Hamlin Gets First Road Course Win


The race was also marked by eight cautions and two red flags as drivers struggled to find grip, negotiate the curbs and cooperate at Watkins Glen.

It was the final day of NASCAR races at Watkins Glen International and that means it was time for the main event, the Cheez It 355 race.

2015 Cheez-It 355 at The Glen victor Joey Logano finished in second place. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has now won on every discipline track in the Sprint Cup Series - superspeedways, intermediate tracks, short tracks and now road courses.

Brad Keselowski finished in third and AJ Allmendinger finished in fourth.

Hamlin was holding off on a charging Martin Truex Jr (No. 78) and Brad Keselowski (No. 2) who were there to battle Hamlin for the lead. Keselowski was committed to make a cross over move on Truex Jr, but accidentally bumped the No. 78 and spun Truex Jr out. "I wanted to be outside and make a crossover and see if I could get both (Hamlin and Truex)". I thought, ‘Man, this is really cool to be in the drivers seat right now. "He got the bad end of it". The red flag period lasted 13 minutes, 19 seconds. He called the final restarts "hectic" and said he didn't want to give other drivers such as Truex and Keselowski a chance in the closing laps like he did Stewart at Sonoma. I think it has a lot to do with the Chase format, guys seeing this as a-win-and-you're-in type format. For a few laps, Truex Jr was able to keep Keselowski behind him until the last turn of the last lap.

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Once the duo made it to pit road, Keselowski walked over to discuss the incident with Truex Jr. Greg Biffle and Austin Dillon are also involved. Seconds later, the race's second red flag waved when a crash took out Kevin Harvick, Chris Buescher, and David Ragan with only six laps left in the 90-lap race, setting up the frantic finish.

For the second year in a row, tickets to this event were completely sold out, to people near and far. During Edward's first stop on pit road, the No. 19 team lost control of one of the tires that ended up on the other side of the pit box.

Watkins veterans, five-time victor Stewart and four-time champion Jeff Gordon (who was filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr.), had their share of problems Sunday. The race stayed green after that incident, however, as Dillon spun off track and stayed off the racing line.

"We're actually locals. We live in Watkins Glen and we like to come out and support the community and we really enjoy NASCAR racing", Sharon Upham said. He rallied from a penalty, while Ragan finished 33rd. The team was not allowed to work on the auto during the red but was prepared to do so promptly when the race went back to yellow. If his No. 11 team can continue to build the momentum in upcoming races at Bristol Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway, they could join teammates Busch, Edwards and Kenseth as championship threats when the Chase arrives in September.