UPS Game-Changing Moments: Watkins Glen
August 11, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
A DUEL TO THE FINISH
In the closing laps of the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose bumped each other, leaned on each other, raced each other side-by-side through the esses without wrecking -- astoundingly -- and swapped the lead before Allmendinger secured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory with a pass in Turn 6 with just over one lap left.
With the win, Allmendinger all but assured a spot for JTG Daugherty's single-car team in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Allmendinger was able to outduel the road-course ace Ambrose, who had been victorious two previous times at Watkins Glen International in Cup competition.
VIOLENT WRECK TAKES OUT TWO
A violent crash on Lap 56 near the exit from the Carousel (Turn 5) halted the action for an extended period, as track workers made repairs to severely damaged Armco barriers between Turns 5 and 6.
Destroyed in the wreck were the No. 31 Chevrolet of Ryan Newman, which turned sideways and smashed into the guard rail to the right of the racing surface, and the No. 95 Ford of Michael McDowell, which plowed into Newman's car as it rebounded from the barrier and backed hard into the guard rail on the left side of the course.
Newman was running behind Greg Biffle right before the crash, and Biffle catching some of the dirt off the track seemed to trigger the wreck. Newman is 14th in the current Chase standings despite not having a win this season.
GORDON LOSES POWER
It has been a magical season for four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who entered Watkins Glen with the points lead. And the Coors Light Pole Award winner came out strong by leading the first 29 laps. But then on Lap 51, Gordon suddenly lost power to his No. 24 Chevrolet SS and eventually had to be pushed to pit road by the wrecker.
Gordon finished 34th and gave up the points lead to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. It was a tough break in a season that hasn't had many of those unfortunate situations for Gordon. He will look to rebound at Michigan International Speedway, where he has two wins and 26 top-10 finishes in 43 career Cup races.
The NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.