Crunching The Numbers: Watkins Glen

After some exciting races at Pocono Raceway and Iowa Speedway last weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series head north for some road course racing at Watkins Glen International, the always entertaining 2.45 mile road course in Upstate New York. This weekend will mark the second road course race for both series after the Sprint Cup Series visited Sonoma Raceway and the Nationwide Series was at Road America back in June.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Cheez-It 355 at the Glen

As the Sprint Cup Series heads into Watkins Glen for the second road course race of the year, the Race to the Chase is also heating up with only five races remaining until the Chase begins and several drivers still in contention for those coveted spots. There are several drivers, including some in Chase contention who always run well at this track, so this race should be a fight from beginning to end as we get one step closer to finalizing the field for the Chase.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Marcos Ambrose 5 2 5 5 0 46 13.2 2.0
Brad Keselowski 3 0 2 2 0 39 16.0 8.0
Kyle Busch 8 1 3 7 1 159 7.4 9.0
AJ Allmendinger 4 0 1 2 0 8 15.2 9.0
Carl Edwards 8 0 3 5 1 1 12.5 9.4
Kevin Harvick 12 1 2 6 0 29 13.2 13.1
Jimmie Johnson 11 0 4 6 1 11 6.2 13.2
Martin Truex Jr. 7 0 2 4 0 0 18.7 13.7
Jeff Gordon 20 4 6 9 2 233 9.4 14.8
Juan Pablo Montoya 6 1 2 4 1 81 10.3 15.0

Who To Watch: After winning at Watkins Glen in the past two seasons, the driver who runs best at the track is none other than road course ace Marcos Ambrose, whose stellar Watkins Glen career includes the two wins, five top fives, five top tens, 46 laps led, and an average finish of 2.0 in five starts. The lowest that Ambrose has ever finished is third, so the road to victory on Sunday will have to go through Ambrose.

Tony Stewart falls in second statistically at this track and is undoubtedly one of the best at Watkins Glen with five wins, but unfortunately Stewart will be missing the race Sunday due to a broken leg that he suffered in a Sprint Car wreck on Monday night.

With Stewart out, the next driver in line statistically is Brad Keselowski, who has finished second to Ambrose the last two years, and in three starts has the two top fives, two top tens, 39 laps led, and an average finish of 8.0.

Others who run well at the road course include: Kyle Busch, who has one win, three top fives, seven top tens, one pole, 159 laps led, and an average finish of 9.0 in eight starts; A.J. Allmendinger, who won the Nationwide Series race at Road America in June, with one top five, two top tens, eight laps led, and an average finish of 9.0 in four starts; and Carl Edwards, with three top fives, five top tens, one pole, one lap led, and an average finish of 9.4 in eight starts.

The others in the top ten statistically (Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Juan Pablo Montoya) will also be strong contenders for the win this weekend. 

NASCAR Nationwide Series – Zippo 200 at the Glen

This weekend at Watkins Glen marks the second of three road course races this season for the Nationwide Series with a date at Mid-Ohio awaiting the drivers next weekend. With the points lead swapping between Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr., and Regan Smith over the past few weeks, the unpredictability that is Watkins Glen is sure to shake up the points standings once again.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Brad Keselowski 4 0 2 4 0 44 7.8 5.2
Nelson Piquet Jr. 1 0 0 1 0 0 10.0 7.0
Kyle Busch 6 0 4 5 0 90 7.2 9.3
Kasey Kahne 2 0 0 1 0 0 6.5 10.0
Brian Scott 3 0 0 1 0 0 16.7 12.3
Joey Logano 5 0 2 3 0 8 8.4 13.4
Elliott Sadler 4 0 0 1 0 0 13.0 14.8
Michael Annett 4 0 0 0 0 0 26.2 17.2
Justin Allgaier 4 0 0 1 0 1 17.0 18.0
Trevor Bayne 2 0 0 1 0 0 15.0 19.0

Who To Watch: While Brad Keselowski has been a runner-up on the Sprint Cup side statistically, he takes one step up in the Nationwide Series at Watkins Glen with the best statistics of the drivers entered on Saturday. In four starts, Keselowski has two top fives, four top tens, 44 laps led, and an average finish of 5.2.

Next is Nelson Piquet, Jr., who has a Nationwide Series road course win at Road America and in his lone Watkins Glen start in 2010 finished in seventh. Piquet’s road course skills are likely to have him in contention for the win.

Others who run well at the track include: Kyle Busch, with four top fives, five top tens, 90 laps led, and an average finish of 9.3 in five starts; Kasey Kahne, with one top ten and an average finish of 10.0 in two starts; Brian Scott, with one top ten and an average finish of 12.3 in three starts; and Joey Logano, who will be driving a special No. 48 Ford this weekend, with two top fives, three top tens, eight laps led, and an average finish of 13.4 in five starts.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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