Watkins Glen update: Ambrose leads as red flag flies for Lap 40 crash

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Pole sitter Marcos Ambrose has lived up to expectations today, leading 30 of the 41 laps run so far in today’s Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen International.

The race is currently under a red flag after a five-car incident in the esses at Lap 40 that saw Ron Fellows get into the quarter-panel of Travis Kvapil to send him spinning. In the ensuing stack-up, Tomy Drissi and Victor Gonzales also collided with each other, while Landon Cassill took some damage to his own car as well.

Drissi and Gonzales’ mangled cars left behind a large amount of oil and fluids on the track, which caused NASCAR to throw the red for an extensive clean-up. The field has come to a halt at the “bus stop” chicane as safety workers tend to the situation in the esses.

Two laps before the incident, Ambrose had re-taken the lead shortly after a restart at Lap 38. Race leader Kevin Harvick held off Ambrose through the esses, but was unable to keep both the Australian and Kyle Busch back in the “bus stop” and fell to third.

With the race under red, it’s Ambrose, Busch, Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and A.J. Allmendinger as your Top 5.

Earlier in the race, Jeff Gordon – one of the key figures in the Race to the Chase – hit the inside backstretch wall on Lap 14 after bouncing off the outside wall while coming out of the esses. The winless Gordon came into today’s event ninth in the standings, but will more than likely fall out of the Top 10 with this crushing setback.

“I got a big run on the 11 [Denny Hamlin], and I got up on him and the nose just completely took off,” Gordon told ESPN after being released from the infield care center. “It put me in the wall, put me in the grass and from that point on, I was just a passenger. We’ll get it fixed, get out there and ride around.

“That’s the penalty for making a mistake like that. You have to go out there and drive something like I’m getting ready to drive around there all day, and we pay the price in the points. So, on to next week.”

Gordon has since returned to the track and now runs in 42nd place, 23 laps down.