Saturday, August 8, 2009

Was Ambrose’s move on Busch in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Watkins Glen race aggressive or a bad move?

Marcos Ambrose saves the NASCAR Nationwide Series Watkins Glen race from being another (Kyle) Busch Series show.

It’s a Saturday afternoon country drive at the southern tip of Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen International for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at The Glen race.

I have to say that for the most part I enjoy watching racing not only on most ovals, but on the road courses as well and when it comes to Watkins Glen, over the last few years, the racing has gotten even better and aggressive.

Specking of aggressive driving, that seems to be the topic of conversation following one interesting and exciting Watkins Glen Nationwide Series race where the NASCAR Cup Series regulars Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose lead most of the laps on Saturday.

However the real action happened in the final 30 laps, the battle up front heated up when Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose started to pull away from third place Denny Hamlin and the rest of the field.

But with 19 laps to, Marcos Ambrose saw the perfect opportunity to make his move on the leader Kyle Busch, coming down the back straightaway towards the interloop (the bus stop). Ambrose moved to inside of Busch and dive bombed into the interloop, the move caused Busch to make a sharp left turn and skip the interloop, in turn, he had stop at the end of the interloop in order not to get penalized and then rejoin the racetrack.

Following that move, Marcos Ambrose would hold-off Kyle Busch in the late stages of the race to pickup his second straight victory at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Ambrose said in victory lane: "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 mindset all weekend."

"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."

Kyle Busch: "I wouldn't have made it, because I would have wrecked," said Busch, who expanded his series points lead over second-place Edwards to 212 points. 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."

Carl Edwards: "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, Busch, and Edwards quotes above from NASCARmedia.com NNS Recap.

Personally the way I see it is, Marcos Ambrose is not the first driver to make this move at Watkins Glen going into the interloop nor for that matter turn 1 and it will not be the last time neither. A few years ago, Robby Gordon made an even more aggressive move in a Busch Series race on Kurt Busch, but in that case, Kurt Busch won the race.

Bud while the move was an aggressive move, a dive bomb move, it wasn't a bad move to make for position and so long as Ambrose didn't make contact (which he didn't make contact with Busch), then the move isn't bad. These dive bomb moves especially at Watkins Glen will be happening for years to come.

I will also say that if this was reversed, we would still be having the same conversation today and I would still be saying the same thing. If they both would have wrecked, then it would have been saying it was Ambrose’s fault, but in the same right, Busch did go in a little bit hot (of course I believe Busch when he said he didn't see him coming) and there might have been enough room to go in two wide without wrecking, drivers have gone through the bus stop two wide before and not wrecked.

As for Kyle Busch saying he wouldn't have made the same move, I don't think so at all. After watching Kyle Busch's driving in all three NASCAR Series over the last couple of years, not to mention after listening to his comments on winning vs. second place, let alone losing, he would have made the same move. And so would have most of the drivers in that race, and I wouldn't be surprised to see similar moves in the Cup Series or Grand-Am race too. He (Busch) can say what he will about that he wouldn't have made that move if he was that position, but I believe he would have hands down.

So what do you think, was Marcos Ambrose’s move on Kyle Busch in the race with 19 laps to go going into the interloop (the bus stop) aggressive or a bad move?

Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #47 STP Toyota, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the # 18 NOS Toyota and Carl Edwards, driver of the #60 Save a Lot Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR via NASCARmedia.com)