A lot of times we as fans have an idea of who will be legitimate contenders for a win. We even luck out and are correct in predicting them.
In this case, the driver we thought was going to win was a contender, but couldn't get the job done. However, another road course master was the one celebrating at the very end of the day.
Ninety laps made for a rather quick, and somewhat fun, race at the end of the day. So here's my race reactions for all of today's action at the Glen.
The race itself was probably one of the cleanest races I've seen in a long while. There were unhappy drivers at some points, but when you consider how some races have shouting matches at the end, this was calm.
Sure, Boris Said was angry at Tony Stewart when they had their wreck entering the esses. However, afterward Said told reporters he believed he was clear when he held his line.
Then, when Jimmie Johnson wrecked in turn seven, Jeff Burton came over and explained he was outside of Kyle Busch who dove to his right entering the turn. Johnson, believe it or not, was one of two innocent victims in that wreck.
Yes, I said that right. Johnson was just in the wrong place and came out on the bad end of the deal.
Denny Hamlin also was an innocent victim of that wreck, but he had the most to say. Whenever someone is "dive bombing" into a corner, of course there's going to be a wreck. That's just part of road course racing, drivers will push the limits entering the corner, especially at a track like Watkins Glen.
All of them had reason to be upset, but really those were the only big incidents of the race. That was a welcome sight.
The entire race was all about two drivers, Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya. If any other driver would have taken the win, every fan would have been in shock.
But we all knew who the top drivers were going to be on this afternoon. From the drop of the green flag, these two were the elite drivers.
Ambrose may not have won the race, but the weekend was a great one for him.
He won the Nationwide race on Saturday, and then finished third in the Sprint Cup race. Overall that's nothing to be ashamed of.
Considering he's leaving the team at the end of the year and is without a ride, this weekend was huge for him. There's a few rides still open for 2011 so someone is bound to scoop him up.
Ambrose is a great driver and has such a great personality. He will be racing in NASCAR next year, that is a fact.
Finally, the dominating car has once again won the race. Montoya was simply phenomenal, leading over 70 of the 90 laps. It seems appropriate that Heluva Good! was the race sponsor, because that was exactly what Montoya was.
After having such a heartbreak at Indianapolis, the saddest man in the garage wasn't Montoya, but his crew chief, Brian Pattie.
He put that loss squarely on his shoulders. Not the team. Not Montoya for wrecking the car. On himself. There is no question it was still on his mind these last few weeks.
This win was very emotional for him, and also a huge weight off his shoulders. Sure, he still wants to get Montoya a victory on an oval, however this one he will savor.
It's appropriate that Montoya's car has a bulls-eye on the hood. On this day, he was the target of all those guys following him.
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