Watkins Glen: Petty Enterprises race report

Kyle Busch became the first driver in NASCAR history to win three road course races in a single season by taking the checkered flag in the Centurion Boats at the Glen on Sunday. The win gives Busch a series-leading eight victories in 2008. Tony...

Kyle Busch became the first driver in NASCAR history to win three road course races in a single season by taking the checkered flag in the Centurion Boats at the Glen on Sunday. The win gives Busch a series-leading eight victories in 2008. Tony Stewart, in a bid to collect his first win of the season, settled for a second-place finish.

After rain washed out Friday's practice and qualifying sessions, it looked as though Mother Nature would play a factor on Sunday as well. Showers moved through the area overnight, but cleared up in time for all 90 laps of racing to be completed.

Boris Said and the No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge team finished 24th in Sunday's event. Said, the road course ace, was making his first start for Petty Enterprises. After starting the race from the 40th position due to the cancellation of qualifying, Said quickly raced his way inside the top-30. He was happy with the overall balance of the No. 45 Dodge, but he did need a little help in the right-hand turns where he was 'loose.' Crew chief Stewart Cooper made a wedge adjustment that helped the handling, allowing Said to pass 84 cars on the day. That figure was the third-highest in the 43 car field.

"Track position was key today, just like it is every week," stated Cooper. "Had we got the chance to let Boris work his road course magic in qualifying and could have started higher, I think we could have brought home a top-10. It just seemed like you had to fight to pass each car. He passed a lot of them today. It was a blast to work with him and we all appreciate him helping us out."

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team finished 42nd in Sunday's event. Labonte started the race from the 20th position and had a fast car early on. By lap 11 he was one of the fastest cars on the track. Unlike his teammate, Labonte was 'tight' in the right-hand turns of Watkins Glen. Crew chief Jeff Meendering had a plan to make the race at two pit stop race. The first stop for tires and fuel came on lap 26. The second, on lap 57, put them within their fuel window, albeit with not much room to spare. A few caution flags fell their way and allowed Labonte to save precious fuel. Before the fuel pendulum could swing in their favor, Labonte was caught up in a hard wreck coming off of turn 11 on lap 82. He climbed from the car under his own power, but was taken to the infield care center and, subsequently, taken to a local hospital where he was evaluated and released.

"It was really hard to pass out there today," said Labonte. "Jeff came over the radio on several occasions to tell me that we had one of the fastest cars on the track, but I couldn't go anywhere. So we came up with some fuel strategy that would have put us in position for a good finish. It was going to be close, but I think we would have made it. Then we got caught up in that big wreck. That was a superspeedway-type wreck. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow."

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo. Friday's qualifying session will be telecast on ESPN2. It will be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius Channel 128.

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Boris Said , Kyle Busch