2009-08-13 / Sports

Stewart Wins Again At Glen

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Tony Stewart Tony Stewart WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.—Tony Stewart won Monday's rainpostponed Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen ahead of Marcos Ambrose, the winner of Saturday's Nationwide Series event.

It was Stewart's fifth "Glen" win of his career and the third of this season.

"This is my house," said Stewart. "I've run really well here.

"We had to make some changes to get it better. I asked for changes in the opposite direction, but the guys made the right call and we had a pretty awesome pit stop.

"I was watching Marcos Ambrose. There were parts of the track he was stronger than us, and we were stronger in other parts of the track. But I think we were stronger in the part of the track that we needed to be."

Unlike many of the Cup drivers, Ambrose has no chance at making the Chase, so he was able to drive more aggressively.

"It was just great," said Ambrose. "I had to work really hard, but Tony didn't make any mistakes. What an unbelievable driver he is."

Carl Edwards started 33rd, but was able to finish third. Kyle Busch finished fourth.

"The car wouldn't turn left, it wouldn't turn right, and it wouldn't accelerate," said Busch. "I'm tired. That wore me out. I had to drive it for all I was worth. I could barely hang on for fourth."

Greg Biffle, Juan Montoya, Kurt Busch, Max Papis, Clint Bowyer, and Denny Hamlin were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Sam Hornish was involved in a horrific crash on Lap 50. Kasey Kahne had gotten loose and pushed Hornish's No. 77 Dodge into an outside safety barrier composed of tires. Hornish hit the tires at an angle and shot back across the track.

Jeff Gordon was the first car to hit the spinning No. 77, then Jeff Burton and two other cars ran into it. Before the melee ended, four more cars were involved.

Hornish was treated at the infield care center and released.

"It was a pretty big hit, but the cars are made pretty safe, so all I got was a couple bumps and bruises," said Hornish. "He (Kahne) just got loose and got into me, and there was nothing I could do."

The race had to be red flagged for track personnel to clean up the debris.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had his second DNF in the last four races after he had mechanical problems with his No. 88

Polesitter Jimmie Johnson was 12th.

Top-15 Chase leaders with 4 to go: 1. Stewart-3383, 2. Johnson 3123, 3. J. Gordon-3041, 4. Kurt Busch-2902, 5. Hamlin- 2847, 6. Edwards-2830, 7. Montoya 2781, 8. Kahne-2754, 9. Newman 2727, 10. Biffle-2718, 11. Martin-2716, 12. Kenseth-2685, 13. Kyle Busch-2627, 14. Vickers- 2589, 15. Bowyer-2586 Note: Only 12 drivers will be eligible for the 10-race Chase.

Ambrose bests Kyle Busch at The Glen

When Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Busch came to the chicane or "bus stop" on Lap 64 of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, Busch stopped - out of necessity - and Ambrose didn't.

Ambrose's bold move into the chicane proved to be the winning pass, as the driver of the No. 47 Toyota held the lead for the final 19 laps, winning the race for the second straight year.

Busch wasn't happy with the aggressive pass, which forced him to miss the chicane and stop on the track for a three-second penalty, but he rallied to finish second, the record 10th straight time he has posted a first- or second place result in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Carl Edwards ran third, after Busch passed him to the outside through Turn 1 in the closing laps. Polesitter Kevin Harvick came home fourth, followed by road-course specialist Ron Fellows. Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle, David Ragan, Brad Keselowski and Scott Speed completed the top-10.

"I just didn't quite have the top-end speed to make a classic pass on him," said Ambrose, who won in his only start in the series this year. "I knew I was going to have to bomb him somewhere to get the win. He wasn't going to make a mistake on his own. I was going to have to force one on him.

"It's Kyle Busch we're talking about, and he's going to race you hard, and so I just tried to throw the element of surprise in. I came from a fair way back - about a length-and-a-half back on him - and just bombed up in there. I knew that it was a high-risk move, but it was one that was needed to be made to try to win the race.

"We're not here to come second. We're here to win, and I had that mind-set all weekend."

Busch said he would not have tried the winning move Ambrose made.

"I wouldn't have made it, because I would have wrecked," said Busch. "I think we would have wrecked if one of the cars didn't give, (and) I was the car that gave. I don't think it was a fair move. It won him the race. He had to do something.

"Yay for him. Good job - whatever. I wouldn't have been able to it. I would have wadded my stuff up."

Ambrose countered by pointing out that he hadn't touched Busch's No. 18 Toyota.

"You're racing against one of the best in the business," Ambrose said. "The element of surprise was my attack. He clearly reacted late to me coming on the inside there. I don't know what he's got to complain about."

Edwards saw nothing wrong with Ambrose's pass.

"Marcos knows more about road racing than all of us," Edwards said. "I wasn't happy that he moved me out of the way into (Turn) 1 earlier (after a restart on Lap 48), but he apologized for it and I believe him."

"I saw replays of it (the pass into the bus stop) on the big screen when we were driving around, and it looked like just a pass. If I could have put my car in that position, I sure would have. I think anybody out there would have."

Ambrose's pass wasn't the Pre- Season only c on tro versy of the afternoon. Robby Gordon and Joey Logano repeatedly got together on the track. The last contact between the two sent Logano into a tire barrier, only to carom back onto the track. The car burst into flames, and Logano escaped unscathed but angry.

"You can't fix stupid," Logano said of Gordon's aggression. "It's forever."

Top-10 leaders after 22 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-3646, 2. Edwards- 3434, 3. Keselowski-3237, 4. Leffler 3073, 5. Allgaier-2605, 6. S. Wallace-2535, 7. Bliss-2513, 8. Keller-2509, 9. Gaughan-2462, 10. Logano-2459

Raymond Parks honored at Dawsonville

"Thank you Raymond Parks, you are my hero," said Gordon Pirkle, proprietor of the Dawsonville, Ga., pool hall.

A special section in the Dawson News and Advertiser, referred to Parks as "The Man Behind NASCAR."

Parks was honored Saturday, Aug. 8 at the Thunder Road USA in Dawsonville. Parks, who recently turned 95, was born in Dawsonville in 1914. He left his hometown while still a teenager to escape the hardscrabble life of a sharecropper's son to work for his uncle in an Atlanta service station. It wasn't long before he turned into a part-time moonshine runner. Within a few years, he was able to buy out his uncle, and start several other businesses, like jukeboxes, pool tables, and cigarette machines throughout the Atlanta area.

He was wealthy by the time he was 24 years old.

"We decided to start racing in 1938 at Lakewood (Georgia) Speedway," said Parks. "We were all standing around Red Vogt's garage one day and decided to fix up a car for Lloyd Seay to drive. It was a '34 Ford roadster, and he won the first race he ran at Lakewood.

"That was really something, seeing my car win. I knew after that first race I wanted to get into it. Right after that I went and bought two '39 Ford coupes from the Ford dealer in Atlanta. I paid $565 a piece for them. I took them to Vogt and told him to get them ready for February. Roy Hall and Lloyd Seay were going to be the drivers. They were from up around Dawsonville, where I was born, too."

"We went all over North and South Carolina, Langhorne, Pa., Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Florida. We raced just about every Sunday, somewhere."

Parks' business and racing were interrupted by World War II. He served in the U. S. Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, with the 99th Infantry Division. At one point, he spent three months living in a snow-covered foxhole. After his discharge, he returned to Atlanta, and resumed his many businesses and racing.

His teams won several national championships because of his financial resources. But it was also his money that helped Bill France Sr. keep NASCAR going until the sport's popularity took off in the 1950s.

"Raymond never took any acclaim for having helped start NASCAR," said Grady Rogers of Dawsonville. "It was kind of an unspoken partnership. But Bill France could count on Raymond to help fund NASCAR and bring several cars with him."

"Without Raymond Parks, the growth of stock car racing would have been delayed several years. Many people criticized Parks for the way he earned his wealth, but his money helped grow the sport," said longtime Georgia announcer Jimmy Mosteller. "He's the Godfather of Stock Car Racing."

Parks left the sport in 1952, never dreaming it would turn into what it has today. "There are many things in my life, I can't say I approve of now, but that's the way my life developed back then," said Parks in a 2000 interview. "I've enjoyed my lifestyle, and I hope people will remember me for the good that I've done. There are some things I won't talk about, but stock car racing is the best sport in the world."

Weekend Racing: The NASCAR Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway at Brooklyn, Mich. The Truck Se- ries has the week off.

Sat., Aug. 15, Nationwide Series Michigan 250, race 23 of 35, Starting time: 3 pm (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sun., Aug. 16, Sprint Cup Michigan 400, race 23 of 36, Starting time: 1 pm (EDT); TV: ESPN.

Racing Trivia Question: Where is Cup driver Matt Kenseth's hometown?

Last Week's Question: BMW is leaving Formula 1. Which series are they considering moving to? Answer. BMW is studying a move to NASCAR

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