Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Another hard finish for Ambrose, after a stirring duel with Montoya. But he can't be as angry as Greg Biffle or Denny Hamlin or Kyle Busch...

  Championship contenders Denny Hamlin (11) and Jimmie Johnson (in the wall) didn't have a good day at the Glen (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)  

   By Mike Mulhern


   It was another heartbreaker for Marcos Ambrose, the sensational Australian racer who is settling into a solid career on the NASCAR tour.
   After the frustration at Sonoma six weeks ago, where he dominated, only to stall his engine under yellow late, Sunday's frustration here was of a different sort.
   Ambrose ran nose-to-now with Juan Pablo Montoya through most of the 2-1/2-hour race, on a warm sunny afternoon in front an announced crowd of an estimated 90,000.
    But afterwards, and his fade to third, there was clearly pain in his face: "It's been a good weekend for me...but I got to tell you it doesn't feel nice finishing third.  I want to win so bad in the Cup series, and this was a really good chance for me. 
    "Something went wrong in the last pit stop.  We lost the handle -- maybe a different set of tires, slightly different spring rate in the tires.
    "I had nothing for Montoya there towards the end. 
    "He drove a heck of a race....and it's just a lot of fun racing a guy with that much talent.  He was swinging around the corners, jumping curbs, locking tires.  It was just a really good battle...something I'll take away from this weekend as a memory I'll never forget."


   Kyle Busch, who may have triggered the Hamlin-Johnson incident, didn't escape scott-free, as his front bumper shows (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Pocono winner Greg Biffle wasn't any happier himself after it was over. He had a top-five car, probably a contender too, until he got caught up in one of those typical road course brouhahas on a restart.
    "It sucks when you have to drive with people with their heads in the wrong place," Biffle griped after finishing 24th. "He (Boris Said) did the same thing every restart -- The guy is hanging on to the top-10 barely, and races this race once a year...He banzais the corner three-wide in turn one, because that is the only place he could make a pass on the restart.
    "Anyone can do that. He just jammed it in there three-wide, and Kevin (Harvick) was already turning in, I was already turning in.
    "There was no place for it."
   Said later wound up in the wall after a tussle with Tony Stewart, when Stewart complained Said tried to run him out of room as they headed toward the esses.
    "Kevin Harvick got underneath him off the corner, and I got to the left of him and got through turn seven just fine...and we got through turn one just fine --  and he just moved a little to the left there," Stewart said afterwards.
    "I have to stay on the road.  I gave him room through two corners and never pinched him down. 
     "I don't know if he didn't know we were still there (beside him), or if he thought he had more room. 
     "I can't go any further left than I already was."


   Boris Said, considering this was probably his best shot in a while at a tour victory, is probably second-guessing that incident with Tony Stewart (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Said himself hit the wall hard. "I was biding my time...just waiting for the end of the race to really go after it," Said said.
    "Me and Tony Stewart -- I guess he was just doing his deal and I was doing my deal, and our deals collided. 
     "That corner (off turn one, over toward the single-file esses) bit me twice this week. 
     "I don't really know what he (Stewart) was thinking.  That was just hard racing...double-file restarts. 
     "All the restarts were wild. 
      "My car was flying....He (Stewart) was off the track and it looked like he was trying to get back on. 
     "I didn't quite know he was there. I thought he'd filed in behind me. 
      "I'm a Tony Stewart fan.  I'm not going to complain and moan about him or say anything bad.  I just feel bad for my guys. 
      "I don't know what I could have done different. 
      "Hopefully he (Stewart) could tell me what I did wrong, because I don't think I did anything wrong."


    A very unhappy Denny Hamlin (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

     Meanwhile for runner-up Kurt Busch – a surprise runner-up even to himself – the day was great: "To race with Montoya and Ambrose...those two guys come from a different world when it comes to racing.  I had a blast. 
    "Second-place...and we got by Ambrose at the end.  We battled hard.  It feels good to do that on a road course.
   "I think where I messed up is when I let Ambrose get in behind me on the last restart.  I wanted him and Montoya to battle and take each other out. 
    "That would have gotten us a great shot at the win. 
     "We were right there in the mix with our car. 
     "It was great to race with those world-class guys today.  A guy from Colombia and a guy from Australia -- it's neat to see the different worlds come together on a road course and see who can come out on top."
   Carl Edwards, who started from the pole, finished fifth in a good performance. "We are building momentum," Edwards said of Ford's recent turnaround.
   "I think everyone out there was racing with 'cautious aggression,' us included. We needed to get the points and need to be in the chase."

    At the other end of the field for the start was Kyle Busch, who had car problems even before the green, but who managed to rally to finish eighth, albeit with some angry drivers in his wake.
   "The guys gave me a deep starting spot on the preparation.... Lead (ballast) was loose -- We didn't have all the spacing right inside the frame rails," Kyle Busch said. So he need pre-race repairs, and instead of starting 10th, he started at the rear of the field.
   Fortunately he had a very fast car.
   Unfortunately he gambled once too often late, and that three-wide move over in turn five wound up sending Jimmie Johnson into the wall.
   And also unfortunately that incident took out Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch's own teammate, who was angry: "A dive bomb. It's so stupid. 
    "We are racing for eighth or 10th place....and guys were just dive-bombing each other.
    "That's the way these road course races are. 
    "It's just a frustrating day.  We had only a 10th-place car all day....and then at the end guys are just going for it. 
     "I really didn't see who took out Jimmie, but I know in front of me Kyle dive-bombed Jeff Burton. And Sam Hornish dive-bombed me.
     "There was just nowhere to go. When Jimmie spun he just lit them up (the tires, with thick clouds of tire smoke) where nobody could see anything. And I just hit him.
   "We were (all) racing for 10th-place; we weren't racing for a win.  It's just lack of respect...and that's the way these races have gotten towards the end."


      [Note: You can use Twitter as an easy headline service for mikemulhern.net stories, with our instant Tweets to your mobile as soon as our newest NASCAR story is filed. And mikemulhern.net is mobile-friendly for viewing. You can also use the orange RSS feed button as a quickie headline service on your laptop or home computer for mikemulhern.net stories, by creating a Live Bookmark RSS feed on your web browser's toolbar. Or you can create a Google Alert for mikemulhernnet.]


  And an equally unhappy Greg Biffle (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com