News & Media

Trouble at The Glen

August 13, 2012, Andrew Shain, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Watkins Glen was not a kind track for the Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers as just three members of the red-and-white squad landed inside the top 20.

Greg Biffle's sixth-place finish paced the Coca-Cola crew. The road-course race also aided Ryan Newman, who currently holds the final wild-card spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with four regular-season events to go.

Greg Biffle

Watkins Glen finish: Sixth

Season standings: Second

Biffle is on a bit of a good run in recent weeks. He collected his third top-10 in his past four races. Biffle started 15th and worked his way into fourth with 10 laps to go. He was gaining on the leaders, but like many racers, he slid around an oil-soaked track on the final lap. Though he lost two spots in the race to finish sixth, Biffle gained a position in the standings.

What he said: "It was a pretty good day. It's unfortunate that I got in that oil. I had a fourth-place finish locked up because I almost wrecked and lost those spots. There for a while we were gaining on the 9 [Marcos Ambrose] a little bit, but we were just off a little bit [Sunday]."

Ryan Newman

Watkins Glen finish: 11th

Season standings: 13th

Newman overcame a pair of mishaps for his fifth straight result of 11th or better. He tried an early pit strategy that put him in the top five, but as a caution was ending about 30 laps into the race, his right-rear tire starting going flat. As the field restarted, Newman was back in the pits and came out in 33rd place. He glided inside the top 20 after another 30 laps. He ran out of gas coming in for a late pit stop but did not lose much track position. He continued moving through the field for an 11th-place finish. Newman holds the second Chase wild-card spot by a six-point margin.

What he said: "We were fortunate to work our way back up toward the front. I really think we had a car that was a little better than where we finished, but in the end it was a good day for us in the points, which was what we needed to make the Chase. That's our mission, and we're going to have to fight it out these next four races."

Tony Stewart

Watkins Glen finish: 19th

Season standings: Eighth

Stewart has been the dominant driver at Watkins Glen since 2002, having won five races there. But a simple mistake hampered a good day. He started seventh and was second on Lap 71 when he spun in the final corner. Stewart's Chevy slid into a pit-road barrier. After his crew repaired the car, he powered from 29th to 19th in the final 16 laps. He has finished worse than 12th just twice in the past nine races. Stewart slid two spots in the points standings, but his three wins all but assure him a spot in the Chase.

* Stewart's Lap 72 spin a precursor to craziness | Video

What he told his crew: "Sorry, guys. I gave it away there."

Other Coca-Cola drivers (in order of finish at Watkins Glen): Bobby Labonte's engine blew on the final lap for a 27th-place finish. He sits 24th in the standings. ... Jeff Burton's fuel pump failed about halfway through the race. He returned after six laps in the garage and came home 30th. He is 19th in the standings. ... Joey Logano had a rear-end issue that cost him nearly 20 laps in the garage and landed him 32nd. He slid to 18th in the standings but remains a win away from a Chase wild-card spot. ... Denny Hamlin reached the top 10 before his engine blew two-thirds into the race. He finished 34th and dropped to 10th in the season standings -- the final automatic Chase position. ... Jamie McMurray blew a tire and slammed into a guardrail for a 39th-place finish. He is 20th in the points.

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