Watkins Glen road
course ringer report
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A.J. Allmendinger leads Marcos Ambrose at Watkins Glen International. Allmendinger picked up his first career Sprint Cup win Sunday.
Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen International featured seven drivers in the field known for their road racing talent.
Below is a breakdown of those drivers and their race weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose
Ambrose, the veteran of the road course specialists, qualified outside pole for Sunday’s race.
Through the early stages of the race, Ambrose kept in toe with leader Jeff Gordon.
Ambrose assumed the lead after the first cycle of green flag pit stops, and continued to run inside the top-five.
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A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose lead the field to the green on the final restart at Watkins Glen International Sunday.
Ambrose played the fuel strategy game, restarting second with five laps to go. He and former teammate A.J. Allmendinger battled for the lead with Allmendinger obtaining the lead before the Hamlin-Kennedy caution.
Ambrose led a total of 19 laps, scoring his third top-five finish of 2014.
“We threw everything we could at it,” Ambrose said about finishing second. “We knew what was at stake, and we had a great race car, led a lot of laps, just came up a little bit short.”
No. 14 Regan Smith
Under the unfortunate circumstances of the Canandaigua Motorsports Park accident, Smith was pegged the driver of the No. 14 car in place of Tony Stewart’s absence. Stewart elected to withdraw from the races Sunday morning.
Smith flew with team owner Rick Hendrick to Watkins Glen International.
Making his first Cup start since May 2013, Smith started from the rear of the field.
Smith worked his way to 31st by the first caution flew for Cole Whitt’s impact in turn one on lap ten.
Smith narrowly escaped involvement in the lap 56 wreck and continued to run inside the top-20.
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Regan Smith filled in for Tony Stewart Sunday.
Smith collided with Jimmie Johnson out of turn one on lap 82, colleting front end damage.
Smith did not finish, posting a 37th place run.
No. 32 Boris Said
Boris Said made his second start of 2014 for Go FAS Racing Sunday at Watkins Glen. Starting 34th, Said’s car featured sponsorship from Genny Light.
Said fell a lap down but earned a free pass. Said brought Frank Stoddard’s single entry team a lead lap 25th place finish.
No. 33 Alex Kennedy
Making his fourth start of 2014 for Circle Sport Racing, Alex Kennedy ran his second career race at Watkins Glen Sunday.
The New Mexico native qualified 38th. Kennedy dropped a lap down around the halfway mark but earned the free pass in the latter stages of the race.
Kennedy wrecked on lap 86 after a tangle with Reed Sorenson while running on the lead lap.
“Sorenson just dumped us under caution,” Kennedy said on social media. “Car is destroyed.”
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger
Starting sixth, Allmendinger showed formidability at Watkins Glen Sunday.
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A.J. Allmendinger gets a hug from team owner Brad Daugherty.
Allmendinger ran inside the top-five for much of the day, picking up on the performance the team showed at Sonoma.
Allmendinger passed Carl Edwards for the lead with 30 laps to go and battled former teammate Marcos Ambrose for the lead with a few laps to go.
The 32-year-old driver led 30 laps en route to his first career Sprint Cup victory and first win for JTG-Daugherty Racing.
“I love these guys, I just wanted it so bad for them, for this team” Allmendinger said from victory lane. “They worked so hard.”
Allmendinger is now virtually locked into the Chase, the first time Allmendinger will qualify for the post-season.
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Nelson Piquet Jr. finished 26th his Sprint Cup debut Sunday at Watkins Glen.
Piquet Jr. fell a lap down before the halfway mark, but earned the free pass during the caution period from the Johnson-Smith incident.
Piquet Jr. finished 26th in his first NASCAR Cup race.
No. 95 Michael McDowell
Running a partial schedule in 2014, McDowell and his Leavine Family Racing Ford qualified 29th for their 11th race of 2014.
McDowell was involved in the multi-car lap 57 incident with Ryan Newman while running on the lead lap in 22nd.
The wreck red flagged the race for nearly an hour-and-a-half.
“I'm good, I thank the good Lord because that was a bad wreck,” McDowell said to ESPN. “It seems like when I do [crash, it’s] usually fairly big.”