WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Tony Stewart won the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International on a steamy Monday, holding off Australian Marcos Ambrose over the final 25 laps for his Cup-record fifth victory at the famed road course.
It was Stewart's third win in his first season as an owner-driver and the seventh road course win of his career, second to Jeff Gordon's NASCAR-record nine. Stewart has seven consecutive top-two finishes at The Glen, also winning in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2007 and finishing second in 2006 and 2008. He also has finished first or second in eight of the past 11 road races; he was second to Kasey Kahne at Sonoma in June.
The race originally was scheduled for Sunday, but a string of thunderstorms forced it to be postponed until Monday. Last week's race at Pocono also was postponed to Monday because of rain.
Ambrose was second, a career best, and Carl Edwards third. Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch, Max Papis, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10. Polesitter Jimmie Johnson, seeking his first career road win, finished 12th.
Kyle Busch, 13th in points, closed the gap on 12th-place Matt Kenseth for the cutoff spot in the Chase for the championship. Busch, who entered the race 102 points behind Kenseth, narrowed the gap to 58.
The chaos that everybody was expecting on the double-file restarts never materialized. There were no major incidents in the hard, downhill, 90-degree right-hand first turn.
Ambrose started fourth and ran up front early. But pit strategy dropped him deep in the field midway through the 90-lap race. He stayed out when the rest of the leaders pitted for the first time and was running 22nd on lap 50 after making his first stop. He ducked into the pits on lap 55 for fuel and made up 10 seconds on leader Kyle Busch.
A multi-car crash involving Jeff Gordon and Sam Hornish Jr. on lap 63 brought out a 19-minute red flag stoppage and put Ambrose back in the mix.
Kasey Kahne precipitated the crash when he dived inside of Hornish coming out of turn nine on the 11-curve track and sent Hornish into the grass on the left side. Hornish's No. 77 Dodge caromed off a tire barrier and back onto the track, and Gordon's No. 24 slammed head-on into it, spinning violently around into the Armco barrier lining the track.