Kyle Busch fought off Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. on three restarts in the final 12 laps to win the Cheez-It 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International on Sunday.
Busch finally claimed a win after two years of leading the most laps.
Keselowski held on for runner-up honors, taking his third straight Watkins Glen second-place finish. Truex was third.
Busch got restarted in the lead after a lap-60 caution. He had made his final pit stop of the race just before the yellow flag waved. Those who hadn’t stopped during green-flag conditions were forced to pit under caution, moving those who pitted previously up to the front. Busch remained up front for the rest of the 90-lap distance.
Marcos Ambrose, who was the two-time defending winner of the event, dominated the first two-thirds of the race, leading all but 10 laps by the time the lap-60 caution came out. But when the yellow waved, it caught Ambrose just before heading down pit road. As a result of pitting under caution, Ambrose restarted 14th and was never able to make up much ground on the front runners in the remaining laps.
Ambrose’s race went from bad to worse on a restart with six laps to go. He was among a group of drivers that got bunched up on the restart and wound up spinning and hitting the wall, ending his day prematurely and resulting in a 30th-place finish.
Keselowski spun, himself, early in the race, but managed to not make contact with any other cars or the wall and was able to continue to work his way back toward the front. By the time Ambrose’s issues began with the lap 60 caution, Keselowski was back toward the front to battle with Busch and Truex for the lead.
But the lead was one that Busch wouldn’t relinquish. Both Keselowski and Truex pressured Busch for the lead on restarts throughout the remainder of the race.
Each time, though, Busch managed to stay out front and pull away before another caution would come out.
NOTES: Ambrose led a race-high 51 laps. … The race included five lead changes among five different drivers. … The yellow flag waved eight times, three times in the final 12 laps. … The race was red-flagged for more than 12 minutes after a multi-car wreck on lap 40. … Keselowski moved up four spots in the championship points standings, from 12th to eighth. … Max Papis, filling in for the injured Tony Stewart, finished 15th
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