith
14. Joey Logano
15. Greg Biffle
16. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
17. Sam Hornish Jr.
18. Carl Edwards
19. Kevin Harvick
20. Kasey Kahne
21. Scott Speed
22. Paul Menard
23. Denny Hamlin
24. Matt Kenseth
25. Boris Said
26. Bobby Labonte
27. Kurt Busch
28. Jeff Burton
29. Aric Almirola
30. Casey Mears
31. Dave Blaney
32. David Ragan
33. Brian Vickers
34. David Gilliland
35. Landon Cassill
36. Joe Nemechek
37. JJ Yeley
38. Josh Wise
39. Stephen Leicht
40. Mike Bliss
41. Jason Leffler
42. Travis Kvapil
43. Patrick Long
Juan Pablo Montoya grabbed his second pole in as many weeks Saturday. The Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing driver will lead the field to the green flag for the Finger Lakes 335 at Watkins Glen International. Montoya, an accomplished road racer with seven wins in Formula 1, won at the Glen in 2010. His pole last week at Pocono translated to a disappointing 20th-place result.
Kyle Busch, who won at the Glen in '08, will start second. Row two is shared by Jimmie Johnson - still seeking his first win at Watkins Glen, one of five tracks he hasn't won on - and Brad Keselowski. Marcos Ambrose rounds out the top-five and will share the third row with Ryan Newman. Newman's teammate and car owner Tony Stewart - the Glen's all-time wins leader with five - will roll off seventh. Clint Bowyer, who won at Sonoma in June, starts from the eighth position as he seeks to become the first driver since Busch in '08 to sweep the road races.
Completing the top 10 are two drivers newly off the free agent market. Martin Truex Jr. will start ninth, with a longterm extension with Michael Waltrip Racing imminent. Jamie McMurray, meanwhile, celebrated his new contract with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with a tenth-place qualifying effort.
Jeff Gordon, a three-time Watkins Glen winner, will start 12th as he looks to continue the momentum from his win last week. Point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. will roll off 16th.
David Ragan of Unadilla was 32nd in his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford.
Only 43 cars attempted the race, meaning no drivers missed the show.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International for this weekend's Finger Lakes 335. Marcos Ambrose got his first Sprint Cup win last year at The Glen.