WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- After a final lap that saw the top three drivers make significant contact with each other as they slipped in oil, Marcos Ambrose came out ahead to win the Finger Lakes 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.
"It just feels so good to be back in victory lane," Ambrose said. "Thank you to Sprint, Stanley, DeWalt, MAC Tools, Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports and everybody that gets us here. It just feels so good. This year is pure joy. It's a great day."
Brad Keselowski finished second.
Kyle Busch took the white flag with the lead, but a spin and contact from Keselowski propelled Keselowski into the lead.
Moments later, Ambrose got by Keselowski to move into the top spot and the two drivers battled side-by-side, banging fenders the rest of the way to the checkered flag.
"I was the first one to slip in the oil and it was just getting worse and worse," Ambrose said. "You could tell the car was staying out there, because the oil was moving around the race track and you just take your chances. You've got to commit at that point in the race and it was great racing with Kyle and Brad. They're the two best guys to race."
Busch took the lead early in the race, getting by pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya on lap one. He stayed out as some drivers pitted early to hold on to the lead until the first caution of the race came out on lap 25 of the 90-lap event.
Busch gave up the lead to pit under yellow, handing off the top spot to Keselowski, who had pitted a lap earlier under green. Keselowski and Ambrose restarted first and second, while Busch was shuffled back to seventh for the restart.
Ambrose passed Keselowski for the lead on lap 39, then gave the top spot back to Keselowski when he headed down pit road on lap 47. Keselowski then headed down pit road on lap 57, enabling Busch to re-inherit the lead just before the next caution of the race came out on lap 58.
Once again, Busch and others pitted under the yellow and Keselowski shuffled back up toward the front to restart with the lead. Tony Stewart restarted second after working his way back toward the front after a pit road penalty earlier in the race.
Ambrose made his way back up to the third spot after pitting under caution by getting by both Busch and Clint Bowyer with 21 laps to go. Stewart, running second, spun a lap later to bring out the caution, moving Ambrose up to second.
Keselowski and Ambrose started first and second with 16 laps to go, but Busch got by both of them to take the lead on the restart. Ambrose then got by Keselowski with 10 to go to assume the second spot. With two laps remaining, Keselowski got back by to retake second and set his sights on Busch.
As Busch slowed and looked to lose some control of his race car, Keselowski made contact. Busch then spun and Keselowski moved into the lead on the final lap.
"The No. 18 was leaking fluid something fierce," Keselowski said. "Just one big giant oil slick under his car."
But according to Dave Rogers, Busch's crew chief, the oil came from the No. 47 of Bobby Labonte.
With Busch out of contention, Keselowski and Ambrose made contact multiple times on the final lap and Ambrose was up front when the checkered flag waved.
Busch remained in the top 10 to finish seventh.
Jimmie Johnson finished third.
"The first segment we were pretty far off," Johnson said. "We came in on our first stop and made some adjustments and really got our car back in the condition I needed it in. Ran kind of third all day, so real happy to finish where we did."
Clint Bowyer fourth, and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle was sixth.
"It was a pretty good day," Biffle said. "It was unfortunate that I got in that oil. I had a fourth-place finish locked up. I almost wrecked and lost those spots. There for a while, we were gaining on the No. 9 (Ambrose) a little bit, but we were just off a little bit today."
NOTES: Ambrose has never finished worse than third at Watkins Glen. ... Prior to Sunday's race, there had never been a last-lap pass for the win at the track. ... This was Ambrose's second-consecutive win at Watkins Glen.