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Ambrose wins at Watkins Glen in wild finish



Watkins Glen, NY (Sports Network) - Marcos Ambrose finally got his first Sprint Cup Series win, but he did so in dramatic fashion in Monday's rain- delayed Heluva Good Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International.

Ambrose passed Brad Keselowski for the lead during a green-white-checkered finish and then held it for his maiden victory in his 105th start in NASCAR's top series. He won three Nationwide races in a row at this track from 2008-10.

The 34-year-old Australian also got redemption on the Sprint Cup road courses after victory lane evaded him in previous races. In last year's event at Sonoma, CA, he lost the lead after turning his engine off and then stalling on the track while he was trying to conserve fuel during a caution with just seven laps to go. He finished sixth in that race.

"I've tried so much to get here and to finally win and get into victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series is a dream come true," he said.

Ambrose also gave crew chief Todd Parrott his 29th career win but his first with Richard Petty Motorsports. Parrott came on board with RPM to serve in the role for Ambrose at the start of the 2011 season.

"It's a tribute to the organization," Parrott said. "It was a great race car and one heck of a race car driver. I'm so proud of him."

Ambrose became the fifth first-time race winner this season, which is the most since 2002. He joined Trevor Bayne (Daytona 500), Regan Smith (Darlington), David Ragan (Daytona July race) and Paul Menard (Indianapolis).

An incident involving Menard in the closing laps setup the two-lap overtime finish. Pole sitter Kyle Busch held the lead during the final restart, but Busch and Ambrose both spun their tires, allowing Keselowski to move ahead of them for the top position. But Ambrose came charging back and made the winning pass in turn five on the second-to-last lap.

The 92-lap race ended under caution after a horrifying multi-car crash involving David Reutimann, David Ragan and road-course expert Boris Said in turn two on the final lap. Reutimann's car slammed hard into the tire barrier and then flipped around. Ragan's car was badly damaged as well after impact.

"This is one of the bigger [hits], I'll say," Reutimann noted. "It's part of the gig. When you sign up for this, every once in a while you hit something."

Keselowski, who continues to heal from a broken left ankle and sore back, finished second. He won last week's race at Pocono, just days after he sustained injuries during a crash while testing at the Road Atlanta road course.

"I had a good run coming into the inner loop, but I just didn't quite execute the move," he said. "I was in position to win the race. I just wasn't quite good enough to beat Marcos. He's so good here, and he deserves to win. If there's a guy to get beat by, he's the guy."

Busch led the most laps with 49 but wound up finishing third after his mishap on the last restart.

"I didn't think I got in there too fast, but the car just didn't slow down and turn the way I needed it to," he said. "Everybody else made it through fine, but I just screwed up."

Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.

Kevin Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya, who won this race one year ago, A.J. Allmendinger, Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson finished sixth through 10th, respectively.

Busch moved into a tie with Carl Edwards for the points lead. Edwards finished 12th.

With four races remaining before the championship Chase begins, Keselowski continues to hold the first wild card position by virtue of his two wins, while Denny Hamlin keeps the second spot, despite falling to 12th in points after finishing 36th.

On lap 66, Hamlin slammed head on into the turn one barrier after blowing his left-front tire and having no brakes. He walked away from the incident unscathed.

"I feel better than I thought I would be," Hamlin said. "I felt like it was slow motion for me. I can't say enough for all of the safety precautions NASCAR takes. Obviously, the [tire] wall helped a lot."

Ambrose moved up one spot to 22nd in points. He is only one point behind 20th- place Montoya.

The race at Watkins Glen was scheduled for Sunday, but persistent rain forced postponement until the following day.

08/15 15:08:12 ET


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