Find out more about our subscriptions

Kyle Busch wins at Watkins Glen

Kyle BuschSprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch made history by becoming the first driver in NASCAR to win three road-course races in the same year by scoring his eighth victory of the season at Watkins Glen.

The 23-year-old had started the race from the pole but gave up the lead on the first lap at the Bus Stop when Dale Earnhardt Jr dived on the inside of him. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon also got by him but good strategy and a faultless drive helped him charge back to the lead and score the 16th win of the season counting all NASCAR series.

Since the first laps of the race his teammate Tony Stewart shadowed his every move and the pair even swapped positions right before their second and last pitstop just to allow 'Smoke' to grab an extra five points for leading the race to further help solidify his Chase seeding.

After their last stop and once everyone pitted for the last time, Busch easily controlled the race up front with superior pace, while Stewart had his mirrors filled with Australian Marcos Ambrose, who drove a clean race to finish right behind the JGR cars.

"This year has been phenomenal," said Busch, who had another perfect score by leading the most laps during the afternoon, besides setting the fastest lap of the race.

"I just can't thank Toyota enough. I can't thank the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing. It was fun to be able to race out there and I had a great time racing with my friend and teammate Tony Stewart there. I'm really going to miss seeing him at the end of the year and wish he would have stayed."

"I knew he was going to be tough to beat. I was racing against the same stuff so I knew it was going to be hard."

Busch probably put things harder than they looked as at no point during the race he seemed to have anything for his young teammate. Stewart came home in a solid second place, which boosts him up to seventh place in the standings with only four races left before the Chase starts.

Ambrose made a great comeback from the back of the grid in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, rounding up a great weekend after his maiden Nationwide series victory on Saturday. His team timed his strategy perfectly, making a short last stop for fuel as he had already taken on new tyres a few laps before under caution.

The move allowed him to jump several spots and put him in fifth place once everyone had already pitted. He later overtook Martin Truex and inherited third place from Ryan Newman, who spun at turn one before running into electrical issues which further hampered a promising run.

Ambrose put Stewart under pressure in the last part of the race following a red flag for a multi-car crash eight laps from the end when David Gilliland had contact with Michael McDowell and crashed against the tyre barrier on the last corner, being collected hard by Bobby Labonte and then Joe Nemechek.

"I thought yesterday was great, but when I wound up there on that red flag, I realized where I was," Ambrose said. "I was behind Tony and in front of all those other great drivers. We came up out of the truck so well yesterday, in practice we were too scared to change anything, and the car was flopping around a lot during the race.

"It had a lot of grip, it was just real tough to drive. So I just tried to stay clean as best I could there and pass cars cleanly, and just pick away at it. You know, I really had no idea where we were at until the last pit stops. We cycled through about sixth place, so it's just a great day all along."

Juan Pablo Montoya came home in a good fourth place almost hitting the rear bumper of Ambrose into the penultimate corner. The Colombian was happy to finally score a good finish although he could have been in a position to win the race had he not lost time on pit road during his two planned stops.

"We got a little messed up on the second pitstop," said Montoya, who had started the race 25th. "I'm not sure about what happened. The pitstop itself was OK, but the pit stall that we were in screwed us up a little bit and we lost some spots.

"When you have to go back out and pass five or six guys that you've already passed, you just kill your brakes and makes it hard to run good laps. Other than that, we had a really clean race."

Martin Truex Jr rounded up the top five and claimed his best ever finish on a road course, followed by Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.

The reigning Cup champion had to pit out of sequence while running at the front when he felt a tyre going down after going off at the exit of the Inner Loop. Despite that he was able to recover through strategy and pace, moving up to third in the championship as the top Hendrick driver.

Patrick Carpentier was the highest finishing rookie in 20th after a trouble day for the series' newcomers. The Canadian had contact early on in turn once while McDowell and Hornish were both involved in the 'Big One' of the day.

Following today's win Kyle Busch has now a 50-point gap to Carl Edwards in the standings once the Chase starts, thanks to his eight ten-point bonus for victories, relative to Edwards' three.

Pos  Driver               Car      Laps
 1.  Kyle Busch           Toyota      90
 2.  Tony Stewart         Toyota      90
 3.  Marcos Ambrose       Ford        90
 4.  Juan Montoya         Dodge       90
 5.  Martin Truex Jr      Chevrolet   90
 6.  Kevin Harvick        Chevrolet   90
 7.  Jimmie Johnson       Chevrolet   90
 8.  Denny Hamlin         Toyota      90
 9.  Carl Edwards         Ford        90
10.  Kurt Busch           Dodge       90
11.  AJ Allmendinger      Toyota      90
12.  Matt Kenseth         Ford        90
13.  Ron Fellows          Chevrolet   90
14.  Kasey Kahne          Dodge       90
15.  Elliott Sadler       Dodge       90
16.  Jamie McMurray       Ford        90
17.  Jeff Burton          Chevrolet   90
18.  Brian Vickers        Toyota      90
19.  Casey Mears          Chevrolet   90
20.  Patrick Carpentier   Dodge       90
21.  Greg Biffle          Ford        90
22.  Dale Earnhardt Jr    Chevrolet   90
23.  Clint Bowyer         Chevrolet   90
24.  Boris Said           Dodge       90
25.  Michael McDowell     Toyota      90
26.  Ryan Newman          Dodge       90
27.  Robby Gordon         Dodge       90
28.  Paul Menard          Chevrolet   90
29.  Jeff Gordon          Chevrolet   90
30.  David Ragan          Ford        90
31.  Reed Sorenson        Dodge       90
32.  Sam Hornish Jr       Dodge       90
33.  David Reutimann      Toyota      89
34.  Scott Riggs          Chevrolet   89
35.  Aric Almirola        Chevrolet   89
36.  Travis Kvapil        Ford        89
37.  PJ Jones             Toyota      89
38.  Joe Nemechek         Chevrolet   86
39.  Michael Waltrip      Toyota      83
40.  David Gilliland      Ford        81
41.  Dave Blaney          Toyota      81
42.  Bobby Labonte        Dodge       81
43.  Max Papis            Chevrolet   81
  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Skinner replaces McDowell at MWR
Labonte OK after massive crash
Rain puts Kyle Busch on Glen pole