AJ Allmendinger finally got his long-awaited first Cup Series win, taking the checkered flag in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International in the Finger Lakes region. Allmendinger held off a fierce late-race charge by runner-up Marcos Ambrose, winner of Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at the 2.45-mile road course.
"This is what I live for—this is all I talk about," said Allmendinger post-race. "I don’t want to hear that AJ might be the next first-time winner – I’m tired of hearing that."
The win not only got the proverbial monkey off of Allmendinger’s back, it also gives him a shot at the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Kurt Busch finished third, followed by rookie Kyle Larson and Sonoma winner Carl Edwards. Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers rounded out the top 10.
The race was marred by two red flag periods, the first lasting more than 80 minutes after Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell took down the guardrails on both sides of the track in the Carousel Turn (Turn 5) on Lap 56. The second came on Lap 88 of the 90-lap race, as Denny Hamlin spun and took out the sand barrels at the entrance to pit road, causing a 20-minute-plus delay.
Find the official race summary here.
Also hanging over the field: the absence of three-time Cup Series champ Tony Stewart after his involvement in an incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park which took the life of sprint car drive Kevin Ward Jr.; Regan Smith filled in for Stewart at Watkins Glen. It is unclear whether Stewart will compete this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
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Quotes in this piece provided by NASCAR.
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