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UPS Game-Changing Moments: Watkins Glen

August 11, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

UPS Game-Changing Moments: Watkins Glen
Moments that changed the course of the race at The Glen

UPS


PIT STRATEGY HELPS BUSCH, HURTS AMBROSE

Aric Almirola’s Ford nosed into a tire barrier after a blowing a tire on Lap 60 to cause a caution that interrupted a cycle of pit stops and knocked pole winner Marcos Ambrose out of the lead. Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch had already made their final stops, and that quintet led the field to green on Lap 64.

Kyle Busch pulled away to a lead of more than two seconds before caution for debris slowed the field for the sixth time on Lap 77. The race restarted on Lap 81, with Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Truex and Bowyer in the top four spots.

KAHNE COLLIDES WITH JUNIOR, FALLS OUT OF TOP 10

Kyle Busch’s work, however, was far from over. After the restart, a wild wreck involving Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought out the seventh caution and required another restart on Lap 85.

Contact between Max Papis’ Chevrolet and Ambrose’s Ford ignited an accident on the restart lap, with Brian Vickers’ No. 55 Toyota also collected in the melee. Forced to lead the field to green for the third time in 15 laps, Busch got away on the restart and held off Keselowski in a battle that intensified on the final circuit.

EARLY WRECK COSTLY TO GORDON’S CHASE CHANCES


The wildly fluctuating fortunes of Jeff Gordon hit another low point at the Glen. Gordon pulled up behind Denny Hamlin’s Toyota as the cars climbed through the esses on Lap 14. Gordon’s Chevy twitched left into the Turn 4 guard rail, slid across the track and nosed into the barrier on the opposite side.

The four-time Cup champion lost 23 laps in the garage as his team repaired the car. Though Gordon returned to the track on Lap 37, he finished 36th and fell out of the top 10 in the series standings.

The NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.