The traditional second road course race on the schedule belongs to Watkins Glen, a 7-turn, 2.45-mile track that New York can call its own. There was talk years ago of one being built in the NYC area, but for now there’s just the one in wine country. And today, we Go Bowling at The Glen!
Here’s what to look for:
–Denny Hamlin captured the Pole in Saturday’s Qualifying session, launching from the front of the field. This isn’t one of his best tracks (just a 17.7 average finish), but his last two runs respectively were a 4th in 2017, and a win in 2016. Before that, nothing good (unless you’re counting 2009 and prior).
–Kyle Busch will start next to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. He has the second best average finish here (9.8), and is his third most successful by the same measure. With the exception of his very first race here (2005, 33rd), and one in 2014 (40th), the #18 pilot has never finished outside the Top 8. Say what? Thirteen runs, eleven Top 10s. Wow.
–A.J. Allmendinger has been the guy with the best crack at a road course victory for a few years now, a 9.3 average finish. Just one win, but six Top 10s in nine starts. He rolls off 8th.
–Martin Truex Jr. took this one home last year (one of eight wins), leading 24 of 90 laps. He’s got a solid average here, too, 12.1 and fourth among active drivers. He’ll start 4th, too.
–Brad Keselowski has the third best average finish among active drivers, a 10.8, his second best track, too. Some memorable runs here for Keselowski in previous years, three straight 2nd place finishes. Two of his last three were 7th or better, though 2017 yielded a 15th. Trying real hard to get to the race today, wouldn’t mind seeing he and Kyle Busch bang fenders again for the entirety of the final lap. It was incredible.
Coverage of the race starts on NBC at 2:30pm, green flag scheduled for 2:48pm.