By Patrick Rall
This past weekend brought us the Finger Lakes 355 at the
Glen as the NASCAR Sprint Cup took on the road course of Watkins Glen and while
the two Dodge Chargers in the field failed to win – Hornish finished 5th
and Keselowski finished 2nd in what should be considered as one of
the most exciting finishes in the modern era of NASCAR.
The incredible last lap of the Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen
began with the #18 Toyota Camry of Kyle Busch in first place, followed by Brad
Keselowski in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in second while Marcos Ambrose
sat third in the #9 Stanley Tools Ford Fusion.
As there three (and lap car Dale Earnhardt Jr) neared the start/finish line
to take the white flag, the #18 Camry began getting loose all over the
track. Reports indicate that another car
was laying down engine oil or some other moisture that made the track slick and
as the leaders entered a long, sweeping turn, both the #18 and the #9 were
forced out onto the paved berm while Keselowski shot for the lead. Busch was able to regain traction as he tried
to regain his lead when he cut down across the front end of the #2 Charger -
sending Busch spinning out of control.
That spin made it a two car shoot out between Ambrose and
Keselowski – and this was where the fun really started. As the two drivers battled along the twisty
road course, both of the lead cars danced like they were on ice and as the two
entered a set of S turns, both drivers couldn’t make the turns and instead
raced hard through the grass. This gave
Keselowski a lead of a few lengths as they headed into a long right turn but
the Charger got loose – allowing the Ford to catch up and provide a gentle
bump. This sent the #9 Fusion off of the
track and the two cars engaged in a drag race that was won by Ambrose as they
entered the final set of turns.
As they neared the next turn, Keselowski gave Ambrose a bump
that sent the Ford wide onto the berm of the track but he charged back, pulling
alongside the Miller Lite Charger as they entered the final right hand
turn. Right near the apex of the turn,
Keselowski’s Charger broke traction while Ambrose was able to accelerate harder
out of the turn – giving the Ford the win.
With much less excitement, Sam Hornish Jr. finished in the 5th
spot after starting 17th in his #22 Shell/Pennzoil Charger as he
continues to fill in for the suspended/fired AJ Allmendinger.
While, as a Dodge fan, I would have liked to see Brad
Keselowski and his Charger take home the win – this was definitely one of the
most exciting NASCAR Sprint Cup finishes in decades. This finish harkens back to the battles of
the 1970s between the likes of Richard Petty and David Pearson with the car two
cars slamming doors as they fought hard for the win. This is exactly the kind of thing that NASCAR
needs if they want to attract younger racing fans who lean more towards venues
like Global RallyCross. Door to door,
bumper to bumper racing as the turns fight from turn to turn with high speeds
in between. The problem is that it is
hard to get this kind of racing on oval tracks as this much bumping would just
send one of the cars barreling into the outside wall. Perhaps the instantly popularity of this
NASCAR finish is a sign that the series should look at expanding the number of
road course races in the series which is currently limited to just two events
per year. Click here to tell us if you think that NASCAR should add more road courses in the forum!
Did you miss this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race? Luckily we have a video below showing the
last lap shootout between Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose.