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Keeping Pace

Bold Move Gives Ambrose Second Win At The Glen

Marcos Ambrose made a bold move into the chicane around Kyle Busch in what proved to be the winning pass, as the driver of the No. 47 Toyota held the lead the for the final 19 laps, winning the event for the second straight year.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2009) — When Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Busch came to the chicane or “bus stop” on Lap 64 of Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, Busch stopped — out of necessity — and Ambrose didn’t.

Ambrose’s bold move into the chicane proved to be the winning pass, as the driver of the No. 47 Toyota held the lead the for the final 19 laps, winning the event for the second straight year.

Busch wasn’t happy with the aggressive pass, which forced him to miss the chicane and stop on the track for a three-second penalty, but he rallied to finish second, the record 10th straight time he has posted a first- or second-place result in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Carl Edwards ran third, after Busch passed him to the outside through Turn 1 in the closing laps. Polesitter Kevin Harvick came home fourth, followed by road-course specialist Ron Fellows. Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle, David Ragan, Brad Keselowski and Scott Speed completed the top 10.

“I just didn’t quite have the top-end speed to make a classic pass on him,” said Ambrose, who won in his only start in the series this year. “I knew I was going to have to bomb him somewhere to get the win. He wasn’t going to make a mistake on his own. I was going to have to force one on him.

“It’s Kyle Busch we’re talking about, and he’s going to race you hard, and so I just tried to throw the element of surprise in. I came from a fair way back — about a length-and-a-half back on him — and just bombed up in there. I knew that it was a high-risk move, but it was one that was needed to be made to try to win the race.

“We’re not here to come second. We’re here to win, and I had that mindset all weekend.”

Busch said he would not have tried the winning move Ambrose made.

“I wouldn’t have made it, because I would have wrecked,” said Busch, who expanded his series points lead over second-place Edwards to 212 points. “I think we would have wrecked if one of the cars didn’t give, (and) I was the car that gave. I don’t think it was a fair move. It won him the race. He had to do something.

“Yay for him. Good job — whatever. I wouldn’t have been able to it. I would have wadded my stuff up.”

Ambrose countered by pointing out that he hadn’t touched Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.

“You’re racing against one of the best in the business,” Ambrose said. “The element of surprise was my attack. He clearly reacted late to me coming on the inside there. I don’t know what he’s got to complain about.”

Edwards saw nothing wrong with Ambrose’s pass.

“Marcos knows more about road racing than all of us,” Edwards said. “I wasn’t happy that he moved me out of the way into (Turn) 1 earlier (after a restart on Lap 48), but he apologized for it and I believe him.

“I saw replays of it (the pass into the bus stop) on the big screen when we were driving around, and it looked like just a pass. If I could have put my car in that position, I sure would have. I think anybody out there would have.”

Ambrose’s pass wasn’t the only controversy of the afternoon. Robby Gordon and Joey Logano repeatedly got together on the track. The last contact between the two sent Logano into a tire barrier, only to carom back onto the track. The car burst into flames, and Logano escaped unscathed but angry.

“You can’t fix stupid,” Logano said of Gordon’s aggression. “It’s forever.”          

Notes: Ambrose led a race-high 26 laps, edging Edwards by one. … Busch led once for 15 laps, leading his 19th straight Nationwide race. That tied a record held by Sam Ard. … Ambrose has two Nationwide wins in 71 starts, and he’ll try to keep his 2009 Nationwide record perfect Aug. 30 at Montreal.

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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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