WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - The road was difficult for Ford teams on Sunday as Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick were the only top-10 finishers in a Watkins Glen race that will be remembered as the first win for Chase Elliott.
Elliott, who led a race-high 52 laps, held off Martin Truex Jr. over the final 20 laps to take the checkered flag in his 99th career start.
From a Ford perspective, Kurt Busch made the best out of a bad situation as a flat tire forced him to pit for two tires, but the result was good track position down the stretch. Even though he couldn’t maintain a top-five position, he was able to hold on for ninth, which was one spot ahead of his Stewart-Haas teammate Kevin Harvick.
An omen of the type of day it was going to be for Ford came on the second lap when Joey Logano, who qualified sixth and was coming off a win in Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race, went careening through the sand after the cars in front of him checked up in the carousel. Logano ran into the back of Kyle Larson and damaged his radiator to the point that it forced him to retire.
Ford will be trying to bounce back next week at Michigan, where it has more wins than any other manufacturer. Clint Bowyer will be looking to become the first Ford driver to sweep both MIS races since Bill Elliott did it in 1986 after he won in June.
MONSTER ENERGY CUP RACE TOP-10 FINISHERS
1st -- Chase Elliott
2nd -- Martin Truex Jr.
3rd -- Kyle Busch
4th -- Daniel Suarez
5th -- Erik Jones
6th -- Kyle Larson
7th -- Jamie McMurray
8th -- William Byron
9th -- Kurt Busch
10th -- Kevin Harvick
REMAINING FORD FINISHERS
11th -- Clint Bowyer
12th -- Ryan Blaney
16th -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17th -- Brad Keselowski
18th -- Michael McDowell
22nd -- Aric Almirola
26th -- David Ragan
28th -- Paul Menard
29th -- Matt Kenseth
33rd -- Matt DiBenedetto
37th -- Joey Logano
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Finished 37th; Accident on lap 2
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE TRACK AND WHAT WAS THE STORY IN THE GARAGE BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE YOU GUYS WERE GOING TO TRY AND FIX THE CAR AND GET BACK OUT? “I don’t really know what happened in the garage on how the whole repair situation repair is. I don’t know. It’s somewhat confusing, I think, to all of us to try to understand exactly how that works, so I don’t really know what happened there. But on the race track we were actually racing the heck out of each other at the start of the race. It was fun. I was trying to keep the nose on the car and was gonna try to make a run on Larson off the carousel and I was right on him when they checked up in front of him. He lifted and there was nothing he was supposed to do. He checked up and I ran into the back of him and there’s just not enough bumper on the front of my car apparently and it just knocked the radiator out of it.”
KURT BUSCH, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion – Finished 9th
“We had a surprise flat right-rear and that forced us into taking two tires and we had to improvise from there. It’s kind of a bummer, but we made the best we could with it and got a top 10. We want to win, but the car can’t quite steer from the rear and the front is chattering a little bit. We’re close, but we’re not quite there.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 PPG Ford Fusion – Finished 12th
“It was a long day. We struggled all weekend, really, and just couldn’t really go anywhere. We’d fire off OK and then just fade terribly, so we’ve got some work to do here.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Go Bowling Ford Fusion – Finished 22nd
“I don’t know what happened there. I’d have to see it, so it’s hard to say. The 12 diving inside of me, I guess, kind of dive-bombed in there. It’s really hard for the spotters to see over there because we’re coming out from behind the trees and I honestly didn’t know he was there. I guess he hit the curb and wiped us out, so it’s disappointing. I thought we had a car we could have run in the top 10 or top 12 with and just didn’t do it. This is a couple weeks of bad luck and we’ve got to battle back from this and rebound and get going before the Playoffs start.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Ford Fusion – Finished 16th
“All in all it was a decent weekend. Practice was good and qualifying no-so-good. The first quarter of the race we obviously had a lot of issues, but we were able to bounce back and get a good, decent finish. We had good, decent speed at the end of the race, so it’s something to build off of on he road course for sure. I look forward to getting to Michigan and hopefully keep improving.”
MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 32 Zynga Poker Ford Fusion – Finished 33rd
“I think we exploded a gear. I felt a drive line vibration for a little bit and it finally let go, so these places are tough on cars. Those kind of failures can happen, so we’ll see. We struggled with the car all weekend, so it was a tough weekend.”