Ambrose outduels Keselowski and Busch

Marcos Ambrose
Adriano Manocchia

In a wild final two laps that rivaled any race in recent memory for unrelenting action, Marcos Ambrose outdueled Brad Keselowski to win Sunday's Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International.

Kyle Busch had the lead at the white flag, but slid in a patch of oil exiting Turn 1 on the final lap. Keselowski likewise slid in the oil, hit Busch's No. 18 Toyota and spun it. For the rest of the final lap, Ambrose and Keselowski raced side-by-side for the lead, with Ambrose finally clearing the No. 2 Dodge in the last corner.

The victory was Ambrose's second consecutive at Watkins Glen and the second of his Sprint Cup Series career. Jimmie Johnson finished third and took over the series lead by one point over Greg Biffle, who wound up sixth. Clint Bowyer was fourth, followed by Sam Hornish Jr., Biffle and Busch.

Marcos Ambrose
Adriano Manocchia

Tony Stewart finished on the bottom end of a roller-coaster day. Starting from the rear of the field for dragging a gas can from his pits under caution on Lap 27, Stewart charged toward the front and was running second to Keselowski when he spun in Turn 7 on Lap 72 and backed his No. 14 Chevy into the guardrail.

That left Keselowski and Ambrose to restart 1-2 on Lap 75 in the 90-lap race, but before the two front-row cars cleared the first corner, Busch took them three-wide to the inside and grabbed the lead. After a protracted battle with Keselowski, Ambrose took over the second position on Lap 81 but couldn't gain ground on the race winner.

Keselowski retook the second position in Turn 5 on Lap 89 — and then the fireworks started.


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our winner's press conference. We welcome Marcos Ambrose who won today's race. Second victory here at Watkins Glen and second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. With this win today, Marcos is now eligible for his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race. This is his first victory of 2012.

Talk a little bit about that race out there today.

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, it was absolute chaos at the end. The three cars were very evenly matched. Kyle had a head start on us there. I was trying to chase him. I burnt my tires off, really burnt off the brakes. I thought, I'm going to be stuck here in second. All of a sudden I'm starting to slide out on oil. Couldn't work out where it was coming from, if it was from my car or on the track. I saw Kyle backing up to us. It was absolutely crazy at the end.

A huge thank you to Richard Petty Motorsports, Stanley, Ford, everyone on our program. A real thrill to be back in Victory Lane. We earned it. We're up there with the big boys, led a lot of laps today, had to pass a lot of cars to get the win, and we did it.

THE MODERATOR: Joining Marcos is owner Richard Petty. This is your fourth win. Talk about your pride of being part of this win with Marcos today.

RICHARD PETTY: You know, it was unexpected at the last of the race. We had a good car, ran good all day long. I think he was the excitement in the race. About the only one I seen pass anybody. Then right at last there, nobody knew what was going on. Marcos might have known a little bit about it, but the rest of us didn't. They was slipping and sliding off the racetrack. We were thankful we got back.

Marcos stayed with it all day. We started out, we looked at the deal, we was going to have to make one extra pit stop because of fuel. Anyway, everything fell our way. The caution flag, the last one we didn't need probably, but it made it a lot more exciting at the end of the race.

THE MODERATOR: We have crew chief Todd Parrott.

Talk about what it looked like from your perspective today.

TODD PARROTT: Like he said, it was pretty crazy. From sitting up on the pit box, we had a great car all day long. Just there at the end, looked like the 18 car, without that last caution, was going to get out on us. Just went off there down in turn one. Everybody, like he said, was slipping and sliding.

I was watching the television monitor. The 2 got into the back of 18. I knew this was the white flag. I knew there was oil all over the bus stop. Sammy is on the radio hollering, There's oil up here. Looked like both cars went through the grass and stayed off the racetrack to be on what didn't have oil.

He did a great job, him and Brad. I saw Brad as he got out of the car on pit road. He said, That's what racing is supposed to be like.

It was exciting. Just proud of this guy, Richard and Sammy. Everybody at RPM dug deep, fought hard. We had great pit stops today. We worked really hard on that. Coming here last year our pit stops weren't that good. We changed some things up for the pit stops today. We picked up about two and a half seconds on pit stops compared to what we had last year. I think that was a gain and a positive. Made good adjustments on the car, I feel like. Was a little happier with the way we went there.

We were in position. When you put yourself in position, you're going to win races. That's what we did today.

THE MODERATOR: Also joining us is Sammy Johns, director of competition. Talk about being part of this organization and this win here today.

SAMMY JOHNS: It's a lot of fun. Todd and myself, everybody, talking about this race for a while. We knew we had to come here and not make mistakes. If we could put him in position, he would take care of the rest for us. Sure enough he did. I couldn't be any prouder, like Todd said. He worked on pit stops with the guys, switched things around to benefit that. Just really proud of everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports. A lot of fun to be part of it right now. A lot of guys pulling on the rope in the same direction, working hard. It's a lot of fun to be part of it.

We've been in a position to have some more top fives, didn't capitalize, but we did today. Hopefully this is a good look at the next half of the season.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the winning team.

Q. Marcos, could you go through what you recall from that final lap there after Brad hit Kyle and Kyle spun.

MARCOS AMBROSE: Well, I didn't know Brad hit Kyle. I thought Kyle got loose first on some oil. Can't blame Brad for hitting Kyle. The guy was sliding across the track. He was going to spin out. Brad finished him off. I thought, Man, there's one, I got one more to go. Went up over the hill. Thought I was going to hit the fence.

Then we get down to the chicane, I'm going to follow Brad because he'll see the oil before I do and I might be able to save myself. I went straight off the track with him. That wasn't a good plan.

Then I dove to the inside thinking I was going to get off the oil that way. I slid through it through the carrousel. He slid through it afterwards. Got some momentum on it. Gave him a shot to try to clear him away. Sailed off into turn six. All I want to do is be offline. If I can be offline, there's a fair chance, because up until that point it felt like it was on the racing groove. I felt if I could break off the racing groove, I've got a chance, then I'll work it out from there. I turned in, slid, thought I had blown my chance in turn six.

I went over the curb, shot back the inside of Brad, put him in the oil, he slid on the oil, we snuck through for the win.

You couldn't see where the oil was at. If it was a black streak, it would be okay. It was almost like a fine spray. I was the first one to start sliding on it. For whatever reason, my line, I slid into turn one, the hill, the bus stop. I thought I was blowing up. I thought it was my oil. Didn't know what was really going on. Not until I saw Brad and Kyle sliding as well, I thought, Okay, there's something on the track and we're going to have to deal with it.

Big shout out to NASCAR, a lot of people saying, Should they have thrown a caution or not. No one wants to see these races finish under caution, bunched back up in these two-by-twos, make it a random finish. We had the three fastest cars duking it out for the win. That's the way it should be and I think they made the right call.

Q. Marcos, can you believe the way fate has smiled on you at this place?

MARCOS AMBROSE: She's been frowning on me all year, so it's nice to get a change (laughter).

Like Todd said, you just got to put yourself in good positions and wins will come. That's what we did today. We had a fast car. We were in position to take advantage when it went crazy. We got the win.

We didn't luck into it. We deserved to get this win. We'll take it.

Q. Richard, watching it develop, did that bring back any are memories of you and David Pearson doing grass racing in Daytona?

RICHARD PETTY: Yeah, but not on a road course. You get down to the last of the race, some of you old guys will remember me and Allison did a lot of beating and bashing in the last few laps. I've been in a lot of them, put it that way.

You go, you run, you do the best you can, then you try to take advantage of the circumstances. That's what Marcos did today.

He didn't create none of those circumstances; he took advantage of those circumstances. So we've been in some of them before like that.

Q. Marcos, before the whole oil mess, how was your car performing in comparison to Kyle's? If that doesn't happen, do you think you have a shot to win?

MARCOS AMBROSE: If we had had track position at the end, we would have pulled away from Kyle. Even around these places, aero is a big thing because you can't get air on the brakes, can't get the nose down. We could chip away at him, but I was just burning my stuff up to catch him at the end.

So we led a lot of the race in the middle part. If the caution hadn't come out when we were in our window to pit for the last time, we would have been fine. But we had to pit because we were in our window when the caution was out. We came out 9th or 10th. I knew I had a lot of work to do. It wasn't going to come easy. I had to get myself back up there.

We actually got back up to 2nd when Smoke spun out. I thought, right, I got a chance to win this. Then Kyle did an awesome move on the inside. Give the guy props, he did exactly what he needed to do, took us three-wide into one. I knew I was toast, I was in trouble. I managed to fight my way past Brad. I tried to chase Kyle down, but he wasn't making any mistakes, he had a fast car. I just burnt my stuff up trying to get to him. I was really thinking, Okay, it may be second place here.

Then the oil came down. I slipped to third. I thought, That's not the plan. So I just put my head down, kept trying. Made less mistakes than the other two, I guess.

Q. You fought hard today to get you where you're at. Looking at the races ahead, you're more than likely going to need one more win before you get into the Chase. Where is that win coming?

MARCOS AMBROSE: We're looking next week. We got the pole at Michigan. We were running top five all day there. No reason we can't go there and surprise them again.

Q. Marcos, have you ever raced that type of condition before? Is there anything you do beyond hoping you don't hit the oil?

MARCOS AMBROSE: Well, I have raced in those conditions before, but not when there's so much at stake. We're racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series here. Wins are hard to come by.

Just a lot of pressure and you're up against the best drivers in the world. I got to take a second here to say Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch are two of the best road racers I've been around. They're amazing drivers. Just a lot of fun to be driving against 'em, around 'em, putting ourselves in contention for the win.

When it comes to situations like that, it's similar to rain or drizzle on the track. You never quite know what you're going to get when you get to the corners. There was a lot of grip or there was none. Unusual. Two or three times I thought, I'm good here. I hit the gas pedal, spun out. Man, I don't know what's happening. You couldn't see the oil. Normally you could see it on the racetrack, but I couldn't see it. It was wait till the car slides and try and save it.

Q. Todd, Rodney Feathers is on your pit crew. Talk a little bit about the contribution of Rodney, what he's meant to you.

TODD PARROTT: Rodney does a good job. He's a good jackman. Like I said, I had to rally the troops a little bit this week. Coming into this race, looking at things that we did here last year to try to get better, we had to be better in the pits. If it came down to one of the two cars making green flag pit stops, like he said, track position is so important, we went to work this week. We switched up some tire changers. We really worked hard on their steps, the movements they made around the car, tried to clean that up a lot.

The whole pit crew did a great job. Rodney is a heck of a jackman. Been around for a long time. He's worked for me a couple times now. Like I say, he does a great job. But the whole pit crew rallied together today. Every guy that went over the wall did their job and did the very best at it they've done in a long time.

Q. After last year, there were some changes made to the course. Did it feel safer out there? What did you think?

MARCOS AMBROSE: Watkins Glen have done a great job at this facility. It still races the same, yet safety is improving every year we come up here. Clearly last year's accidents put alarms out for a lot of folks. They did a great job correcting the issues they found. They actually made the track faster. A lot of the curbs on the inside, they've added some concrete in there, so it allows us to run through the inner loop a lot faster. Turn one is safer and faster.

All around a huge thumbs up. I think the three races here this weekend have been the best three races Watkins Glen has seen for a long time.

Q. Marcos, most people are talking about the racing on the last lap. There were several big moves made throughout the course of the race. Could you give an assessment on the racing you had with Kyle before the last lap, including his move where he passed the two of you.

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, you're around pro racers. They're taking every advantage they can when they get them. It was a tough race. It was a fast race. I felt like I was pushing my car hard all day. I was worried that I was actually driving the car too aggressively to stay in front. Then when I was chasing Kyle down there, I really was pushing as hard as I could.

He was driving a great race. He always races well here. Every year I come here, I look at his car, it looks the same, and it's as fast as it always is.

Brad Keselowski, the 2 car, they've been really great here the last couple years. They're a force to be reckoned with, no doubt.

I thought the race was clean, fast-paced, a good day. A good show from NASCAR.

Q. Todd, you've been around a long time. How would you rate that finish? What were your emotions like?

TODD PARROTT: I was pretty emotional again there at the end. I've been around a lot of great races. I've been associated with a lot of great wins. But that one right there probably ranks up there in the top two or three as far as the excitement level on the last lap.

You go to take the white flag, you're not sure if you're going to finish second or third. Then half a lap later you're saying you're going to win the race.

Just a lot of emotion. Like I said, that was a heck of a race. The fans got their money's worth on that one. I know from my seat, Richard was sitting behind me, that shit, it was crazy.

Q. Richard, this week you were involved in donation to the food pantry. Can you tell us a little bit about that.

RICHARD PETTY: We did a deal with Smithfield. They give away maybe 30 or 60 thousand pounds of food to the food bank when we was in Daytona. When we was at the Charlotte race, they did a food bank for Greensboro, North Carolina. Friday we went over to Watkins Glen, downtown, they give away 30 thousand pounds of ham down there.

Just makes you feel good, from my standpoint, working with people like Smithfield that gives back to the community. We try to do it as the Petty family, Petty crowd anyway. But when you're working with people that think the same way you do, it just makes it that much better.

Q. Marcos, I think last year your family wasn't able to be here because of school and the rain-out. Looks like they're here today. Talk about what it's like having them here.

MARCOS AMBROSE: Yeah, look, it's just great. That's why I got 'em up here. They haven't ever shared this. My kids haven't shared this in America. It's a special thing to win a NASCAR race, especially a Sprint Cup race. It's fantastic.

I got my in-laws sitting in the back here, too. They're here on vacation. Big shout out to them. My dad is in hospital right now. Hope this makes him feel better, gets him going.

It's a tough life when you're racing. I'm from Australia. My immediate family is down home. I feel a long way away a lot of days. You feel like, Okay, I'm chasing the dream here. Made a lot of sacrifices, and so too have my family.

It's great to have them here, let them celebrate with me. These days don't come around every day, you know.

Q. Richard, can you talk about your manufacturer plans for next year? Marcos said earlier in the weekend you were looking at what your choices might be.

MARCOS AMBROSE: Don't blame me, man.

RICHARD PETTY: We got to finish up this year with Ford, okay? We have a contract with them. When the Penske deal came about, then we were kind of shuffled around a little bit with Ford. I don't think we're shuffled out, but kind of shuffled around. We're just going to have to, you know, renegotiate our contract with Ford is I guess the way it's going to be.

I seen some of the Ford people there today. I told them, Me and Marcos won the race. I had the contract in my pocket, I was going to let them sign it right there. I don't think it went over too good (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on your win today. Good luck the rest of the season.

An interview with:



THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference. We welcome Brad Keselowski, who finished second in today's race, and Jimmie Johnson.

Brad, talk a little bit about to run out there today. The last few laps were just crazy.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah. Well, you know, just hard, hard racing on a great racetrack. You know, I really enjoy coming here. This is a real road course. Seems like all the other places are parking lots with corners. This is a real road course. You see real racing here. I think that's what today was.

I'm proud of the last two days I had. I feel like Jimmie Johnson with the cars I've had on road courses as of late. You know, just a good couple of days. Happy with the runs. Obviously would have liked to have one more position in both of them. We were very, very close. Trying to keep in perspective how far we've come as a team. To run this competitively on road courses is something I'm very proud of.

THE MODERATOR: Jimmie Johnson, our new points leader. Jimmie, talk about the last few laps as well as the race, and speak about being the new points leader.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Excited to be leading the points. Whoever the team is, I really believe they get some much-needed experience with the pressure of the points lead late in the season. It's just different than leading at any other point in time. I look forward to the pressure on my team and myself.

Every little thing we can do to get prepared for the Chase is helpful. This is another step in that direction. Excited about that.

Those last two laps, next to the last lap was really the most difficult because we were discovering where the oil was. The white flag lap I made some good adjustments, except turn 11, to dodge the oil. Slipped pretty bad, almost crashed. The 15 and a few others were coming quick at that point. Just a wild last couple laps.

In general I thought the racing was really good. Our cars work good around here. Even with the strategy we had today, I had to pass a lot of cars, and seemed like a lot of good racing everywhere.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions for Brad and Jimmie.

Q. Brad, can you go into the move where you got into the back of Kyle, took him out of contention? Are you going to try to talk to him before the Chase begins?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: I would think Kyle has enough racing experience, he drove through it himself, that he would understand what happened. I'm going to guess he does. I probably won't take that for granted.

Certainly I had a shot to get underneath him and I took it. The track was complete oil. Neither of us were going to make it out of to corner. That was unfortunate.

I think he knows I had to make that move. No different than the move he had to make on the restart with his position. He made a very, very aggressive move on the restart that was going to wreck both of us if I didn't let him in. I could have held the position and wrecked us all, but I didn't.

I showed understanding of his situation and hopefully he'll show understanding of the situation I was in. I think he will.

Certainly not the ideal situation to wreck the leader, no matter what the situation or circumstances. But it was just one of those unavoidable deals where the whole track was undrivable. Somehow we all found a way to get back around – or some of us did. I regret that Kyle wasn't one of them.

I'm thankful he was still able to get a respectful finish out of it. Looks like he finished 7th. Like you said, I thought it was his car that was leaking. Somebody said it was the 47. His car seemed to be reacting the worst to it when I was behind him. That was why I thought that. He lost a lot more ground initially in the oil than the rest of us did, and that's why I thought that.

Last thing I ever want to do is wreck the leader. That's just not an ideal situation. But, you know, sometimes there's unavoidable circumstances. If there is one, I can't think of a bigger one than what we saw here today or on those last few laps.

Q. Brad, take us through the last lap when you and Marcos swapped the lead.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: You guys done with me? Can I go home (laughter)?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: I remember Pocono last year.

What were you asking?

Q. Take us through the last lap where you and Marcos swapped the lead in the dirt and the grime, he ended up ahead of you.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: The last lap, I guess you have to back up to turn one where I got in front of Marcos the lap before and we got down to turn one. Kyle had whatever issue he had, whether it was his own oil or the 47's. Stands to reason it was the 47. He slipped up big in turn one. There was just nothing he could do, nothing I could do.

When I got to turn two side-by-side, there was nothing but oil. I felt lucky not to wreck myself. He spun out. Marcos was right on my bumper. We got going through turns three and four, it was nothing but oil. We all about spun out. I could see him in my mirror. We got to inner loop, nothing but oil. We both slid off the racetrack. I knew I had to drive in there hard. If not, he was going to hit me.

When I got out in the grass, I just thought, Oh, no, I've thrown this race away. I looked in my mirror and he was in the grass, too. That shows you how bad the track was.

We got to the carrousel, drove in there, slipped up again. I looked at him. He was slipping up. I turned back down to the bottom to get going. I must have hit the oil spot one more time. I slipped up, he didn't. He got a run down there to the chute to turn 10. Certainly had position, cleared me. Got to turn 10, he slipped again. I was lucky enough to have him as a brake pedal.

Got to 11, I thought I had him being on the outside, but apparently wherever the oil was, it was in the high lane in turn 11. I just hit more oil than Marcos did, just barely kept from spinning out. I think you saw Jeff spun out in the oil. That's how bad that corner was.

Just fun. We leaned on each other, we bumped each other. We were both cool about it and didn't dump each other. This is what I think racing in NASCAR is supposed to be, hard-nosed, going for the win, bumping and rubbing without any of that intentional wrecking nonsense. Marcos gets that. I enjoy racing with him.

Q. Jimmie, were you close enough to see the battle between those two? Did you feel like it might be an opportunity for you the way they were going at it?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I could see the aftermath. I saw Kyle trying to get back going. We get to the inner loop, there was dirt and stuff everywhere. I didn't see what started it. I was hoping it was those two leaning on each other, but I really couldn't see what was going on.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: We need cars to blow up and put oil on the track every week.

Q. When exactly did you notice the oil? How did you maneuver around it?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I did the next-to-last lap in turn one. I thought I blew a right front tire when I turned in. Why would I blow a right front? The right front was in the oil slipping, I could feel that.

At that point I think the 18 was turned around, and my spotter was saying the 18 had spun, be careful. When I went into two, I had issues. Kind of pieced together that lap.

The next lap wasn't as bad because I had an idea where to miss some of the stuff, except turn 11. I went wide on the last corner coming to the checkered. There was more wide than there was low. I slipped and almost lost third. Clint and a few others were low and were coming pretty hard at me towards the end.

THE MODERATOR: Jimmie, thank you very much. Congratulations on your finish.

We'll take additional questions for Brad.

Q. Brad, it looked like there was a little bit of damage from the contact with Kyle, tire rub or something like that. Did that affect the performance at all?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: That's the first I knew of it. If it did, I wasn't aware of it. Makes sense. Yeah, we'll go with that.

Q. Talk about just the race as a whole. You had to battle dry conditions, the intermittent showers, talk about the adjustments you had to make throughout the day.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Seemed like a lot, didn't it? Just one of them days, man. How else can you sum that up? One of them days where the world throws everything it can at you and you hope to make it through all of them. You know, I just didn't. I just missed it a little too much, trying a little too hard to get the win. That was really unfortunate, but part of racing.

Q. Obviously the win is huge for Marcos. The win would have been huge for you. Did that cross your mind at all?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: I knew that when Kyle made the move on the restart. He tried to out-brake us, and he did. If I wouldn't have let him in line, all of us would have wrecked. When he made that move, I can't fault him. You look at his situation, it's win or go home. I would do the same thing.

I hope he respects my position that I can't just let him win either. I had a chance to pass him. The way the oil and all that worked out, it just ended up badly. I hope he respects that like I respect why he had to make that move. Same thing with Marcos on why he had to race aggressively. And I do respect that. I would respect that even if he didn't have anything to win because I think that's the core of this sport, why people come to watch, because people know we're going to give it our all on any given day. If a day comes when we don't do that, we're no longer racers, this is no longer a sport, it's politics.

That's our job. Something you don't have to be an asshole about it. You can always find a reason to be that. But I don't think anyone was here today and it was all understandable.

Q. Sam Hornish matched a career best top five today. It was his first fifth-place finish since Michigan in 2009. Can you talk a little bit about that. Have you talked to him? He said the three years he was here before he felt like he was auditioning. Talk about the improvements that he might have made over the last four weeks.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: I mean, there's no doubt, and we've talked about it, Roger and I have even talked about it, he's done a phenomenal job of growing as a driver. I think running in both series has been huge for him. He's got two good teams with the Nationwide and Cup efforts. I think he's gaining a lot of confidence and starting to come into his own in a way.

Certainly the question is, can he have those performances on the ovals. That's really what's going to matter for him and his future. I'm sure he'd probably tell you the same.

But his progress as of late has been something I'm proud to see. I hope that in some small way I'm a part of that in working with him. So that's just great to see. It's something that I think we all enjoy watching, is a driver get the hang of this sport, especially a guy as kind, who has paid some dues like Sam has.

Q. On the restart where Kyle took it three-wide, did you feel like you were between a rock and a hard place?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah. I mean, basically the sport has changed. When double-file restarts came onboard, especially on tracks of this nature, you see it more so on the Nationwide and Truck side, where the leader is no longer the best spot to be in. Again, you see that more in the other two series.

On road courses, short tracks, at the Cup level, the leader is in the most vulnerable spot at all times. It's really unfortunate because you work so hard to get that position. A yellow comes out, you're no longer in the best spot.

The reason for that is the cars behind you can time their start based off your cadence, then bonsai the shit out of you into the corner. You either give them the position or they clean you out and themselves out at the same time. The third-place guy knows that.

That's what you're seeing in the racing, whether it was here today or yesterday. I was in both those situations in some sort of fashion. I think you see that a lot on the Truck and Nationwide side. I'd like to see a stat, how often the leader of the race comes back to the line in the lead. I think you would see that margin is getting lower and lower to where it's less than 50%.

That was the situation with the move that Kyle made. He's a smart racer. He knows that. He put me in a situation where it was either I let him go or we both wreck. It didn't make any sense to wreck out of this race for me.

I can respect that. He's smart. He knows that that gave him a shot at winning the race. Had the 47 not blew an oil line, he would have. The dynamics of restarts have changed racing. It would have been interesting to see what happened had we had another yellow there at the end. That would have put me in the third-place position where essentially it would have been my responsibility to dive the shit out of turn one and hope that Kyle let me in. It would have been interesting to see what mentality he had then. I'm guessing he wouldn't have let me in. Go back to Martinsville, the same thing we saw with Clint, Jeff and Jimmie. It's how racing has evolved.

It's a bit unfortunate. It's not something I like seeing personally. It is the game we play as the rules are set right now.

Q. Last year there was a big problem after the large crash about the safety of the track. Did it feel safer this year after the changes that were made?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Tough question to answer without being offensive. There's no doubt that improvements have been made. But in my opinion there are no road courses in America that are up to the safety standards they should be. I think you look at the road courses in Europe, how much better they are. It speaks volumes of why American road racing is where it's at.

There's been improvements, but certainly not enough to where if you polled the whole garage they would say it's satisfactory.

Q. What did you think of your chances when Kyle made that pass on the restart and then Ambrose got you and you're sitting back there?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, Marcos didn't get me till two or three laps later, five or six laps later. That was just from pushing so hard to try to get by Kyle. That didn't have anything to do with the restart. That was just me doing all I could to get back by Kyle.

He had the clean air. I think my car was a little bit faster. When I got behind him, I pushed so bad, but I couldn't get that positioning on him to make a move.

Q. Talk a little bit about how much you enjoyed that last lap, even though you came in second.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Absolutely enjoyed the race. Of course, I'm a little spoiled on that answer being a front finisher. Probably would not have that same perception if I was not.

I just think this is what racing should be. I think this is what the fans come to expect out of NASCAR racing and why it grew to the popularity that it did. We need to produce shows of this nature to continue to sustain the level that we have.

So I'm proud to be part of one of those races.

Q. That being said, would you like to add another road course? Could you see a Montréal on the schedule in the near future? It just seems like this has almost replaced short-track racing. When you come in, you talk about how exciting it is. Would it be cool to add a place like Montréal?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: I don't think that's the right approach to what the sport needs. I think there's certainly other tracks we could look at. I enjoy the international market. I had a blast in Montréal. But I think that's the wrong line of thinking.

I think you have to look at why these races are so good. It fits with the way this car is built. It's built for tracks. Not necessarily built for road courses, but it's built for the beating and banging that you're seeing. That makes it an ideal car for a track of this nature.

I think if you want to look back to obviously some of the peaks of our sport, where the racing was generally considered to be the best, it was on ovals. I think we need to simply correct some of the things that we need to make oval racing better.

That's obviously NASCAR's way forward. I know they're working on that. I support that approach.

Q. Any thoughts of déjà vu considering it was the three of you?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Absolutely, yes. Unfortunately, it involved spinning the 18. That part is not déjà vu and not something I wanted to happen.

Q. After last year's race, were there times you thought, If I had done this differently? Are you going to go away from this race thinking, What could I have done differently?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Probably. You have to understand there's a part of me that's so thrilled to be competitive on a road course, I don't want to say second is a win, but there's just a large part of me that's tickled to run that well because I'm not supposed to run well on road courses. The last year and a half we've been very strong. I'm just tickled to be with a team that gives me cars that can do that. To have shown whatever level of growth it's taken to get to this level as a driver.

Q. What makes you so good at Watkins Glen?

BRAD KESELOWSKI: I got good cars. I don't know. Just things are clicking. If I knew what it was, I would have gone after it a long time ago. Sometimes things just go well. You don't sweat why, you just enjoy it. That's where I'm at.

THE MODERATOR: Brad, congratulations on a great weekend here.

BRAD KESELOWSKI: Thanks, guys.


1 5 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 47/1 90 Running
2 4 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 43/1 90 Running
3 3 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's Cortez Silver 41/0 90 Running
4 8 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 40/0 90 Running
5 17 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 0 90 Running
6 15 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 38/0 90 Running
7 2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 39/2 90 Running
8 24 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost 36/0 90 Running
9 13 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American 35/0 90 Running
10 9 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 34/0 90 Running
11 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 33/0 90 Running
12 22 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Rheem 32/0 90 Running
13 20 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 31/0 90 Running
14 18 99 Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal 31/1 90 Running
15 19 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 29/0 90 Running
16 30 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO 28/0 90 Running
17 21 195 Scott Speed Ford TWD 27/0 90 Running
18 29 43 Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield 26/0 90 Running
19 7 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 25/0 90 Running
20 34 38 David Gilliland Ford ModSpace 24/0 90 Running
21 12 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 23/0 90 Running
22 32 34 David Ragan Ford Scorpion Coatings / Al's Liners 22/0 90 Running
23 35 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 21/0 90 Running
24 42 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 20/0 90 Running
25 25 32 Boris Said Ford 19/0 90 Running
26 39 33 Stephen Leicht * Chevrolet Little Joes 18/0 90 Running
27 26 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Miller Welders / Freightliner 17/0 90 Running
28 16 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew 16/0 89 Running
29 36 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota Genny Light / AM-FM Energy 0 88 Running
30 28 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 14/0 84 Running
31 27 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 13/0 81 Running
32 14 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 12/0 71 Running
33 1 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 12/1 63 Accident
34 23 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 10/0 57 Engine
35 41 249 Jason Leffler Toyota America Israel Racing 0 42 Engine
36 31 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 8/0 41 Susp.
37 11 98 Michael McDowell Ford 7/0 30 Rear Gear
38 38 26 Josh Wise * Ford MDS Transport 6/0 25 Electrical
39 10 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's 5/0 24 Accident
40 37 10 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 4/0 15 Brakes
41 40 119 Chris Cook Toyota Plinker Tactical 3/0 5 Brakes
42 43 30 Patrick Long Toyota Inception Motorsports 2/0 2 Brakes
43 33 55 Brian Vickers Toyota My Classic Garage 1/0 0 Engine

* Denotes Rookie

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