By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(August 15, 2011)
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.—Marcos Ambrose passed Brad Keselowski on the first lap of a green-white-checkered-flag finish at Watkins Glen and won Monday’s rain-delayed Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen under caution when a violent multicar wreck exploded behind him.
Ambrose became the fifth first-time winner in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series this year.
Keselowski was second when the yellow flag froze the field. Kyle Busch, who lost the lead on the final restart on Lap 91 of 92, came home third, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.
Kurt Busch, who entered the race fourth in the Cup standings, had a rough afternoon. After spinning in the inner loop on Lap 4 and losing a lap, Busch knocked AJ Allmendinger out of the lead and off the racetrack on Lap 9.
Busch’s frustrating day came to an end on Lap 49, when a brake failure sent him hard into the tire barrier in Turn 5.
“I had a big problem getting into the braking zones today—just rear brakes locking up,” Busch said after the crash. I had to crank eight rounds of front brake into our (car) just to survive. All that does is generate brake heat, and I blew out the left-front tire.
“It was a bummer of a day and not anything that we expected. It must have been something with the brake package. Whatever Keselowski found at Road Atlanta (during his Aug. 3 testing accident), I had a problem with today.”
As hard as Busch’s wreck was, it paled in comparison to the hit Denny Hamlin took in Turn 1 when his brakes failed on Lap 65. Hamlin rocketed into the wall, destroying the front clip of his No. 11 Toyota.
“Something blew out in the left front,” Hamlin said after being released from the infield care center. “When it did, it must have cut a brake line, so I had no brakes. I was trying to do everything I could to weave or anything I could to get the speed down in the car.
“There was just nothing you could do. The front tires locked up, and you can’t steer.”
Hamlin finished 36th and lost ground to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the battle for the 10th spot in the Cup standings.