Tag:Watkins Glen International Raceway
Posted on: August 16, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:27 pm

Boris Said adds more to Greg Biffle issue

Posted by Pete Pistone

Boris Said has spoken to Greg Biffle and says everything is all better in the wake of their incident Monday at Watkins Glen International Raceway. The two spoke by phone on Tuesday to smooth over their disagreements, which Said explained dates back to last year's Watkins Glen race.

Said visited with Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's "Sirius Speedway" program on Tuesday and gave some more insight on the situation.

Among the highlights from the segment was Said's follow-up to his post race comment asking people to text him Biffle's address so he could face him:

"I'm glad he called me, because I would have went to his house. I had plenty of people text me his address," he said.

Asked to share more details of the conversation, Said replied he didn't want to "kiss and tell" and that today he "was a lover, not a fighter."

Here's the complete audio of Tuesday's segment:


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Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:21 am

Video of the Day: Jimmie Johnson's Glen crash

Posted by Pete Pistone

Denny Hamlin's hard crash Monday at Watkins Glen reminded many of this 2000 Jimmie Johnson accident that took place during the Nationwide Series race at the road course:

Posted on: August 15, 2011 5:26 pm

Marcos Ambrose, Todd Parrott post Glen comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

Monday's Watkins Glen race winner Marcos Ambrose and crew chief Todd Parrott discussed their big day with the media following the race:

TODD PARROTT: Yeah, it was just an incredible day. From the time that we unloaded this race car off the truck on Friday, it was fast, and you know, we were one of the -- the fastest car in the first practice. We elected to work on our race stuff, work on the balance on our race car and not really worried that much about setting a fast time for qualifying. But knowing that Marcos was good here and that he would be able to have a pretty good time, we weren't really that worried about it.           

We really focused on the race and then worked on some more race stuff starting the second practice, switched over in qualifying and had a great car. And then today just -- it's crazy because you have a rain delay, and you have rain coming and you have all these scenarios and all these things that go through my head for two days. Can't sleep from worrying about is it going to rain at halfway, do they do this, do we do that, but we had a plan coming here after we saw what our fuel mileage and that type of stuff on Friday, and we stuck with our guns, and the rest of it, we made our pit stops, the cautions fell, and everything worked out today.           

The big guy upstairs was looking out after us, and it all worked out. Just happy to get this 9 Stanley Ford Fusion team back in victory lane. It's been a while for me, 2005 with Dale Jarrett, so to get Marcos his first win in the Cup Series is something very special for me that I'll remember for a long time. Just for Richard Petty Motorsports, the things they went through in 2010, and to come back, people would not give up.           

We had two of the main owners here today, Doug Bergeron and Andy Murstein were here sitting on the pit box with us, and I told those guys back earlier in the year, just hang in there, the win will come. And today we finally got it done, and I'm just -- like I say, I'm just happy to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports and Ford Racing Team and everything that went on today at Watkins Glen.           

I remember being a kid here with Rusty Wallace back in the day in victory lane when it was the Bud at the Glen. So it's a special day for me. It's a place that I've never won at, so I can add this to my bucket list.           

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, just a dream day. The sacrifices you make, we all make to get here, Todd and all the team, the Petty family, my family to get here, to be a contender in the Cup Series, to finally get to victory lane, it just is a dream come true for me. I've traveled halfway around the world and dragged my kids and my wife with me, and I kept telling them I was good, but until you can win in the Cup Series you can't really put that stamp on it.

I've tried for two and a half years now to get to victory lane, and I just have to thank Todd for giving me the chance. We're getting on great as a team. We're all blending well. We understand each other. We're good friends and have respect for each other, and it's very important when you get days like this where you can rely on -- I can rely on Todd to make good judgment calls on the box, and he can rely on me to go out there and do my job.           

Awesome day. We just dedicate it to Mrs. Petty. She's doing it a little tough down at home. We wish her the best and dedicate this win to her.           

This time last year I didn't know what I was going to be doing. I didn't know I was going to be in the Cup Series. Took some chances, was on the roller coaster with the whole Petty team when it went through the changes the end of last year, and to get into victory lane is just a dream come true on behalf of Ford and Stanley and deWalt and all the other partners that make this 9 team run. I've just got to thank them and hopefully we can get back to victory lane again soon.           

I think this might open the box for me get a few more. I've felt a lot of weight and expectation and pressure to win, and sometimes that clouds judgment, and I know I've pressured myself once or twice trying to get to victory lane here in the Cup Series, and not that I was worried, but the word "choke" was starting to creep into the back of my mind.           

We survived today. We fought our way back to the front. We had a late race restart. You know, fought and gouged our way to the front and got the win, just a dream day, and very thankful for the opportunity that I've got to be here and that I've made the most of it today.            

Q. Marcos, I remember talking to you at Martinsville last year. Can you talk about the emotions you went through? It seems like you've kind of helped save Richard Petty Motorsports and they helped save you, as well.           

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, there was a time where I was sitting around the boardroom table and I was the only one there. I mean, who knew what was going to happen. It was completely out of my hands. Richard Petty and his team around him and with the help of Doug Bergeron and others have just -- Andy Murstein, saved this team. To see it pare down from four to two, get rebuilt, I think it's helped us. I think it helped all of us that have been through it to have the glue. We know what we went through, we're thankful for what we got, and we're now helping rebuild Richard Petty Motorsports back to where they want to be.           

There were days, weeks where I was very anxious, but you've got to roll the dice sometimes and be patient and turn the phone off, play golf for a while, and it all worked out.           

Q. It might have been hyperbole, but your teammate Carl Edwards said you could win a Formula 1 championship; you know something about that. Are you really that good? I know you're good, but you seem to be more mature this year than you were last year. How good are you?           

MARCOS AMBROSE: I've got no idea, but it feels pretty good to be in victory lane. And for Carl to say that, I appreciate it. I tried to get to Formula 1 and didn't make it. If I have a chance to do it again, you know, I might be too old.           

But I love racing. I'm a hobby racer. I do it because I love it, and I'm lucky enough to get paid, and I'm a historian. I love old school racing, I love knowing about the old style race cars and the drivers from back in the day, and I'm just -- I have a passion for the sport, and I think it helps me on the racetrack. I'm a good student. I watch others around me and try to do better.           

We now need to win on the ovals. I've won on a road course in Sprint Cup Series, it's awesome, but for me now the next big challenge is Michigan coming up next week and Bristol the week after that because I want to win badly on those, and I'm trying hard to work out the missing link between myself and guys like Carl who can win on those ovals consistently.           

And who knows, I'm going to keep trying. I'm totally dedicated to NASCAR. It's what I want to do, it's where I want to be. It's the best sport in the world, and I'm very lucky to be doing what I'm doing.           

Does that answer your question? I've got no idea how good I am.           

TODD PARROTT: He's great.            

Q. Before the last caution came out, Kyle was able to gap you and maintain it. Were you like, oh, here we go again?           

MARCOS AMBROSE: No, I had a run at him, and I had a couple chances, and he locked up a tire and I missed a shift and locked up my tires and got all frazzled. So was cooling everything back down to have one more shot at him. I knew the laps were winding down, but he was struggling. He was fighting his car. I could see that he was really loose up over the esses. I was going to have another shot at him if I was within three or four lengths coming into the last break because I knew I was going to go through him to try to win.           

When the caution came out, I actually was pretty happy about it, letting everything cool down and have another shot at him.           

On the restart I tried to actually blend in behind him because I knew I was never going to outbreak the 18, he was just kind of sidled off in there trying to win the race, and that's exactly what he did. But I couldn't find a hole, so I kind of got stuck in Turn 1 and just sidled off in there and tried to make a hole, which worked out for me. And with Brad, I just got through the bus stop really good and just forced the issue on him, and I never touched him I don't think, but I got him aero free and was able to slide past.           

It was only motor home I was talking to Brad about how hard the Cup Series is to win, and he said, yeah, when you get a fifth place car or a third place car, you've got to be able to win with those days, and there we were, the two of us duking it out for the victory. He's an upcoming superstar and great talent.           

All those guys at the front today just drove superbly and you've got to just take your chances, and today it worked out for us.            

Q. Now with the win, you've thrust yourself pretty much right into the middle of the wild card situation, particularly with the bad day that some of the other guys in the mix had today. Any second thoughts about doing the back and forth to Montreal next week, and how are you going to manage that?           

MARCOS AMBROSE: We're going to Montreal to win that one, too, and we'll go to Michigan on Sunday and try to win it. I've got -- I don't know about points, I really don't give a hoot about it, I've just got to win races. Today we won. It's a new day tomorrow. It's a new chapter for us as a team. We've got to victory lane. I think we're all going to get a bit of mojo, a bit of confidence about us and keep fighting, keep trying, and you never know. I mean, we're not out of the Chase, that's for certain, but looking at points ain't going to help you. You've just got to go out there and try to win races.            

Q. Can you talk about this weekend here and not being able to run the Nationwide race which you claimed as your own?           

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, definitely made for an anxious couple of days. I would have loved to have done the Nationwide race, but the first thing was that we really had to stay dedicated to our Cup program, and when we couldn't do it right over at Richard Motorsports with the Nationwide car, it was the right thing to do not to attempt the Nationwide win. It would be great to win four in a row, but it's even better to be in victory lane today, and we couldn't take away from what our ultimate objective is, and that's Sprint Cup Series, and it's worked out.           

Next year, though, I want to do the Nationwide race. Whoever is listening out there, I want to do it and win two on the weekend.            

Q. Was this a typical Watkins Glen race, or has the intensity level these last few races really risen with the wild card spots?           

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, there was some stuff going on today that created a lot of aggressive driving, and I drove pretty much 100 percent the whole day. It's not often you can say you need to do that around this place. It's normally the middle part of the event where you can just cool the brakes down, look after your stuff, the pace settles down. But with the rain imminent, the fog imminent, the strategy all messed up with fuel strategies, you never knew who was going to be in the lead. You had to go the whole time.           

About flat 45 I was struggling with brakes, and we had to come into the pits and pull some tape off and that helped us, and we had to drive hard all day. Yeah, it was frantic. It was tough all day. I seemed to be always looking in my mirror because this was someone there all day, and I think it's just the nature of this track and the weather conditions and also the Chase format. Everybody is just going at it with this new points system. You know the top 10s reward you well for points and top 20s don't get it done. I think it's a combination of all those things.            

Q. (No microphone.)           

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, it's going to get to a frenzy here before the end, I'm sure.            

Q. You kind of went out of your way to tell us not to ask you about the wild card on Friday and Saturday. Are you willing to talk about it a little bit now? You're kind of -- the win is what you needed.           

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, the win is what we needed, no doubt. We've got to try and win two now. I don't even really know the points system that well to talk about the wild card. I just know that I have to go and win races and finish well in the top 10 from here to the end. That's what I'm going to try and do.            

Q. Todd, did you kind of have to -- when you got paired with Marcos kind of tell him everything was going to be all right because things were really in turmoil at that time, and also, did you toy with the idea of going back to Australia at all during that time because of your family?           

TODD PARROTT: Well, when they first started talking about it last year, when things were kind of going -- when Elliott, I think, made his decision that he was going to leave and where they were going to put me and what was going to happen and they had Marcos coming aboard, we started talking and developed a relationship toward the end of last year, and then over the winter, doing some road course testing and stuff. We got to spend a lot of time together. I kind of give him my background, where I came from, and I knew what his background was and I knew the talent that he was and just to be patient.           

That's the thing about this sport is just -- if you're patient and you keep working hard, sooner or later you'll be able to celebrate with all the fruits and the excitement and all the good things that happen in it.           

He's kept his head down, he's worked hard just like our whole team has, and it's just a pleasure to work with a guy like this. Like you said, we get along great, and I think each week the communication gets better, and I'm just really looking forward to the end of the season and hopefully we can go out and win a couple races. We've been good on the ovals. We've had some great runs this year, chances to win at a couple racetracks. I think, like you said, Marcos said, getting this win and getting the -- the load off his shoulders is going to help him, I think mentally, and it'll help us as a team knowing that we can win, that we can go out here with the Kyle Busches and the Juan Pablo Montoyas and the Jimmie Johnsons and all the great drivers that are out here in this sport and we can win.           

MARCOS AMBROSE: I needed a change. I mean, Tad Geshickter and the Gesheckter family, Jody, were great to me, a lot of security over there, good little program, but I felt stale. I had been with them since I'd come to NASCAR in 2006. I just felt I needed a change, and so I took my chances, left JTG a year early on the contract and tried to make something happen with Gillette and RPM at the time.           

I knew I was in for some troubles but I couldn't anticipate how much trouble it was going to go through. But at that point in time actually I was happy with any outcome. I had stuck my neck out, as you need to do sometimes to take a chance, and if it had have worked out that I was back in Australia, I was content that I had tried my best and I had made the best choices that I thought I could at the time, and it's all worked out.           

Here I am in the Cup Series driving for the King, got a fantastic sponsor in Stanley and DeWalt, got Ford on side, as well, and we're in victory lane, just a huge turnaround from 12 months ago, and very thankful.           

Eventually I'm going to get spat out of the sport, right? You can't drive forever unless you're Mark Martin (laughter), and I'm happy. I'm happy with what I've done. I've got to victory lane. I can go home knowing that I've won in the Sprint Cup Series, and it's a proud day for myself and my family.

We make sacrifices every day to do what we need to do. Today is my little girl's first day at school, and I wanted to take her to school, and here we are racing at Watkins Glen on a Monday and she's probably still cranky at me. But I think it's a good compromise to be here in victory lane.           

You know, families and Todd and his family and all the team, we all sacrificed to try to live the dream, and here we are. We're the best on the day and we're going to enjoy it.            

Q. Todd, can you talk about the evolutions of the organization you're with now because you were there when it was Yates, you were there when it was Gillette and now you're here for the second round of RPM. What has gotten you from starting point to here, and where have you seen the greatest improvements on Marcos over the course of the races that you've had to work with him?           

TODD PARROTT: I think the evolution has just been people sticking -- having faith in the company and the -- it's a strong team, and that's a tricky question, but being there at the start when I left Roberts and went there in 2008 and worked with Travis, and then last year -- that's the thing, working with Elliott. I was Kenseth's crew chief the first half of the season last year and then they moved me with Elliott, and I was really happy about that because I had worked with Elliott before, and I thought that we could win.           

But then as things went awry, I kind of wondered where am I going to fit in when all this shakes out, and they kind of told me that I had done a good job and were planning on putting me with Marcos. I knew what his history was and kind of followed up, did a little research on him, and I think he's a great talent.           

To me a guy that can run like he does on a road course with the finesse that it takes is the type of driver that it takes to run everywhere, short tracks, intermediate. He's got a feel for a race car like no other, and he can do this everywhere he goes. So I have total faith in him, and I hope he feels the same way about me. I just think the relationship and our cars and all that stuff is just going to get better as a team, Richard Petty Motorsports. I mean, A.J. had a great car today, leading the race and ran through the grass. I think had he not had his issues, I think you would have saw two of our cars up front today. It speaks leaps and bounds from where this company was a year ago.            

Q. There were a couple of real ugly wrecks today with Denny down in Turn 1 and then at the end of the race. Is there any concern for the guardrails and the safety equipment here and the track surface?           

MARCOS AMBROSE: I saw the 11, I saw a flash in the mirror. I thought, what's that, and then I look and the right-hand mirror coming off of Turn 1 and I saw him sidling towards the fence. That's a brake issue. We've got -- these cars are fast, big and heavy, and they're hard to stop. The tire, they were so good that they put extra stress on brake components. So I think part of it is maybe that. The track itself is a first-class facility. It's a great racetrack. I think they have done an awesome job in some of the safety features they've already implemented around this place. I don't drive around this place looking at any one spot saying, ooh, that looks nasty to me. I think they've done great with what they've got. If you don't have a guardrail off Turn 2, you end up going down a bank, so that's not good, either.           

So I think the track itself is fine. I think we just have to keep working on safety. All the drivers walked away. I've got no complaints about this place. I think it's a safe racetrack. We're just driving these cars flat-out, and it creates problems. So I think all the accidents today were mechanical issues mostly, apart from the last one. I didn't see any of them so I'll look at the TV when I go back, but cut tires and failing brakes, that's pretty much what started it.           

I think the track is a classic road racing circuit. You don't want to make it too sterile. You've got to have bumps and lumps and change of camber and roughness and all that kind of stuff that makes it what it is.            

Q. I'd like to ask you about Boris Said. You've raced against him. He's an aggressive driver like you're an aggressive driver. A lot of guys seem to have problems with him. What's it about Boris Said and the way he drives that seems to aggravate people?           

MARCOS AMBROSE: Well, this time when you're coming in -- Boris is a great driver, no doubt, and he is a great driver, but he's coming in once a year and we're running a season, and it's intense racing. We're all right on the edge and we're fine tuned, and you get another character in and you don't quite now how to predict what he's going to do or what moves he's going to make.         

I haven't seen anything wrong with his driver. It's just you're adding an extra element to the day. It's nothing against Boris; I think it's just the nature of this sport. We race every week against each other, the regulars, and when you get somebody that you throw in the middle of all that, it can cause friction. I wouldn't say that Boris is a nasty driver or a dirty driver at all. He's an aggressive driver and he's a talented driver, and he's running in the Cup Series with everybody that's doing it for a living. He should be commended for that. I don't think it's fair to pass judgment on him. I haven't had any problems with him.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 3:36 pm

Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch post Glen comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

Second and third place finishers in Sunday's Heluva! Good Sour Cream Dips at The Glen Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch met the media Monday after the race at Watkins Glen International Raceway:

BRAD KESELOWSKI:  Yeah, I guess I was happy with the car from the start and was able to drive up there and make some moves and knew we had a strong car right before the beginning with our Miller Lite Dodge Charger.  Got up to the lead there, I guess at the end of the second segment, felt pretty good about it, and felt like we were one of the cars to beat.           

But I just wasn't quite good enough to pull it off there and made a couple small mistakes at the end and lost the lead to Kyle and got back by him and then lost the lead to Marcos.           

Some great racing at the end.  I hope everybody enjoyed it.  I think that's about as good as the racing gets right there, and just proud to be a part of it.             

Q.  Just talk about how much the ankle played in.  Did it get easier, more difficult as the race went on?            

BRAD KESELOWSKI:  I wouldn't say it got any easier, but when your car is fast you can put a lot of that stuff behind you and make it work.  You know, we were able to do that today and make it work.  I was happy to have a fast car, and that's what it's all about is having fast race cars.  Just life is good when you have fast race cars.           

Sorry, I'm watching a fight up here.  I don't know if you guys are watching this, either.  Is this live?             

Q.  Yes.            

BRAD KESELOWSKI:  Oh, wow.  This is the story.           

Okay, what was I talking about?  (Laughter.)  This is a lot more fun to watch.  Fighting is racing, too, I guess.           

But all good.  We made it work.  How about that?            

Q.  Brad, was this a tougher day than last week at Pocono physically, and when you got past Kyle and he went wide in Turn 1 on that final restart, did your eyes get big and did you start thinking about No. 3 at that point?

BRAD KESELOWSKI:  Absolutely they got big.  I don't know about tougher.  It wasn't no easier, that's for damn sure.  But we had a shot at it and that's all you can ask for as a driver, great long run speed, and were able to get to the front.           

I look back at this one and wish that I had been in better condition and wish that I had more experience or was able to run the Nationwide race the day before and maybe I could have made the most of my car because quite frankly I think I had one of the cars to beat.  But that's just the way it goes.  It kind of is what it is.           

But proud of the day, proud of a good finish.  I think we're on great standing now.  At least we moved up a bunch in the points, which is good.  Got to make the most of that wild card stuff that we were able to build up.  Was kind of wishing Denny wouldn't have had trouble there so wouldn't have to worry so much about him.  But still in good shape.             

Q.  Can you just talk about Marcos' talent on road courses?  I think it's pretty obvious, but you were up there battling with him there at the end.  Can you just talk about how he's just kind of like a cut above?            

BRAD KESELOWSKI:  Well, he's smooth, he's smart, and he's experienced.  You know, we only do this two times a year.  I counted on my finger the amount of times I've raced at road courses in my life.  You know, fingers and toes.  I guess it was 12 career road course starts between Nationwide and Cup, and he's got to have ten times that at least, maybe more.           

So he's got experience.  He's a good driver with experience with a competitive car, where the rest of us are probably okay drivers, and he just -- he's a cut above right now, and I would expect him to stay that way with his experience level for quite some while.             

Q.  Could you take us over those last couple laps, particularly when you guys were trying to get into Turn 1?            

BRAD KESELOWSKI:  Well, we got into Turn 1, it looked like Kyle had a little bit of right front lock-up and slid up out of the groove, which gave me a great opportunity to get underneath him.  Marcos filled the gap, and next thing you know we were three wide for the lead going into Turn 2, and I don't know about you guys but I don't think racing gets any better than that on a road course, two passes for the lead and the last two laps -- I wish I would have been the last pass for the lead, taking it instead of losing it.           

But you know, it was still pretty awesome to watch, and it was cool to be a part of.  I felt like I might have had a shot at Marcos again.  I was able to close the bumper on him through the inner loop when that last yellow came and just wasn't meant to be.  But it was a hell of a race, just a hell of a race, and Turn 1 it was exciting.  It just doesn't get any better than that.           

THE MODERATOR:  Brad, thank you very much for your time this afternoon.           

At this time we welcome Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota, who finished third in today's 26th annual Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dip.  Talk about those last few laps.           

KYLE BUSCH:  Well, you're just preparing for the restart and trying to make sure you get your tires warmed up, your brakes warmed up.  But there's only one corner you've got to make, and as soon as you make it through that corner and can keep everything behind you it'll be smooth sailing from there, and didn't do it.  Screwed up first chance I got.  Just got down into Turn 1, didn't stop the way I needed to, and the wheel didn't turn the way I expected it to and over-slid the corner, got too far out to the outside and by then everybody was just on my inside.           

So screwed up, and gave one away.  Gave another one away.  And can't say enough about the guys, though.  They've done a phenomenal job for me and gave me a great race car today.  It was fun to run up front like that, and the last eight, ten laps there where Marcos got by and was catching us, and it seemed like any time I made a mistake, he'd really gain on me a lot, and any time he might make a mistake or slip a little bit I could kind of squeeze away from him.  Last couple laps getting away from him; last thing I wanted to see was a caution.  I just hate it for everybody and all my guys.             

Q.  Was there any contact coming out of 1, though?  Did anybody get into you or did you just lose it on your own?            

KYLE BUSCH:  I got that far out on my own, first of all, but then when I came back, certainly those guys didn't care to give me any room.  I bounced off I don't know if it was the -- I think it was the 9 and had to still run through the dirt a little bit.  And fortunately stayed on the outside of the 42 through Turn 2 and he had to give way through Turn 3 and I was able to keep third.             

Q.  You were one of the teams using a two-pit strategy.  Talk about the strategy and the day you were having with it, and towards the end how worried were you about your gas?            

KYLE BUSCH:  You know, we tried working through practice and everything, seeing if we could do a two-stop strategy.  The more we tried to save fuel, the slower I went.  We weren't too sure that it was going to work for us.           

But we made some changes to the car to try to make sure that we could stay on that two-stop strategy knowing that that would help us win the race.  Essentially it didn't.  I guess the guy that won was on a three-stop strategy.  But gave us the track position all day; we didn't have to fight anybody too hard, and seemed like our car was out in clean air much of the day.           

Whether the three-stop strategy would have been any different, I'm not sure, but guys did a great job making sure we could do it on two, and I had to do what I could under yellows to try to save a little bit of fuel.  We weren't too worried there at the end.  We ended up getting better fuel mileage than we expected to just because when I got out and had an eight-second lead or whatever, I could kind of run my own pace and shift early and stuff like that to try to save a little bit more.             

Q.  Going down let's say the last 15 laps and it was you and Marcos, were you holding back playing any possum or were you kind of driving it full out?            

KYLE BUSCH:  No, that was full bore.  That was all there was.  Any time you try to get a little bit more out of it and you try and squeeze just that much harder, you slip, and any time you slip, you give up a lot of time.  So that's where Marcos was getting me, so I just kind of concentrated then on hitting my marks and making sure I was consistent and maybe under-driving the car just a little bit.  Instead of going 100 or 101 percent just maybe give it 97 and make sure that you stay under it and run consistent times.  And when I started doing that he didn't catch me anymore; I actually started getting back away from him the last two laps before that caution.  It seemed to be working a little bit.


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Posted on: August 15, 2011 2:46 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 3:43 pm

Speed Read: Watkins Glen

By Pete Pistone


Heluva! Good Sour Cream Dips at The Glen Recap 

I’d say that was definitely worth the wait. 

Nobody likes a rained out NASCAR race and waiting to run this year’s Sprint Cup Series visit to Watkins Glen until Monday due to Sunday’s wet weather surely disappointed thousands of fans. 

But once Mother Nature finally cooperated and the green flag flew it doesn’t get much better than the 90-laps run Monday around the historic road course. 

The race had everything any fan could want including yet another first-time winner in Marcos Ambrose, who finally was able to score his elusive trip to victory lane in NASCAR’s top division. 

“It’s a dream come true,” said the personable Australian, who brought Richard Petty another Cup win as a team owner. “Richard and everyone else who gave me a chance, thank you very much.” 

But Ambrose’s win was just the icing on a pretty delicious cake. 

The historic 2.45-mile road course added another chapter to the recent history of Sprint Cup road racing, which has blossomed into one of if not the most exciting forms of competition on the schedule. 

The advent of double file restarts two years ago definitely spiced up the proceedings at The Glen and its sister track in Sonoma. Gone are the single file conga lines that string out the field around the twisting circuits replaced with side-by-side restarts that aren’t for the faint of heart. 

Toss in the “Boys Have at It” mentality, point standings ramifications and just good old fashioned emotions and its easy to see why today’s road courses are in a lot of ways the new short tracks. 

But Monday’s race was different than June’s trip to Infineon Raceway, which turned into a high-speed demolition derby of drivers simply ramming into one another in a series of paybacks and revenge moves. 

Rather the race at Watkins Glen was simply hard and solid racing, which at times turned into emotional flare-ups but didn’t devolve into what Jeff Burton called earlier in the week “amateur driving.” 

Don’t put me down just yet as a stock car road racing convert but you can send me the application papers for review. 

Monday’s race was that good.



Brad Keselowski 

What could Keselowski do for an encore after his gutsy win last Sunday in Pocono? How about nearly go to victory lane for a second straight week a while nursing his broken ankle and injured foot around a road course. The Penske Racing driver turned in yet another incredible performance on Monday and remains in the driver’s seat for a potential berth in the Chase. 

Joey Logano 

Since the Carl Edwards rumored finally subsided Logano has no doubt slept better in recent days (except for those darn late night phone calls from Kyle Busch I guess). The results have been much better of late for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver who is starting to look a lot more like the guy who ended 2010 so well than how this season started. 

Jeff Burton 

Finally the veteran driver has a Top 10 finish to show for his effort. The agony of his frustrating season had to be alleviated at least a little bit after Burton took the green flag from the 40th starting position and ended up crossing the finish line ninth on Monday.



Denny Hamlin  

His Chase chances took a big hit Monday as did his Joe Gibbs Racing FedEx Toyota when he crashed hard into the tire barrier and guardrail after something broke on the front end of his car. His last DNF was at Fontana back in march but his day at The Glen may be much more impactful as it may determine if Hamlin has another chance to run for the championship or miss the playoffs. 

Kurt Busch  

The weekend started on a positive note when he jumped into teammate Brad Keselowski’s Nationwide Series car and proceeded to score his first win in that division since 2006. But after a poor Sprint Cup qualifying effort, Busch’s day in the Watkins Glen headliner was rough from the start ending in a crash and a 38th place finish. 

Paul Menard 

The Richard Childress Racing driver’s Wild Card chances are a bit fizzy after his fiery exit from Sunday’s race. Menard crashed to bring out the day’s final caution and as he walked from his torn up race car he had to be wondering if the hopes for a spot in the Chase are going to be left in upstate New York.



(Choice comments and communications from drivers and crew chiefs)   

"We're going to get an yellow, I'm going to put the 22 so far up the S&^& wall." – A.J. Allmendinger after an early race altercation with Kurt Busch 

“I'm ok.. I don't know what broke but that was one of the hardest hits I've ever had.” – Denny Hamlin after his hard crash into the tire barrier and guardrail 

"Greg Biffle is the most unprofessional scaredy-cat ever. ... He's a chump." – Boris Said 

“I've been to some dirt tracks that have better walls than that." – David Ragan after his last lap crash



On a scale of one to five "Pistone Pistons" I’ll give Monday’s rain-delayed Heluva! Good Sour Cream Dips at The Glen a five. That’s right, a Sprint Cup Series road course race gets the highest possible rating. I’m not sure what more you could have asked for on Monday in a race that pretty much had it all – hard racing, strategy, high emotions, a dramatic finish and yet another first time winner in Ambrose. I’m not ready to put a road course in the Chase or add a third to the Sprint Cup schedule but after Monday’s event at Watkins Glen I’m starting to come around to that way of thinking at least a little bit.



Well the good thing about a rain out and racing on a Monday is there’s a much shorter wait until the next event. It’s off to Michigan International Speedway for the second trip of the season and teams will have to scramble to get turned around after spending the extra day at Watkins Glen. Get your calculators ready because there’s another good chance we’ll have a fuel mileage race to sort through in the Irish Hills in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 1:56 pm

Boris Said angry at Greg Biffle

Posted by Pete Pistone

Boris Said was involved in Monday's last lap accident that saw David Ragan and David Reutimann get the worst of things with violent crashes at Watkins Glen. But Said was very upset with an earlier incident he had with Greg Biffle. The road racing specialist ran down Biffle after the race to exchange more than words and shared these strong comments with ESPN:

I'm more upset with Greg Biffle. He's the most unprofessional little scaredy cat I've ever seen in my life. He won't even fight me like a man.

If someone texts me his address, I'll go see him Wednesday at his house and show him what he really needs. He needs a friggin' whooping, and I'm going to give it to him.

He was flipping me off, giving me the finger, totally unprofessional. Two laps down, I mean, he's a chump.

I went over there to go talk to him, and he wouldn't even let me get out of the car. Throws a few little baby punches and then he runs away and hides behind some big guys.

But he won't hide from me for long. I'll find him. I won't settle it out on the track – it's not right to wreck cars – but he'll show up with a black eye one of these days. I'll see him somewhere.

Here's some audio from Said on the Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio Post Race Show

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Posted on: August 14, 2011 4:34 pm

Rain Postpones Watkins Glen until Monday

By Pete Pistone

NASCAR was forced to postpone Sunday's scheduled running of the Heluva! Good Sour Cream Dips at The Glen until Monday morning due to persistent rain showers.

Wet weather moved into the Watkins Glen raceway just before the command to start engines was to be given and continued throughout the afternoon.

NASCAR officials finally pulled the plug and the race was rescheduled for a 10 a.m. ET start on Monday morning.

It was the first Sprint Cup Series race of the season to be rained out.

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Posted on: August 14, 2011 11:16 am

Rain in Watkins Glen forecast

By Pete Pistone

For the second straight week the Sprint Cup Series will need some cooperation from Mother Nature.

The National Weather Service has about a 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the forecast Sunday at Watkins Glen threatening Sunday's Heluva! Good Sour Cream Dips at The Glen.

Last week's race at Pocono was stopped by rain for one hour and forty minutes but NASCAR officials were able to complete the entire 500 miles.

Sunday's race around the 2.45-mile road course is slated for 90 laps, so completing 46 circuits will make it official.

While NASCAR had planned to allow the Nationwide cars to run in the rain on Saturday, Sprint Cup teams were informed that would not be the case on Sunday. The sanctioning body will use the next clear day policy if weather does not allow things to be completed on Sunday, however there is a 60 percent chance of rain currently in the Monday forecast.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com