WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. --
On a two-lap dash to the finish in the caution-filled Sprint Cup race Sunday,
A year ago, Busch watched victory slip away when he slid off course on the final lap on a track coated with oil from a blown engine.
He had to pit under caution after Busch had come in under green. That gave Busch the lead and he held on through a series of cautions over the final 28 laps. Ambrose crashed late trying to make a late run and finished 23rd.
The field didn't have to worry about five-time Watkins Glen winner
The top 10 drivers in points and the drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins earn wild-card berths for the 10-race postseason. Kurt Busch moved into 11th place, just two points behind Truex and only four behind ninth-place
Ambrose was unchallenged for the lead through the first half of the race, building a margin of nearly 3 seconds over Busch, who started fifth and was up to second by Lap 21.
On the restart on Lap 39, Ambrose lined up alongside Harvick and quickly regained the lead with Busch close behind.
A crash involving
"All things, considered, it's been a good race," Ambrose said during the stoppage, repeatedly getting an earful from crew chief Drew Blickensderfer to save fuel. "But it's not over."
It sure wasn't.
Busch had been unable to close on Ambrose before the red flag and was focused on the No. 9
"They're better," Busch said, referring to Ambrose. "I'm trying to figure out where I'm getting beat. He's been driving away."
On the ensuing restart on Lap 43, Ambrose again sailed clear of the field, building a cushion of 3.5 seconds over Busch as the final pit stops loomed.
The complexion of the race changed when
When the race restarted, Busch was in front with Keselowski third and Ambrose 12th, and the car that had dominated the race out front became just ordinary in traffic, unable to move forward. Nine laps after the restart and struggling, Ambrose had picked up only one spot and trailed Busch by nearly 10 seconds.
Truex managed to pass Busch on Lap 65, but Busch banged past him seconds later and Keselowski followed into second. Keselowski stayed close but Busch began to pull away just as he did a year ago when oil spoiled his day.
Ambrose's luck worsened on a restart with five laps remaining. Papis hit Ambrose from behind and the Australian slammed into the barrier lining the track. He jumped out, threw his helmet in disgust and walked away.
That set up the final dash, and Busch held off a charge by Keselowski, who a year ago had bumped him aside on the last lap.