Last week, Denny Hamlin returned to prominence with a victory at Pocono, a track he swept as a rookie. Today the boys travel slightly north to Watkins Glen, home to New York’s wine country and an 11-turn road course (with a bus stop in there, too).
Here’s what to look for:
–Chase Elliott was last year’s winner, and today he’ll pick up right where he left off: 1st! A Pole run for the #9 sets him out front ahead of all the chaos heading into that first turn (the “Ninety” on your ticket if you’re sitting there) and that usually leads to good things. As previously stated, Elliott won here last year for his first career Win, and his average isn’t so bad either: 9.0 in three starts.
–William Byron will start next to his teammate, he’ll be making his 2nd start at The Glen today. He finished 8th in last year’s edition, and looks to improve upon that today. Byron announced the other day that he’ll be driving a Days of Thunder inspired car for Throwback Weekend at Darlington; start the countdown for “we’re eating ice cream!”
–Kyle Busch has been pumping out consistency at this track; he’s only finished worse than 8th once over the last ten races (40th, 2014) and carries an 8.1 in that span. Rowdy rolls off 3rd and will no doubt challenge for the Win.
–Daniel Suarez has made just two starts here, but they’re good ones! A 3rd in his rookie season and then 4th last year, he’s looking mighty fine heading into today’s race. The starting position (18th) leaves a little to be desired, but he’s managed to finish up front so far.
–Erik Jones had a tire issue in Qualifying, but put on a new shoe and will start 14th. He ranks 2nd among active drivers over the last ten races with a 7.5 average, a 10th in 2017 and a 5th in 2018. With Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr (2017’s winner), and Denny Hamlin (2016’s winner) as teammates (who have all achieved success here), they sky is the limit for Jones.
Coverage of the race starts on NBCSN at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:18pm.