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Lap-by-Lap: Watkins Glen

August 13, 2012, ,

Results | Standings

Lap 90 -- CHECKERED FLAG: Kyle Busch spins in the esses after contact from behind by Brad Keselowski. Marcos Ambrose and Keselowski both go through the grass in the inner loop, and the Ambrose pounds the rear bumper of Keselowski to take the lead in Turn 9. Ambrose is able to hold off Keselowski's ultra-hard charge off the last corner to claim the victory. If that's not enough, Jeff Gordon also spins coming to the flag.

Lap 89 -- Is Kyle Busch out of gas?!? What in the world? Brad Keselowski has closed dramatically.

Lap 88 -- Joe Nemechek was slow on the track, but he's been able to make it back to pit road. Brad Keselowski takes second from Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 87 -- The cushion between first and second remains about two seconds. Pace-car driver Brett Bodine reports smoke coming from the car of Bobby Labonte.

Lap 86 -- Jimmie Johnson is trying to figure out a way past Greg Biffle for fourth place. He takes the spot going into Turn 10.

Lap 85 -- Five laps to go. The top five is Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on pit road.

Lap 84 -- No change up front. The gap is still about two seconds.

Lap 83 -- The gap between first and second is now 1.9 seconds. That's a gain of a little bit, but not nearly enough at this point. Dale Earnhardt Jr. spins in Turn 5, but there's no caution.

Lap 82 -- Brad Keselowski appears to be out of the picture in third place, while Kyle Busch leads runnerup Marcos Ambrose by two seconds. Is there enough time to challenge for the victory?

Lap 81 -- The battle for second place has allowed Kyle Busch to charge out to a lead of 2.2 seconds.

Lap 80 -- Ten laps to go. Who ya got? It's Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose and pick 'em the rest of the way. Ambrose gets under Keselowski in Turn 1 for second, but has to give way going uphill in the esses. Ambrose then charges past Keselowski going into the innerloop to grab second place.

Lap 79 -- Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski have about a second on third-place Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 78 -- Kyle Busch is having to work hard to hold off a furious charge by Brad Keselowski. They're in the esses now.

Lap 77 -- Greg Biffle is trying to work his way past Marcos Ambrose for third place.

Lap 76 -- Brad Keselowski is on Kyle Busch's rear bumper for the top spot. This isn't over!

Lap 75 -- Fifteen laps to go. Kyle Busch leads Brad Keselowski by a little less than half a second.

Lap 74 -- GREEN FLAG: Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle are the leaders. Busch goes three wide to take the lead in Turn 1. Holy cow!

Lap 73 -- Tony Stewart is still on pit road. There's some fairly substantial damage on the rear of his Chevrolet Impala.

Lap 72 -- It appears from replays that Tony Stewart didn't get any help from behind. Could the track be damp from the rain?

Lap 71 -- YELLOW FLAG: The race's fourth caution is out for Tony Stewart's spin off Turn 11.

Lap 70 -- Twenty to go.

Lap 69 -- Marcos Ambrose gets past Kyle Busch for third place.

Lap 68 -- GREEN FLAG: Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle are the leaders. Biffle forces Busch wide in Turn 1. Yeah, he'll remember that.

Lap 67 -- More rain, but it's light. Pace-car driver Brett Bodine says the track is good to go. One to go at the inner loop.

Lap 66 -- Rain has picked up on the frontstretch.

Lap 65 -- Bad news. There's rain visible on one of the camera lenses mounted on top of the race cars.

Lap 64 -- YELLOW FLAG: Jason Leffler has crashed to bring out the third caution.

Lap 63 -- Kasey Kahne spins off course in Turn 1.

Lap 62 -- GREEN FLAG: Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle are the leaders. Pace-car driver Brett Bodine reports a light sprinkle. Keselowski is clear with the lead.

Lap 61 -- Tony Stewart's pit crew came back strong, and got him off pit road in second place.

Lap 60 -- The leaders are on pit road, and Marcos Ambrose comes with them.

Lap 59 -- YELLOW FLAG: The race's second caution is out for Denny Hamlin's blown engine. Just before the problem, Martin Truex Jr. had run out of gas.

Lap 58 -- Brad Keselowski is on pit road. The lead goes to Kyle Busch. Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are also stopping.

Lap 57 -- Marcos Ambrose, who pitted earlier, is now shown in 14th place. Tony Stewart is pitting.

Lap 56 -- Jeff Burton has taken his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the garage.

Lap 55 -- Brad Keselowski's lead over Kyle Busch is now up to 4.9 seconds. Look for him to stop in about five laps or so.

Lap 54 -- Team owner Roger Penske is on top of Brad Keselowski's war wagon. No pressure there!

Lap 53 -- Give a shout out to Sam Hornish Jr., who has moved his Penske Racing Dodge up to seventh place.

Lap 52 -- Running fifth right now, it looks like Tony Stewart has been able to come back from that issue on his last pit stop.

Lap 51 -- As strategy continues to play out, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart have moved up to fourth and fifth, respectively.

Lap 50 -- Martin Truex Jr. is in third place. His best previous finish here is a fourth.

Lap 49 -- Second-place Kyle Busch trails Kyle Busch by 5.1 seconds. Also, Kasey Kahne pits. He'll have to serve a penalty for speeding.

Lap 48 -- If Brad Keselowski is hoping to make this just a two-stop race, he'll have to go another 10 laps or so before making his next visit to pit road.

Lap 47 -- Marcos Ambrose gives up the lead to hit pit road. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick also make their stops.

Lap 46 -- Radar shows some spotty rain showers in the area. So, it may get wet. And it may not. Let's hope for not!

Lap 45 -- Kurt Busch is back on the track, nine laps down, in 33rd place. Also, the race has reached the halfway point.

Lap 44 -- If the race ended now -- and it's not going to -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. would lead Jimmie Johnson by three points in the Sprint Cup standings.

Lap 43 -- In four previous Sprint Cup starts here at Watkins Glen, Marcos Ambrose has never finished worse than third.

Lap 42 -- The top five are Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 41 -- Brad Keselowski is peddling hard, but he's still losing ground to leader Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 40 -- After taking the lead, Marcos Ambrose has opened up an advantage of nearly 9/10ths of a second.

Lap 39 -- Jeff Gordon, shown in 10th place, says that his car is "absolute junk." Up front, Marcos Ambrose dives under Brad Keselowski going into Turn 1 to take the lead.

Lap 38 -- Clint Bowyer, who won at Sonoma earlier this year, has developed brake problems. That won't work well here at Watkins Glen. He's in ninth place.

Lap 37 -- The fight for the lead is getting really good!

Lap 36 -- Jimmie Johnson has dropped back from second-place Marcos Ambrose, and Ambrose is going after Brad Keselowski for the lead

Lap 35 -- Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose and Jimmie Johnson have just a car length or two between each of them.

Lap 34 -- The garage is filling up. Joey Logano's day has also ended early.

Lap 33 -- Juan Montoya is backing up pit road, headed toward the garage. Also, Kurt Busch said in his post-problem interview that it was some sort of mechanical problem that caused the tire to fall off, not missing lug nuts.

Lap 32 -- Juan Montoya is off the pace with a mechanical problem. He had been in sixth place.

Lap 31 -- Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards are fighting hard for seventh place.

Lap 30 -- GREEN FLAG: Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Juan Montoya are the leaders. Keselowski is clear with the top spot coming back onto the frontstretch.

Lap 29 -- One to go at the stripe.

Lap 28 -- Kyle Busch leads the cars that hadn't yet stopped down it road. Tony Stewart left his stall with equipment, so he'll have to come back in. Kasey Kahne took fuel only.

Lap 27 -- The left-rear tire on Kurt Busch's car has fallen off. It appears the lugs weren't in place. He spins out of 11th place.

Lap 26 -- YELLOW FLAG: Jamie McMurray tags the guardrail at the top of the esses to bring out the race's first caution.

Lap 25 -- Kyle Busch leads Juan Montoya by 1.2 seconds and third-place Tony Stewart by 17.5. How much are the newer tires worth?

Lap 24 -- Brad Keselowski gives up third place to roll onto pit road. Kasey Kahne is pitting. His air-conditioning unit is not working. It had been filling his helmet with smoke before he disconnected it. Aric Almirola pits.

Lap 23 -- Jeff Gordon hits the pits. Kevin Harvick's car is also being serviced.

Lap 22 -- Could the leaders be thinking about making this just a two-stop race? Maybe so ... maybe so.

Lap 21 -- Marcos Ambrose makes his stop.

Lap 20 -- Kyle Busch, Juan Montoya, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose are staying on the track for the time being.

Lap 19 -- Jimmie Johnson is pitting.

Lap 18 -- Michael McDowell has been nabbed for speeding on pit road. He'll have to come back in. Jason Leffler gets off the track in Turn 10.

Lap 17 -- Ryan Newman is going to work the strategy angle. He's on pit road now. Michael McDowell is also pitting.

Lap 16 -- Jeff Gordon has moved up to seventh place.

Lap 15 -- Once again, Brad Keselowski has backed off from the rear of second-place Juan Montoya's Chevrolet. It's another 3.5 seconds back to fourth-place Marcos Ambrose.

Lap 14 -- Kyle Busch's lead over Juan Montoya is now 1.5 seconds.

Lap 13 -- It's hard to tell which of Watkins Glen's turns might be the hardest to negotiate, but Turn 1 would have to be tough. And the esses and inner loop. But don't forget the two 90-degree turns near the end. This ain't easy!

Lap 12 -- Brad Keselowski has closed back in on Juan Montoya for second place.

Lap 11 -- Tony Stewart has passed teammate Ryan Newman for sixth. Stewart has told crew chief Steve Addington that his car is tight while turning to the left and loose to the right. That doesn't sound good!

Lap 10 -- Video replay shows that Boris Said might have been helped off course by David Ragan. Maybe.

Lap 9 -- Brad Keselowski has dropped back from second-place Juan Montoya by a hundred yards or so. Also, Boris Said gets off the track in Turn 1. There's no caution.

Lap 8 -- Ryan Newman is having a good road-course run back in sixth place.

Lap 7 -- Juan Montoya and Brad Keselowski have been able to close ground on leader Kyle Busch. The margin is now down to a few car lengths.

Lap 6 -- Marcos Ambrose has moved past Jimmie Johnson for fourth place. Ambrose is the defending winner here at Watkins Glen.

Lap 5 -- Marcos Ambrose tries dive-bombing Jimmie Johnson for fourth place in Turn 1, but can't make the move work and backs off for now.

Lap 4 -- Kyle Busch has extended his lead over Juan Montoya to about a second. Montoya, meanwhile, has been under fire from Brad Keselowski for the position.

Lap 3 -- Brian Vickers has already developed an engine problem.

Lap 2 -- Jimmie Johnson has dropped a spot to fourth place. He endured one of the most spectacular crashes of his career during a Busch Series event here years ago.

Lap 1 -- GREEN FLAG: The race gets underway at 1:25 p.m. ET. The race will consist of 90 laps, just eight more than Saturday's Nationwide Series event. Kyle Busch takes the lead coming off Turn 1.

1:20 p.m. ET -- One to go at the stripe. The field is in Turn 10 now.

1:17 p.m. ET -- Joey Logano was NOT happy with Carl Edwards after their run-in during Saturday's Nationwide Series event here at Watkins Glen. That might be another opportunity for payback in this race!

1:15 p.m. ET -- The field is off pit road for the start of the pace laps. It's going through Turn 4 right now.

1:12 p.m. ET -- A clip on ESPN just now was a reminder. It was after this race last year that Boris Said tried going after Greg Biffle in the garage. Think there might be some payback today?

1:10 p.m. ET -- Kirt Manwaring, a native of nearby Elmira, N.Y. and a former Major League Baseball catcher, gives the command to fire engines.

1:04 p.m. ET -- A huge C-130 transport plane from the 914th Air Wing from Niagra Falls Air Reserve Station does the fly over.

1:03 p.m. ET -- Marlee Scott is back in action, this time with the American national anthem.

1:02 p.m. ET -- The colors are presented by the United States Air Force 313th Recruiting Squadron just before Rev. David Fife of Bentley Creek Wesleyan Church gives the invocation.

12:59 p.m. ET -- Marlee Scott, a recording artist out of Nashville, is singing the Canadian national anthem.

12:54 p.m. ET -- Five minutes until the start of the national anthem and invocation pre-race package.

12:36 p.m. ET -- Some may not like road-course racing. That's fine, but consider it this way. The evolution of NASCAR began on back roads with moonshine runners behind the wheel. They were the original road racers!

Noon ET -- ESPN is on the air. Driver introductions start in 30 minutes, with the green flag set for 1:20 p.m. ET.

7:45 a.m. ET -- Juan Montoya won the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen with a 127.020 mph lap during qualifying. Kyle Busch will start alongside Montoya on the front row, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose in the top five. Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray round out the top 10.