Story by Rose Ward, photos by MSA Staff:
The weather was perfect for the race. There was approximately 94,500 in attendance, which is up from last year. Marcus Ambrose won the Zippo 200 race Saturday night, so he had a car that could win and get him to the Chase.
But Tony Stewart and the tragedy that occurred at the Canandaigua track Saturday night was on everyone’s mind. After crashing into the wall, a 20 year old driver got out of his car and walked onto the track to confront Stewart. Stewart’s car hit the driver. The driver was fatally injured. First reports in the morning said Stewart was going to participate in the race but that was later rescinded when we were told that Tony was not going to drive. Regan Smith would be driving Stewart’s car.
Once the race started it was a race to remember.
The 1st caution was for laps 11 to 14. Cole Whitt, Car 26, crashed into the tires at the vineyard on turn 1.
Keselowski had brake problems which forced him into the garage. He ended up finishing number 35th.
2nd caution: After leading the first 29 laps, Jeff Gordon has complete power failure on the 50th lap. Later it was reported to be battery problems. Jeff finished 34th.
At one point, Kevin Harvick had to have a sandbag weight removed from his car which came loose.
On lap 24 Kyle Busch’s pit crew left a gas can in his car. Kyle was forced to make an additional pit stop to have it removed. He was also penalized for leaving the pit with equipment. Later he would suffer from a broken car frame. His M&M car finished 40th.
3rd caution: Lap 56. 150 mph five car crash in turn 5. Red flag. Michael Mcdowell, Danica Patrick, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and David Regan are involved. Mcdowell’s car tore up the guardrail. The guardrail was demolished and had to be replaced causing a major time out for the drivers and fans.
Top 5 at red flag: Jimmy Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, AJ Allmendinger, Casey Kane, Denny Hamlin. 34 laps to go. After 1 hour 15 minutes drivers are returning to their cars. After 1 hour 21 minutes the green flag flies.
Nine laps to go: Jimmy Johnson spun Regan Smith, who was in for Tony Stewart, causing damage to Smith’s front end.
Seven laps to go: Another yellow. AJ Allmendinger is first, Marcos Ambrose is in second.
Denny Hamlin in the 11 car tore up the yellow barrels at the entrance of pit row with 4 laps to go. Another red flag. The Glen is turned into a beach with sand all over the front track. A backhoe was brought out to clean it up, ll the barrels had to be replaced.
At green, it’s a race to the finish between Ambrose and Allmendinger. Allmendinger took the lead on the 89th lap of the 90 lap race, winning ahead of Ambrose by 5 car lengths. It was the 32 year-old Allmendinger’s first career Sprint Cup win.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr who came in 11th, now has the top spot in the points race followed by Jeff Gordon.