This win a first for Ambrose
Marcos Ambrose took advantage of a fortuitous pit stop midway through the Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday and easily beat Kyle Busch for his first NASCAR victory.
Ambrose, from Tasmania, was in the pits on Lap 42 when the fourth caution of the 82-lap race flew. He gained the lead on Lap 48 but gave it up right away to top off for fuel.
Ambrose worked his way up to third with 12 laps to go as Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson battled for the lead. But the two leaders ran out of fuel with less than four laps remaining and Ambrose coasted to the victory in the No. 59 JTG Daugherty Racing Ford.
“I just feel like a weight is off my shoulders, just a huge relief,” said Ambrose, who was third last week in the rain in Montreal after leading the most laps and second on the road course in Mexico. “We’ve come close. We haven’t been able to close the deal. I’ve had to be patient.”
Matt Kenseth finished third, followed by Kevin Harvick and polesitter Dario Franchitti, who was back in a NASCAR race for the first time in nearly a month.
Franchitti, who lost his Cup ride with Chip Ganassi Racing last month because of a lack of sponsorship, led 18 laps.
Johnny Benson became the fifth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver to win three straight races, passing Erik Darnell with three laps left and pulling away in the Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Benson, the winner of four of the last five races, joined Mike Skinner (1996 and 2007), Ron Hornaday (1997), Greg Biffle (2000) and Todd Bodine (2005) as the only drivers to win three races in a row in the series’ 13-year history.
Darnell held on to finish second. Polesitter Bodine led the first 74 laps and finished third. Jack Sprague was fourth, followed by Hornaday.
Scott Dixon came from behind at Kentucky Speedway, passing Helio Castroneves on the final straightaway to win the Indy Racing League Meijer Indy 300.
It was the second win in a row and the record-tying sixth victory of the season for Dixon, trying to win his second IRL championship.
Castroneves tried to win on fuel strategy. It looked as if he had it when he took the lead with six laps to go when Dixon, who had dominated most of the 200-lap race, was forced to make a fuel stop.
Dixon came out just over six seconds behind, but steadily cut into the margin, finally passing Castroneves as the leader slowed coming off the fourth turn on the 1.5-mile oval, out of fuel.
Making his first start of the season, former NASCAR Southwest Tour Champion Auggie Vidovich started from the pole and won the first race of the NASCAR ACDelco Super Late Model 40-lap feature at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale.
In the second race, Nick Joanides started from the second position and led the entire way to win his ninth race of the season, maintaining his division points lead.