FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: WATKINS GLEN NOTES
The second road course race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen International, and Ford will be looking for its eighth all-time victory at the historic facility. Here’s a look at some of those previous wins.
The first time Ford won in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International was when Marvin Panch drove the Wood Brothers to victory on July 18, 1965. There were only 19 cars in the field that day and it proved to be a Ford show as all 66 laps were led by three drivers sporting the Blue Oval. Ned Jarrett, who finished second, led the first lap before Junior Johnson passed him on lap 2. Johnson led the pack for 12 circuits until his engine blew, which enabled Panch to inherit a lead he never gave up, going the final 53 laps and making it first to the checkered flag. The win was Panch’s fourth of the season and next-to-last in his career, which ended with 17 victories.
Mark Martin became the first driver to win three straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International, and he capped that streak on Aug. 13, 1995 after passing Wally Dallenbach, Jr. on lap 84 of the 90-lap event. Martin, who led a race-high 61 circuits overall, held off the road racing specialist to win by one second. That victory completed a three-year run that saw him not only sit on the pole every time, but lead 183-of-270 laps (68%).
When Chemung, NY, native Geoffrey Bodine took the checkered flag in the No. 7 QVC Ford Thunderbird on Aug. 11, 1996 he established a blueprint that continues to be employed today. He, along with crew chief Paul Andrews, employed an “only stop when you have to” strategy and that resulted in making only two stops in the 90-lap event, compared to three for everyone else. Bodine passed Ken Schrader with eight laps to go and then held off Terry Labonte over the final laps to win. That marked the 18th and final victory of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, and it came in front of his hometown fans.
One of the all-time classic finishes at Watkins Glen International came when Marcos Ambrose went slip sliding away on the final lap, but still resulted in him winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for the second straight time on August 12, 2012. In a race that had more twists and turns over the final three laps than many can remember in recent years, Ambrose was the one who survived a massive streak of oil that had been laid down on the track, allowing him to pass Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski for Ford’s third win of the season.
Busch appeared to be headed toward victory, but as he came into turn one on the final lap, he slipped in some oil and got loose. Keselowski came up from behind and hit Busch, sending him spinning off the track. A battle between Ambrose and Keselowski ensued from that point with both drivers trying to avoid the slickness that had covered the course. Ambrose followed Keselowski through the grass at one point, but was able to get by in the treacherous carousel when Keselowski slid one final time.
Joey Logano became the first driver to sweep a NASCAR XFINITY/Sprint Cup weekend at Watkins Glen International when he did it last season. Fuel mileage ended up deciding the race as leader Kevin Harvick ran out on the last turn, which allowed Logano to pass him and make it to the finish line first. The win was Logano’s first on a road course and also marked the first series triumph for car owner Roger Penske at the historic track.
FORD WATKINS GLEN WINNERS
1965 – Marvin Panch
1993 – Mark Martin
1994 – Mark Martin
1995 – Mark Martin
1996 – Geoffrey Bodine
2011 – Marcos Ambrose
2012 – Marcos Ambrose
2015 – Joey Logano