How the race was won
Stories of the race
Kyle Busch winning, again. He has eight wins now. With 14 races left, the modern era record of 13 wins in a season is still within reach.
A massive wreck eight laps from the finish. Nine cars were involved in a crash that splattered debris all over the Watkins Glen track. Clean up took nearly 45 minutes, delaying what to that point had been an extremely quick race.
Marcos Ambrose's drive to the front. The Aussie, who won Saturday's Nationwide race, started 43rd, yet drove his way all the way to a third-place finish.
Give 'em credit
Running in second, Jimmie Johnson had a tire go down, forcing him to pit. Despite losing a ton of track position, Johnson rallied to finish seventh.
Cue the Tony Jr. critics
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a car good enough to win. Unfortunately, midway through the race crew chief Tony Eury Jr. gambled by keeping his driver on the track instead of pitting. It was a risky move, because if the caution came out, Junior would suffer, which is exactly what happened. A caution came out for debris on the track; Junior didn't have a choice and had to pit, which dropped him from first to 32nd. He never recovered.
What was he thinking?
David Gilliland got into the back of Michael McDowell. McDowell responded by driving Gilliland into the wall, which sparked the nine-car accident. McDowell's retaliation led to the destruction of at least $1 million of equipment. Nice move, kid.
From bad to worse
Tony Stewart's second-place finish helped firm up his Chase chances. Clint Bowyer took a hit. He finished 23rd, which dropped him from 12th to 13th in the standings. Heading to Michigan, it appears the top five are comfortably in, while the next seven, along with Bowyer, will battle for the final seven spots.
Grading the race
If your focus was squarely on Marcos Ambrose's run from 43rd to third, you probably really enjoyed this race. Other than that, this was once again typical of what we've seen every week this year. Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. combined to lead huge chunks of the race, with no challenge when they were there. It's hard to appreciate talent when they never really have to show it. That said, until the red flag, this was the quickest race of the season, which is a good thing. Grade: B-
From the source
Michael McDowell: "It's unfortunate and I'm sorry for the fans and all the cars that got wrecked there and then they had to wait through that red flag. I was just racing hard."
Tony Stewart: "I never really got that close to pass (Kyle Busch) unfortunately. I never could get the runs in the right spots. That was the key really."
- Kyle Busch