Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

NASCAR - Cup Series Top 12 - And Beyond

Below is a look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 12.

1 – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) The File: • 36 years old, Vallejo, Calif., 79 career wins • Four wins, 14 top fives, 19 top 10s this year • Five poles • Average finish of 6.3 this season • Led 14 of 21 races for 764 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Four wins, six top fives, seven top 10s • Two poles • Average finish of 12.6 • Finished 13th last season • Led eight of 14 races for 176 laps Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • Series-best Closer – 80 positions improved over the last 10% of races

2 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet) The File: • 26 years old, Chesterfield, Va., three career wins • One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 11.7 • Led 12 of 21 races for 721 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • One top 10 • Finished 10th last season, his only Watkins Glen start Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • 336 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most

3 – Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford) The File: • 35 years old from Cambridge, Wis., 15 career wins • One win, seven top fives, 14 top 10s • Average finish of 11.4 • Led 13 of 21 races for 257 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Three top 10s • Average finish of 17.4 • Finished 21st last season • Led one of seven races for one lap Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • Series-high 5,704 laps run on the lead lap

4 – Jeff Burton (No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet) The File: • 40 years old from South Boston, Va., 19 career wins • One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s • Average finish of 12.4 • Led five of 21 races for 27 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Two top fives, three top 10s • Average finish of 19.8 • Finished 11th last season • Led three of 13 races for 54 laps Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • 1,181 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green flag conditions), third-most

5 – Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) The File: • 36 years old from Columbus, Ind., 31 career wins • Two wins, six top fives, 14 top 10s • Average finish of 13.8 • Led 14 of 21 races for 831 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Three wins, four top fives, six top 10s • Average finish of 6.8 • Finished second last season • Led four of eight for 170 laps Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • 457 Fastest Laps Run, second-most

6 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) The File: • 27 years old from Columbia, Mo., five career wins • One win, five top fives, seven top 10s • Average finish of 13.6 • Led eight of 21 races for 136 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • One top five • Average finish of 12.0 in two races • Finished fifth last season Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • 4,325 Laps in the Top 15, seventh-most

7 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) The File: • 31 years old from El Cajon, Calif., 27 career wins • Four wins, 10 top fives, 12 top 10s • Average finish of 14.7 • Led 12 of 21 races for 763 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Two top fives • Average finish of 16.4 • Finish 17th last season • Led three of five races for four laps Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • Average Running Position of 9.5, second-best

8 – Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet) The File: • 22 years old from Las Vegas, Nev., four career wins • One win, five top fives, 11 top 10s • Average finish of 14.8 • Led 11 of 21 races for 174 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • One top 10 • Average finish of 21.0 in two races • Finished ninth last season Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • Fifth-fastest average Green Flag Speed

9 – Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet) The File: • 31 years old from Bakersfield, Calif., 11 career victories • One win, four top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 15.0 this season • Led nine of 21 races for 251 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • One win, two top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 8.0 • Won last season • Led two of six races for 29 laps Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • 1,843 Green Flag Passes, tied for seventh-most

10 – Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet) The File: • 28 years old from Emporia, Kan. • One top five, 11 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 15.1 • Led eight of 21 races for 80 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Finished 14th last season, his only Watkins Glen start Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • Fifth-best Closer – 31 positions improved over the last 10% of races

11 – Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) The File: • 27 years old from Mayetta, N.J., 1 career win • One win, four top fives, seven top 10s • Average finish of 17.5 • Led nine of 21 races for 346 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Finished 28th last season, his only Watkins Glen start Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • 272 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best

12– Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) The File: • 29 years old from Las Vegas, Nev., 15 career wins • One win, four top fives, six top 10s • Average finish of 16.9 • Led 12 of 21 races for 536 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • One top 10; one poles • Average finish of 25.0 • Finished 19th last season • Led two of six races for 39 laps Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • Series-high 1,200 Quality Passes

13 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) The File: • 32 years old from Kannapolis, N.C., 17 career wins • Four top five, eight top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 16.5 • Led 10 of 21 races for 345 laps Watkins Glen International Outlook: • Two top fives, three top 10s • Average finish of 17.6 • Finished 18th last season • Led three of seven races for 13 laps Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight: • 4,569 Laps in the Top 15, third-most

Chase Contenders The Top 12 … And Beyond

Following Race 21 of 36

Weeks Rank Season In Last Driver Driver Points Wins Top 12 Week Rating

1. Jeff Gordon 3,236 4 21 1 109.7 2. Denny Hamlin 2,870 1 19 2 98.6 3. Matt Kenseth 2,825 1 20 3 94.5 4. Jeff Burton 2,763 1 21 4 92.2 5. Tony Stewart 2,749 2 18 5 103.9 6. Carl Edwards 2,682 1 18 6 91.3 7. Jimmie Johnson 2,624 4 19 9 107.3 8. Kyle Busch 2,611 1 19 8 96.4 9. Kevin Harvick 2,600 1 20 7 88.1 10. Clint Bowyer 2,552 0 19 10 83.9 11. Martin Truex Jr. 2,437 1 9 11 86.5 12. Kurt Busch 2,399 1 5 13 96.5

ADDITIONAL DRIVERS

13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,392 14. Ryan Newman 2,309 15. Greg Biffle 2,183 16. Mark Martin 2,183 17. Jamie McMurray 2,147 18. J.P. Montoya 2,132 19. Casey Mears 2,113 20. Bobby Labonte 2,030 21. J.J. Yeley 1,975 22. David Ragan 1,923 23. Elliott Sadler 1,884 24. Reed Sorenson 1,874 25. David Stremme 1,854 26. Ricky Rudd 1,812 27. Kasey Kahne 1,809 28. David Gilliland 1,805 29. Robby Gordon 1,757 30. Jeff Green 1,729 31. Tony Raines 1,717 32. Johnny Sauter 1,616 33. Sterling Marlin 1,600 34. Joe Nemechek 1,525 35. Dave Blaney 1,481 36. Scott Riggs 1,306 37. Kyle Petty 1,300 38. Paul Menard 1,247 39. Brian Vickers 1,075 40. David Reutimann 912 41. Dale Jarrett 872 42. Bill Elliott 844 43. Kenny Wallace 652 44. Ward Burton 644 45. Ken Schrader 632 46. Jeremy Mayfield 543 47. AJ Allmendinger 464 48. Regan Smith 409 49. John Andretti 368 50. Boris Said 346 51. Mike Bliss 325 52. Michael Waltrip 313 53. P.J. Jones 179 54. Mike Wallace 131

Note: The first 26 races of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season determine which 12 drivers qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, contested over the final 10 races of the season.

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NASCAR at Watkins Glen
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

The last time the Nextel Cup visited a road course, Juan Pablo Montoya shook the world. Some say he shocked the world and then there were others who said he simply got lucky with his fuel mileage. Whatever the case may be, Montoya showed everyone that he just may be the best pure driver in the world.

Some of the drivers that come to mind that had similar success in several types of racing are A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti. What separates Montoya and Andretti apart for all the others is simply winning in every series of which includes the world most popular form of Auto Racing, Formula One. He is as unique of a driver as there is as far as skill and versatility on all levels go.

Two weeks ago Montoya found himself being the only driver to ever compete in the Formula One USGP, Indianapolis 500, and Brickyard 400. He not only started the Brickyard, but he almost won with a strong second-place run.

His success, despite critics saying he would have little of it in NASCAR, has caught on around the world and done more for NASCAR Internationally than anyone else in NASCAR history, including Andretti. He is a true International Superstar, and in some way people resent that fame.

David Beckham came to America with all his International fame and his appeal has been ridiculed with judgment passed in the American media before he ever did anything. Montoya was met with much more open arms to America by the media than Beckham, but with almost as much skeptism. “The nerve of this arrogant Superstar thinking he can come to the USA’s number one motor sport, NASCAR, and do as well as he did over there when no one was banging on his fenders.”

After Montoya won at Sonoma in late June, Robby Gordon had the nerve to show just what a true rube he is by saying Montoya “only won because he got lucky”. It was as if he took all creditability away from Montoya winning because he thinks he was wronged out of a win, again! It’s like a broken record with Gordon.

Robby, here’s how luck goes. You were unlucky when you ran out of gas late in the Indy 500 while leading against minor league CART drivers. However, Montoya was lucky when he dominated his one and only Indy 500. You were unlucky when your under-funded team had its transmission fall out at Watkins Glen, while Montoya was lucky winning an F-1 race at Monaco.

After last weeks Montreal embarrassment, we know at least Robby can’t get any worse and that he has indeed peaked with “The best of” album of Robby Gordon’s Bad Decisions.

I shouldn’t paint a broad stroke with everyone because several fans and drivers have shown an enormous amount of excitement by Montoya just being here. You can see the respect from the top drivers towards Montoya on the circuit like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. They know what Montoya has accomplished and respect it. He is no ordinary rookie who sometimes gets pushed around by the veterans, like some of the “real” rookies do. In fact Montoya has been given plenty of free passes from veteran drivers just because of his credentials. During the Sonoma race, it looked like Montoya had spun out 4 cars including the whole Penske team.

How all of the bumps and bruises Montoya gave everyone at Sonoma plays out this week in Watkins Glen will be interesting to see unfold. On the tight turns of the course, it is very easy to give an “excuse me bump” that appears to just be part of racing. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Montoya take few lumps.

However, Montoya is still the third choice to win this week at 6 to 1 behind Stewart at 4 to 1 and Jeff Gordon at 5 to 1 which shows that he is well respected by the bookmakers despite the possibility of getting paid back by a few. It’ll be interesting to see how the bettors treat him in the match-ups. Will it be thumbs up or thumbs down?

I would expect Montoya to survive this week and do well again. Look for him to hit the corners faster and harder than anyone and exit the turns on a perfect line that allows him to gain a quarter second a lap. Hopefully he hasn’t used up all of his luck.

TOP 5 Finish prediction:

#20 Tony Stewart (4/1)
#24 Jeff Gordon (5/1)
#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (6/1)
#29 Kevin Harvick (7/1)
#60 Boris Said 12/1

Selected Driver Highlights

Note: All driver stats are from Watkins Glen International. NASCAR’s scoring loops began collecting data for statistical purposes in 2005. Thus, Loop Data statistics in this release cover the last two races at Watkins Glen.

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)


• Four wins, six top fives, seven top 10s
• Two poles
• Driver Rating of 96.5, ninth-best
• Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best
• Three Fastest Laps Run, tied for seventh-most
• 108 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
• Fifth-fastest Green Flag Speed
• 106 Laps in the Top 15, ninth-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet)


• One win, two top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 8.0
• Average Running Position of 11.6, seventh-best
• Driver Rating of 106.5, fourth-best
• Five Fastest Laps Run, tied for fifth-most
• Third-fastest Green Flag Speed
• 136 Laps in the Top 15, fourth-most

Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet)

• Three wins, four top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 6.8
• Series-best Average Running Position of 2.5
• Series-best Driver Rating of 140.1
• Series-high 53 Fastest Laps Run
• Fastest Green Flag Speed
• Series-high 182 Laps in the Top 15

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Watkins Glen Odds and Ends
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com


Odds and Ends at Watkins Glen International

• There have been 24 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Watkins Glen International since the first race there in 1957.Races were run in 1957, 1964 and 1965. The series returned there in 1987 and there has been one race a year since.

• Buck Baker won the first Bud Pole and race at Watkins Glen.

• Tim Richmond won the first Bud Pole and race at Watkins Glen upon the series’ return in 1987.

• There have been 14 different Bud Pole winners at Watkins Glen. Qualifying has been canceled four times, including back-to-back years in 2004 and 2005.

• Fifteen different drivers have won races at Watkins Glen, led by Jeff Gordon (four).

• NASCAR returned to the Glen in 1964 and 1965 with Billy Wade and Marvin Panch claiming victories.

• The Cup Series has run one race a year at Watkins Glen International since 1986.

• The Busch Series held its first race at the Glen in 1991 with Terry Labonte claiming the checkered flag.

• The first combination weekend at Watkins Glen International for NASCAR’s top series was a Cup and Craftsman Truck Series event in 1998.

• Jeff Gordon set the all-time Cup record for road-course victories with his victory at WGI in 2001, his seventh on a road course.

• Michael Waltrip is the only driver that has competed in the 21 Cup races since the series returned in 1986.

• Rick Hendrick has won six races at Watkins Glen – more than any other car owner.

• Seventeen of 24 races at Watkins Glen have been won from a top 10 starting position.

• The race winner has started from the Bud Pole eight times, the most-productive starting position.

• The deepest in the field that a Watkins Glen race winner has started was 18th by Steve Park in 2001.

• The race winner has started first in eight of 24 races at Watkins Glen. Mark Martin leads all other drivers with wins from the Bud Pole with three in a row between 1993 and 1995. Fourteen of the 24 race winners have started from the top-three starting positions.

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NASCAR Power Poll (August 7)    
       
Dominating. That’s all that needs to be said about Kurt Busch’s performance on Sunday. With Busch battling to get into the Chase for the Nextel Cup, he knew he has to pick it up in the final couple of weeks and this is quite a way to put a dent in the top 12. Busch led 175 laps – the most ever for a race at Pocono and never had any trouble moving to the front when pit stops occurred or others tried pit strategy to get out in front of him. As the series hits Watkins Glen, Busch appears to be finding his stride and a driver that could end up contending for a few more wins before it’s all said and done.

Hot – We could’ve easily went with David Gilliland had the second-year driver stayed clear of a late wreck, but we will go under the radar just a tad. Bill Elliott has done a great job in the Wood Brothers #21 Ford this year and he’s recorded finishes of 28th, 23rd and 18th in his last three starts. Although he’s not setting the world on fire, those are solid finishes for a team looking to get into the top 35 in owner’s points.

Cold – Michael Waltrip Racing. The MWR cars just can’t catch a break this year. Rookie David Reutimann has been a solid qualifier, but Michael Waltrip and Dale Jarrett haven’t raced well. Reutimann, Jarrett and Waltrip all recorded finishes of 38th or worse on Sunday and never appeared to have any chance of finishing too high. The MWR trio are all outside of the top 35 in points, so they continue to have to qualify their way in. Unfortunately for Waltrip, it doesn’t appear things will get any better the rest of the year.

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RacingOne Power Rankings

The latest edition of the RacingOne NEXTEL Cup Series Power Rankings as the series heads to Watkins Glen for Sunday's Centurion Boats at The Glen, which features NASCAR's comprehensive statistical ratings system using a detailed formula to calculate each driver's performance.

Editor's Note: Top 10 rankings are generated by a formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race. Must have raced in 75 percent of scheduled point-paying races.

1. Jeff Gordon: Gordon was able to gain more points in the Power Ranking standings after posting the third-best average driver rating in the Pennsylvania 500. Gordon, who has now led the rankings for six consecutive races, heads to Watkins Glen where he has four wins and seven top 10s in 14 starts.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 12.6
Watkins Glen Wins: 4

2. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson did not lose or gain any points this week in the rankings even after recovering from two dismal finishes with a fifth-place effort at Pocono. He posted an average running position of 7.1 en route to his 12th top 10 of the season. Plan on Johnson staying put in the second slot for another week as Watkins Glen is only one of three tracks on the circuit where he has yet to lead more than five career laps.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 16.4
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

3. Tony Stewart: Stewart was the last of seven drivers at Pocono to post a driver rating of 100.0 or higher. He remains third in the rankings with a season driver rating total of 103.9. Stewart will be looking to gain points on Johnson this weekend at Watkins Glen where he has the best average finish among all drivers at 6.8.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 6.8
Watkins Glen Wins: 3

4. Denny Hamlin:
Based on average running position, Hamlin was Kurt Busch's closest competition in the Pennsylvania 500 after posting an average place of 4.8. Hamlin's second-best driver rating in the 200-lap race helped him gain 1.1 points in the rankings, cushioning his position from the fifth-place driver. This weekend will mark Hamlin's second NEXTEL Cup start at Watkins Glen. Last year, he started 10th and finished 10th.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 10.0
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

5. Kurt Busch: Busch jumped three spots in the rankings with his dominating performance in the Pennsylvania 500. He led just about every statistical category in the race, which included average running position, driver rating, fastest on restarts and green flag speed. If Busch plans to make up more ground in the rankings he will need to get his Watkins Glen finishing average (25.0) closer to his starting average of 9.7 this weekend.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 25.0
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

6. Kyle Busch: Busch only lost one position in the rankings, but it could have been worse after hitting the wall in the Pennsylvania 500. The No. 5 Team was able to make the necessary repairs to rally Busch to a 12th-place finish. Watkins Glen is Busch's worst track when it comes to finishing average at 21.0.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 21.0
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Earnhardt Jr. made a magnificent recovery, after cutting a tire on lap 123, to finish second in the Pennsylvania 500. Besides Busch, Earnhardt Jr. was the only driver to lead more than five laps in the 200-mile race. Watkins Glen could play a role in whether or not Dale Jr. makes "The Chase." In seven starts at The Glen, Junior has captured three top 10s and has led 13 laps.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 17.6
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

8. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth slipped two positions in the rankings after posting the 13th-best average driver rating in the Pennsylvania 500. This weekend he will make his eighth start at Watkins Glen where he has not finished inside the top 15 in his last two starts.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 17.4
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

9. Jeff Burton: The good news is Burton moved up one slot in the rankings with his 11th-place finish at Pocono. The bad news is Watkins Glen is his worst track based on finishing average.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 19.8
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

10. Carl Edwards: Edwards never really recovered from an unscheduled pit stop early on in the Pennsylvania 500 and went on to finish 21st. The finish dropped him one position in the rankings. With Kevin Harvick closing in on Edwards for the 10th slot, Edwards will need to back up his fifth-place finish of one year ago at Watkins Glen.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 12.0
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

Power Mover

Ryan Newman: Newman recovered from his worst finish of the season with a seventh-place finish in the Pennsylvania 500. Newman, who is now 90 points out of "The Chase," will look to gain more ground at Watkins Glen where he has three top 10s in five starts.

Watkins Glen Finishing Average: 15.0
Watkins Glen Wins: 0

www.racingone.com

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Ambrose to drive Cup car for Robby Gordon
FOXSports.com

Robby Gordon will exact his revenge at Watkins Glen this weekend.

Not only will Gordon be racing the No. 7 Ford, the team owner will field a second car — the No. 77 — for Busch Series regular Marcos Ambrose, who he fiercely battled in the closing laps of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday.

"Marcos did a helluva job," Gordon said. "He led a lot of laps on Saturday. It will be great to have him as my teammate."

Ambrose, who drives the No. 59 Kingsford Ford for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, qualified fifth and led the most laps before Gordon spun him out with two laps remaining in the event. Ambrose finished seventh and is currently eighth in the Busch Series point standings.

If he qualifies for the race, Sunday will mark the Nextel Cup debut for the 30-year-old Launceston, Tasmania native who began his career in NASCAR with the Wood Brothers last season.

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Patrick Carpentier to Drive for Valvoline Evernham Racing at Watkins Glen

In an effort to move closer to securing a top-35 position in owner's points, Valvoline Evernham Racing has reached a one race agreement with Patrick Carpentier to drive the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge in this weekend's Nextel Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.

Carpentier recently made his first NASCAR start in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The road course veteran proved to be a quick learner as he won the pole for the event, led 14 laps and finished an impressive second. Carpentier has competed in CART, IRL, CASCAR, and Grand-Am series with much success. Now just one week after his Busch Series debut, Carpentier will make his Nextel Cup debut in the No. 10 Dodge Avenger. Valvoline Evernham Racing currently sits in 37th position in Nextel Cup Owners Points, 134 points out of the crucial top 35 cutoff.

"We look forward to having Patrick Carpentier behind the wheel of the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen," said Jim Rocco, Team Owner of Valvoline Evernham Racing. "Carpentier turned a lot of heads with his strong run in Montreal last weekend. This Valvoline Evernham Racing team is focused on doing everything we can to make races, and we have made twelve so far while outside the top 35. As part of those efforts, we believe that Patrick can place Valvoline Evernham Racing in a good position leaving Watkins Glen in order to help Scott Riggs make a run to the top 35 in points by the end of the season."

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NASCAR NNCS (THE GLEN) - PRE-RACE ADVANCE

Watkins Glen International might be the reason Tony Stewart has become known as a “dog days of summer” driver.

He “owns” the upstate New York road course, with three wins and one runner-up finish in the past five races.

In 2005, he put on one of the more impressive performances in NASCAR history, leading 83 of the 92 laps.

His statistics over the past two years there are equally dominant: • 90 laps led • 2.5 Average Running Position • 140.1 Driver Rating (with a perfect 150.0 in 2005) • 53 Fastest Laps Run • 182 of 182 Laps in the Top 15

Stewart notwithstanding, the story may shift to the battle for 12th place this Sunday. Kurt Busch moved into the top 12 with his win in the Pennsylvania 500. He now has a seven-point cushion over Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt has not performed well recently at Watkins Glen, except for a third-place finish in 2004. Busch has fared better over the last two years at the Glen, earning a Driver Rating of 96.4.

Kevin Harvick returns as the defending champion of the event. He fell to ninth in the standings after a 17th-place finish at Pocono, so Watkins Glen will be a welcome stop for Harvick. He led 28 laps in last year’s win and has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four Watkins Glen races.

Selected Driver Highlights Note: All driver stats are from Watkins Glen International. NASCAR’s scoring loops began collecting data for statistical purposes in 2005. Thus, Loop Data statistics in this release cover the last two races at Watkins Glen.

Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Light Dodge) • One top 10; one poles • Average finish of 25.0 • Driver Rating of 96.4, ninth-best • 26 Fastest Laps Run, second-most • 10th-fastest Green Flag Speed • 92 Laps in the Top 15, 10th-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) • Four wins, six top fives, seven top 10s • Two poles • Driver Rating of 96.5, ninth-best • Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best • Three Fastest Laps Run, tied for seventh-most • 108 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most • Fifth-fastest Green Flag Speed • 106 Laps in the Top 15, ninth-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet) • One top 10 • Average finish of 10.0 • Average Running Position of 11.2, fifth-best • Driver Rating of 100.3, tied for sixth-best • Ninth-fastest Green Flag Speed • 75% of his laps were in the top 15, fourth-highest percentage of any driver • 28 Quality Passes, third-best average per race

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet) • One win, two top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 8.0 • Average Running Position of 11.6, seventh-best • Driver Rating of 106.5, fourth-best • Five Fastest Laps Run, tied for fifth-most • Third-fastest Green Flag Speed • 136 Laps in the Top 15, fourth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) • Two top fives • Average finish of 16.4 • Average Running Position of 8.7, third-best • Driver Rating of 101.2, fifth-best • Seventh-fastest Green Flag Speed • 147 Laps in the Top 15, third-most

Jamie McMurray (No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford) • One top five • 12.8 average finish • Average Running Position of 12.3, seventh-best • Driver Rating of 100.3, tied for sixth-best • Sixth-fastest Green Flag Speed • 120 Laps in the Top 15, seventh-most

Boris Said (No. 60 SoBe No Fear Ford) • One top five, two top 10s • 22.7 average finish • Average Running Position of 14.3, ninth-best • Driver Rating of 86.9, 10th-best • Nine Fastest Laps Run, third-most • 121 Laps in the Top 15, sixth-most

Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) • Three wins, four top fives, six top 10s • Average finish of 6.8 • Series-best Average Running Position of 2.5 • Series-best Driver Rating of 140.1 • Series-high 53 Fastest Laps Run • Fastest Green Flag Speed • Series-high 182 Laps in the Top 15

At Watkins Glen International: • There have been 24 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Watkins Glen International since the first race there in 1957. Races were run in 1957, 1964 and 1965. The series returned there in 1987 and there has been one race a year since. • Buck Baker won the first Bud Pole and race at Watkins Glen. • Tim Richmond won the first Bud Pole and race at Watkins Glen upon the series’ return in 1987. • There have been 14 different Bud Pole winners at Watkins Glen. Qualifying has been canceled four times, including back-to-back years in 2004 and 2005. • Fifteen different drivers have won races at Watkins Glen, led by Jeff Gordon (four). • NASCAR returned to the Glen in 1964 and 1965 with Billy Wade and Marvin Panch claiming victories. • The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has run one race a year at Watkins Glen International since 1986. • The NASCAR Busch Series held its first race at the Glen in 1991 with Terry Labonte claiming the checkered flag. • The first combination weekend at Watkins Glen International for NASCAR’s top series was a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in 1998. • Jeff Gordon set the all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup record for road-course victories with his victory at WGI in 2001, his seventh on a road course. • Michael Waltrip is the only driver that has competed in the 21 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races since the series returned in 1986. • Rick Hendrick has won six races at Watkins Glen – more than any other car owner. • Seventeen of 24 races at Watkins Glen have been won from a top-10 starting position. • The race winner has started from the Bud Pole eight times, the most-productive starting position. • The deepest in the field that a Watkins Glen race winner has started was 18th by Steve Park in 2001. • The race winner has started first in eight of 24 races at Watkins Glen. Mark Martin leads all other drivers with wins from the Bud Pole with three in a row between 1993 and 1995. Fourteen of the 24 race winners have started from the top-three starting positions.

Driver Rating at Watkins Glen Tony Stewart 140.1 Robby Gordon 116.0 Kevin Harvick 108.2 Jimmie Johnson 106.5 Denny Hamlin 101.2 Jamie McMurray 100.3 Scott Pruett 100.3 Jeff Gordon 98.7 Kurt Busch 96.5 Boris Said 96.4 Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005 and 2006 races (2 total) at Watkins Glen.

Watkins Glen International Data

Race #: 22 of 36 (8-12-07) Track Size: 2.45 mile Race Length: 90 laps

Qualifying/Race Data 2006 pole winner: Kurt Busch (122.966 mph, 71.727 seconds) 2006 race winner: Kevin Harvick, 76.718 mph) Track qualifying record: Jeff Gordon (124.580 mph, 70.798 seconds, 8-8-03) Track race record: Mark Martin (103.300 mph, 8-13-95)

Estimated Pit Window: Every 30-32 laps, based on fuel mileage

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Centurion Boats at the Glen - Odds to Win

Jeff Gordon 9-2 
 
Tony Stewart 9-2 
 
Juan Pablo Montoya 5-1 
 
Kevin Harvick 10-1 
 
Kurt Busch 12-1 
 
Robby Gordon 15-1 
 
Boris Said 20-1 
 
Ron Fellows 20-1 
 
Jamie McMurray 20-1 
 
Ryan Newman 20-1 
 
Denny Hamlin 20-1 
 
Jimmie Johnson 20-1 
 
Jeff Burton 30-1 
 
Kyle Busch 30-1 
 
Carl Edwards 30-1 
 
Clint Bowyer 30-1 
 
Dale Earnhardt Jr 30-1 
 
Martin Truex Jr 30-1 
 
Ricky Rudd 40-1 
 
Casey Mears 40-1 
 
Patrick Carpentier 50-1 
 
Matt Kenseth 50-1 
 
Greg Biffle 50-1 
 
PJ Jones 75-1 
 
Elliott Sadler 75-1 
 
Bobby Labonte 100-1 
 
Brian Simo 100-1 
 
Kasey Kahne 100-1 
 
Terry Labonte 100-1 
 
Reed Sorenson 100-1 
 
David Stremme 100-1 
 
Dave Blaney 100-1 
 
JJ Yeley 100-1 
 
Field (Any Other Driver) 30-1 
 
[img]http://www.sportsbook.com/images/top-sp … k-logo.gif[/img]

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Centurion Boats at the Glen PreQ    
       
As we stated a few weeks ago once Tony Stewart gets hot he usually stays hot. He didn’t quite make it three in a row settling for a 6th place finish at Pocono last weekend. The top 10 was his third in a row and sixth out of the last eight races. Stewart now heads to a Watkins Glen International, the second road course race in the series, where he has dominated in his career. He has won three of the last five races at the track with a runner-up finish to boot. The #20 Home Depot Chevrolet is considered to be the favorite early in the week and it is more than likely he will remain atop the PostQ forecast later this week. Jump on the Stewart bandwagon.

While not quite as good as Stewart on the road courses Kevin Harvick still has plenty of confidence to get to victory lane when it comes to turning both left and right. Harvick is the defending race winner while also finishing 2nd earlier this season at Infineon. The #29 Shell Chevrolet has been running well in the last few weeks but is losing ground to those ahead of him in the Chase for the Championship. Harvick is in need of a good run and the trip to the Glen should bode well for him and his team.

As always fantasy players will have to take into consideration those ‘road course specialists’ that come around the two times per season. The big name to watch is Boris Said who usually runs in the top 10 as he taught a lot of the current fulltime drivers how to race the road courses. He should run well once again. Another name to consider is Ron Fellows. Fellows did not run in the first road course races this season but was signed on to drive the #96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet. Fellows finished 11th in his lone start last season driving the #96 car and has a good chance to have a solid run once again. Others to keep an eye on are Brian Simo driving the #37 Dodge, Klaus Graf driving the #49 Dodge, and Patrick Carpentier driving for Scott Riggs in the #10 Dodge.

The battle for the final position to make the Chase for the Championship is heating up with Kurt Busch surpassing Dale Earnhardt Jr. but a few points after the drivers finished 1-2 last weekend at Pocono. Busch, however, may give the spot back to Junior sooner rather than later as Busch has had his problems at the Glen in his career. In six starts he has a top finish of 10th place with three finishes coming outside the top 20 to average a 25th place finish. It will be an intense battle among the drivers fighting to make the Chase and anything can happen, which usually does, when it comes to road course racing.

Greg Biffle still has an outside shot at making the Chase for the Championship. That’s the good news; the bad news is that the Glen is one of his worst tracks. In four starts at the track Biffle has never finished better than 30th place with an average finish of 35th place. He does run well at Infineon which is somewhat of a surprise since he has finished in the top 15 in each of the last four races there. The Glen, however, has given him fits and he is a driver we recommend to avoid this weekend.

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Centurion Boats at the Glen Preview

2006 Finish

Defending champion: Kevin Harvick

Runner up: Tony Stewart

Pole winner: Kurt Busch (122.966 m.p.h.)

Top 10:

1. Kevin Harvick (Start: 7)

2. Tony Stewart (8)

3. Jamie McMurray (24)

4. Robby Gordon (6)

5. Carl Edwards (21)

6. Scott Pruett (13)

7. Elliott Sadler (12)

8. Ryan Newman (3)

9. Kyle Busch (9)

10. Denny Hamlin (10)

Average speed: 76,718 m.p.h.

Time of race: 2 hours, 52 minutes, 27 seconds

Margin of victory: 0.892 second

Caution flags: 10 for 22 laps

Lead changes: 14 among 11 drivers 

Notes

Last year, Kevin Harvick won for the seventh time in his career, as he clipped Tony Stewart at the finish line. Harvick, who reclaimed the lead on lap 87 of the 90-lap event, took the checkered flag, 0.892 of a second ahead of Stewart. Harvick, who started in the seventh spot on the grid, led twice for a total of 28 laps, while pole sitter Kurt Busch, who placed 19th, led for a race-high 38 laps.

Watkins Glen International has hosted this race since 1986. Watkins Glen hosted its first NASCAR race in August 1957, the sixth road-course event for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. It was a 101.2-mile, 44-lap contest for a field of 20. Veteran Buck Baker won the pole with a speed of 87.064 m.p.h. There are a number of changes to Watkins Glen's 2.45-mile venue that will be new to NASCAR Nextel Cup competition. The changes include: The Turn 1 runoff, which was elevated approximately four feet and paved, New competition curbing through the course, New conveyer-belt wrapping around tire barriers, Moved guardrails back from the racing surface, particularly in the "S's," Turns 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, Added catch fencing throughout the course, particularly in Turn 11 and Paved the Turn 11 runoff. The Glen can be considered the superspeedway of all road courses. It features long straightaways, corners with a lot of banking and its configuration allows the drivers to attain high speeds. A driver also has plenty of opportunities to pass.

In 2005, Tony Stewart crossed the finish line 1.927 seconds ahead of runner-up Robby Gordon for his fifth win of the season and 24th of his Cup career. Stewart, who now totals 31 career titles, led for 83 laps, including the final 34 in front of an estimated crown of 85,000.

In 2004, Stewart battled stomach cramps and leg cramps as well as 42 drivers, but hung tough and crossed the finish line, 1.517 seconds ahead of runner-up Ron Fellows. Fellows had started last and charged all the way through the field, but couldn't catch Stewart despite making a concerted effort over the race's final 13 laps. Stewart has three wins and six top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen.

Jeff Gordon has dominated this race, winning four times in the last 10 years, however he has failed to crack the top-10 since 2001. Gordon won this race three consecutive seasons from 1997-99. Chevrolet has won nine of the last 10 events at this track, while Ford won four straight before the Chevy streak.

Juan Pablo Montoya will seek to make NASCAR Nextel Cup Series history this Sunday at Watkins Glen International by becoming the first driver to win on three road courses in the same season. Earlier this year, Montoya won road- course events in the NASCAR Busch Series (Mexico City) and in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (Infineon), becoming only the third NASCAR driver to ever post two road-course wins in different series in the same year. Ernie Irvan in 1992 at Infineon, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series; Watkins Glen, NASCAR Busch Series; and Darrell Waltrip in 1986 at Riverside, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series; Road Atlanta, NASCAR Busch Series have also accomplished that feat.

The next event in the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship is at the Michigan International Speedway on August 19th for the 3M Performance 400, as Kasey Kahne defends his title. Kahne won from the pole a year ago, as he captured the fourth of his series-high six wins.

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NASCAR NNCS (THE GLEN) - PRE-RACE ADVANCE

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Wrigley’s Big Red Dodge) will look to make NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series history this Sunday at Watkins Glen International by becoming the first driver to win on three road courses in the same season. Earlier this year, Montoya won road-course events in the NASCAR Busch Series (Mexico City) and in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (Infineon), becoming only the third NASCAR driver to ever post two road-course wins in different series in the same year. Ernie Irvan in 1992 at Infineon, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series; Watkins Glen, NASCAR Busch Series; and Darrell Waltrip in 1986 at Riverside, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series; Road Atlanta, NASCAR Busch Series have also accomplished that feat.

Montoya participated in the NASCAR teleconference on Tuesday and says he’s looking forward to the task ahead.

“I think it’s going to be pretty exciting. I think we have been having a good season lately. The last few races we have been getting better. We have been getting very good results. I think it should be exciting. We actually are driving the Wrigley’s Big Red car in both races, the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”

For the complete transcript of this week’s teleconference, go to NASCARMedia.com.

Race To The Chase, Round 6: Busch’s Win Elevates Him To 12th

Kurt Busch’s (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) dominant win at Pocono last Sunday has elevated him to 12th place in the standings, seven points ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet). Busch delivered a perfect (150.0) Driver Rating at Pocono and also set a track record by leading 174 laps. Over the last eight races, Busch has picked up five spots and 95 points to move into 12th place. Following the race at Dover and a subsequent penalty that cost him 100 points, Busch had fallen to 17th place, 88 points behind Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. had been in the top 12 for six straight weeks and seven overall this season before slipping out last week at Pocono, despite a season-best second-place finish.

Ryan Newman (No. 12 Kodak Dodge) finished seventh at Pocono and is currently 14th-place, 90 points behind teammate Kurt Busch. Mark Martin (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet), who is driving a limited schedule this year, is 15th and 216 points out of 12th, while Greg Biffle (No. 16 Dish Network Ford) is 16th and likewise 216 points behind Busch.

Race To The Chase Reaches Halfway Point

This week’s event at Watkins Glen marks the halfway point in the Race to the Chase. And with just five races remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the drama and competition is only thickening as the battle for seeding order and the 12th and final position takes shape.

A new wrinkle in this year’s Chase format is that the top 12 drivers in the standings qualify for the Chase and have their point totals ‘reset” to 5,000. They then will have bonus points – 10 per victory – applied. Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) continues as the leader and would be seeded first in the Chase following Pocono. Gordon and teammate Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) share the series lead with four victories each this year, but Gordon would get the top seed. Seeding ties are broken by the comparison of drivers’ best finishes beyond victories. Johnson would jump from seventh to second because of the seeding process.

Kurt Busch’s win last week at Pocono was his first of the year and would enable him to climb from the 12th seed to the 10th seed with the new format that places a premium on winning.

Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart Have Successful Track Records At The Glen

Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) have combined for six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championships and between the two, have claimed seven wins, 10 top-fives and 13 top-10s at Watkins Glen.

Gordon leads all current drivers with four trips to Victory Lane at The Glen. Stewart has practically owned this road course over the past five years, with three wins and one runner-up finish during that time. In 2005, he put on one of the more impressive performances in NASCAR history, leading 83 of the 92 laps en route to victory.

Of the two drivers battling for the 12th position in the Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds an edge over Kurt Busch in performing at The Glen. In seven career starts there, Earnhardt.has posted two top-fives, three top-10s and one DNF here. His average finish is 17.6. Busch has six starts, one top-10, one pole and two DNFs at The Glen. His average finish is 25.0.

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet) is the defending champion of this race. Harvick came on strong towards the end of last year’s event, overtaking Tony Stewart on Lap 87 to post the win by .892 seconds.

More on Montoya – As mentioned earlier, no NASCAR driver has ever won three national road course events in the same season. Both of Montoya’s victories this year were career firsts– his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win at Infineon and his first NASCAR Busch Series victory at Mexico City. Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula One star, finished second two weeks ago at Indianapolis and 16th last week at Pocono – both flat, 2.5-mile tracks with road course characteristics. Montoya didn’t participate in last Saturday’s inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event at Montreal, another road course race, but he is entered in Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series’ ZIPPO 200 at Watkins Glen.

Car Of Tomorrow Back On The Track This Weekend; So Are Road-Course Specialists

NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow returns to the race track this weekend at Watkins Glen. It marks the ninth of 16 events that the new car will be featured this season. Beginning in 2008, the new car will run the entire NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule.

• The Car of Tomorrow is the culmination of a seven-year project undertaken at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Important safety innovations, better competition and cost containment opportunities for the teams are the primary goals of the new car. Through its first eight races in 2007, the new car has lived up to its projected goals and more. Excluding the races at Dover and Infineon, the average margin of victory in the other six Car of Tomorrow races has been just .4325 seconds. Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) was dominant at Dover, winning by 7.355 seconds, while Montoya’s margin of victory at Infineon was 4.097 seconds.

• The new car has quickly demonstrated its flexibility and versatility in allowing teams to compete with the same car at a variety of venues without having to build track specific cars. Seven teams have run the same car in four of the eight COT races; three teams have run the same car in five of the eight races; two teams have run the same car in six of the eight races, and one team – the No. 29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick – has run the same car in seven of the eight COT races.

• The new car has proven to be extremely durable, as well. There have been just 35 cars that haven’t finished the eight COT races. In those same eight races in 2006, there were 49 DNFs.

• Watkins Glen always brings out road course specialists and this weekend is no exception. Entered to compete this weekend are P.J. Jones, who will drive for David Reutimann in the No. 00 Burger King Toyota; Patrick Carpentier, who finished second at last week’s NASCAR Busch Series race in his hometown of Montreal, and will sub for Scott Riggs in the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge; and Ron Fellows, another Canadian, will be stepping in for Tony Raines and driving the No. 96 DLP/HDTV Chevrolet. Other road course specialists expected to participate include Boris Said (No. 60 No Fear Energy Ford); Brian Simo (No. 37 Dodge); and Klaus Graf (No. 49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge).
Keys To Victory

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International this week for a 90 lap/220.5-mile road course event. Here are some keys to look for:

• The Glen can be considered the superspeedway of all road courses. It features long straightaways, corners with a lot of banking and its configuration allows the drivers to attain high speeds. A driver also has plenty of opportunities to pass.

• Pit stops are configured differently at The Glen and are in a sense, flip-flopped from normal pit stops. The gas filler is on the opposite (passenger) side of the car. The tire changer and gas man have to run in the opposite direction to service the car during a pit stop at this road course.

• Sunday will be the ninth Car of Tomorrow race of the year. The previous eight races have been competitive, with many close finishes. The road course event at Infineon earlier this summer was likewise a Car of Tomorrow race and provided good drama and good racing down the stretch. Expect much of the same Sunday at The Glen.

In The Loop: Watkins Glen A Good Match For Stewart

Watkins Glen International has treated Tony Stewart extremely well over the Indiana native’s eight-year career.

Stewart has made eight starts at the upstate New York road course and has finished on the lead lap in all eight of them. He has three wins there, four top fives and six top 10s. He’s finished out of the top 15 there only once – a 26th-place finish in 2001. Stewart dominated there in 2005, leading 83 of 92 laps and earning a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0. He finished second to Kevin Harvick last year.

Over the past two years, Stewart has a Driver Rating of 140.1 (best of any driver), an Average Running Position of 2.5 (best of any driver), 53 Fastest Laps Run (best of any driver) and is the only driver to run all 182 laps in the top 15.

Robby Gordon (No. 7 Jim Beam Ford) is another driver to watch at The Glen. Gordon’s last win came there in 2003 and overall he has six top-five finishes in eight races. He finished second there in 2005 and fourth last season, earning some of the best stats on the circuit over the past two years at The Glen. Gordon has the second best Driver Rating (116.0), the second-best Average Running Position (8.4), the second-fastest Green Flag Speed and the second-most Laps in the Top 15 (150).

Harvick will attempt to join Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Stewart as the only driver to win consecutive races at Watkins Glen. Harvick has four top-10 finishes in six starts and over the past two years has racked up some strong statistics. He has a Driver Rating of 106.5 (third best), an Average Running Position of 11.6 (fifth best), the third fastest Green Flag Speed and 136 Laps in the Top 15 (fourth most).

NNCS, Etc. … • Raybestos Rookie of the Year Update • Return Visit To Michigan International Speedway On Tap • Manufacturers Championship: Chevrolet still holds the lead • Podcasts: Upstate New York Crew Chief Native Ryan Pemberton Featured

Raybestos Rookie Update: Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) continues to lead the Raybestos Rookie standings. Montoya was the highest finishing rookie at Pocono (16th) last weekend. He currently holds a 26-point lead over David Ragan (No. 6 AAA Ford).

Paul Menard (No. 15 Menards Chevrolet) is third with 151 points, while David Reutimann (No. 00 Burger King Toyota) is fourth and A.J. Allmendinger (No. 84 Red Bull Toyota) is fifth.

On Deck: Michigan International Speedway Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) is the defending race champion of next week’s 3M Performance 400, which will be the seventh event in the Race to the Chase.

Kahne won from the pole a year ago and it marked the fourth of his series-high six victories in 2006.

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NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series News & Notes - Watkins Glen
Aug 8, 2007

Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart Have Successful Track Records At The Glen

Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) have combined for six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championships and between the two, have claimed seven wins, 10 top-fives and 13 top-10s at Watkins Glen.

Gordon leads all current drivers with four trips to Victory Lane at The Glen. Stewart has practically owned this road course over the past five years, with three wins and one runner-up finish during that time. In 2005, he put on one of the more impressive performances in NASCAR history, leading 83 of the 92 laps en route to victory.

Of the two drivers battling for the 12th position in the Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds an edge over Kurt Busch in performing at The Glen. In seven career starts there, Earnhardt.has posted two top-fives, three top-10s and one DNF here. His average finish is 17.6. Busch has six starts, one top-10, one pole and two DNFs at The Glen. His average finish is 25.0.

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet) is the defending champion of this race. Harvick came on strong towards the end of last year’s event, overtaking Tony Stewart on Lap 87 to post the win by .892 seconds.

More on Montoya – As mentioned earlier, no NASCAR driver has ever won three national road course events in the same season. Both of Montoya’s victories this year were career firsts– his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win at Infineon and his first NASCAR Busch Series victory at Mexico City. Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and Formula One star, finished second two weeks ago at Indianapolis and 16th last week at Pocono – both flat, 2.5-mile tracks with road course characteristics. Montoya didn’t participate in last Saturday’s inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event at Montreal, another road course race, but he is entered in Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series’ ZIPPO 200 at Watkins Glen.

Car Of Tomorrow Back On The Track This Weekend; So Are Road-Course Specialists

NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow returns to the race track this weekend at Watkins Glen. It marks the ninth of 16 events that the new car will be featured this season. Beginning in 2008, the new car will run the entire NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule.

• The Car of Tomorrow is the culmination of a seven-year project undertaken at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Important safety innovations, better competition and cost containment opportunities for the teams are the primary goals of the new car. Through its first eight races in 2007, the new car has lived up to its projected goals and more. Excluding the races at Dover and Infineon, the average margin of victory in the other six Car of Tomorrow races has been just .4325 seconds. Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) was dominant at Dover, winning by 7.355 seconds, while Montoya’s margin of victory at Infineon was 4.097 seconds.

• The new car has quickly demonstrated its flexibility and versatility in allowing teams to compete with the same car at a variety of venues without having to build track specific cars. Seven teams have run the same car in four of the eight COT races; three teams have run the same car in five of the eight races; two teams have run the same car in six of the eight races, and one team – the No. 29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick – has run the same car in seven of the eight COT races.

• The new car has proven to be extremely durable, as well. There have been just 35 cars that haven’t finished the eight COT races. In those same eight races in 2006, there were 49 DNFs.

• Watkins Glen always brings out road course specialists and this weekend is no exception. Entered to compete this weekend are P.J. Jones, who will drive for David Reutimann in the No. 00 Burger King Toyota; Patrick Carpentier, who finished second at last week’s NASCAR Busch Series race in his hometown of Montreal, and will sub for Scott Riggs in the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge; and Ron Fellows, another Canadian, will be stepping in for Tony Raines and driving the No. 96 DLP/HDTV Chevrolet. Other road course specialists expected to participate include Boris Said (No. 60 No Fear Energy Ford); Brian Simo (No. 37 Dodge); and Klaus Graf (No. 49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge).

Keys To Victory

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International this week for a 90 lap/220.5-mile road course event. Here are some keys to look for:

• The Glen can be considered the superspeedway of all road courses. It features long straightaways, corners with a lot of banking and its configuration allows the drivers to attain high speeds. A driver also has plenty of opportunities to pass.

• Pit stops are configured differently at The Glen and are in a sense, flip-flopped from normal pit stops. The gas filler is on the opposite (passenger) side of the car. The tire changer and gas man have to run in the opposite direction to service the car during a pit stop at this road course.

• Sunday will be the ninth Car of Tomorrow race of the year. The previous eight races have been competitive, with many close finishes. The road course event at Infineon earlier this summer was likewise a Car of Tomorrow race and provided good drama and good racing down the stretch. Expect much of the same Sunday at The Glen.

In The Loop: Watkins Glen A Good Match For Stewart

Watkins Glen International has treated Tony Stewart extremely well over the Indiana native’s eight-year career.

Stewart has made eight starts at the upstate New York road course and has finished on the lead lap in all eight of them. He has three wins there, four top fives and six top 10s. He’s finished out of the top 15 there only once – a 26th-place finish in 2001. Stewart dominated there in 2005, leading 83 of 92 laps and earning a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0. He finished second to Kevin Harvick last year.

Over the past two years, Stewart has a Driver Rating of 140.1 (best of any driver), an Average Running Position of 2.5 (best of any driver), 53 Fastest Laps Run (best of any driver) and is the only driver to run all 182 laps in the top 15.

Robby Gordon (No. 7 Jim Beam Ford) is another driver to watch at The Glen. Gordon’s last win came there in 2003 and overall he has six top-five finishes in eight races. He finished second there in 2005 and fourth last season, earning some of the best stats on the circuit over the past two years at The Glen. Gordon has the second best Driver Rating (116.0), the second-best Average Running Position (8.4), the second-fastest Green Flag Speed and the second-most Laps in the Top 15 (150).

Harvick will attempt to join Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Stewart as the only driver to win consecutive races at Watkins Glen. Harvick has four top-10 finishes in six starts and over the past two years has racked up some strong statistics. He has a Driver Rating of 106.5 (third best), an Average Running Position of 11.6 (fifth best), the third fastest Green Flag Speed and 136 Laps in the Top 15 (fourth most).

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Matt McLaughlin's Driver Handicaps : Watkins Glen Edition

2007 Watkins Glen Handicaps

Jeff Gordon – Gordon is one of the better NASCAR road racers. While he has four wins at the Glen, oddly enough he hasn’t had a Top 10 finish here in five races – he’s finished outside the Top 20 in three of those events. But don’t be fooled; Gordon also has five wins at Sonoma, and could easily break out of his road race slump here.

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin finished 10th at Watkins Glen last year and 10th at Sonoma earlier this year. He won last year’s Busch Series race in Mexico on a road course.

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth has three Top 10 finishes in seven starts at the Glen with a best result of eighth. He runs much better here than at Sonoma.

Jeff Burton – Burton finished second here in 2001 and third in 2000, but five finishes outside the Top 25 leave his average finish here a lowly 20th.

Tony Stewart – Stewart gets around this joint pretty well. He won here in 2002, 2004, and 2005 and finished second at the Glen last year. Fans may recall one bizarre win here where Stewart skipped Victory Circle having beshat himself during the race – teaching us all that you don’t lose points for doing it, just saying it.

Carl Edwards – Edwards finished sixth and fifth on the road courses in 2006, with his better effort scored here at Watkins Glen.

Kevin Harvick – Hey, look who can road race! Harvick won at the Glen last year and finished second at Sonoma earlier this year.

Kyle Busch – Busch struggled mightily with this whole turning right thing – just as he struggles with acting right – but he did manage a ninth place finish in this race last year and an eighth place result at Sonoma this year.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has two Top 5 finishes in five starts at the Glen, but his average finish here remains 16th.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer failed to impress on the road courses last year, but rebounded nicely with a fourth place finish at Sonoma this year.

Martin Truex, Jr. – “The other Junior” has started three road course races in the Cup Series and has failed to finish better than 15th.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – While Junior has won at the Glen in the Busch Series, his Cup results here are wildly erratic. He has two Top 5 finishes and one additional Top 10, but his average finish is just 18th.

Kurt Busch – While Busch qualifies well here – he took the pole at the Glen last year and has qualified in the Top 10 for the last five races here – he’s failed to capitalize. His average finish here is a lowly 25th.

Ryan Newman – Newman stunned a lot of folks finishing second here as a rookie in 2002. He has three Top 10 finishes in five Cup starts at the Glen, and also finished second at Sonoma last year.

Jamie McMurray – After four hapless runs at the Glen, McMurray did finish third here last year.

Greg Biffle – Biffle has yet to finish better than 30th here in four Cup runs at the Glen. Oddly enough, he has two Top 5 finishes in the last two Sonoma races.

Mark Martin – Before they invented Jeff Gordon, Martin was considered the premiere road course driver in the series. A past winner of three consecutive races at the Glen, he has 12 Top 5 finishes and 16 Top 10s in 19 Cup starts here, with an average finish of seventh.

Juan Pablo Montoya – Montoya won at Sonoma a couple months ago and won the Mexican Busch race – in very controversial style – in March of this year. He has vast experience on the road courses, and as such, must be considered a favorite this weekend.

Casey Mears – In nine Cup starts on the road course, Mears has finished 20th or worse seven times. He did finish fourth at the Glen and seventh at Sonoma back in 2004.

Bobby Labonte – Labonte has Top 10 finishes in six of his 14 Cup starts at the Glen, but he’s missed the Top 10 in the last five races here.

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Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

Fantasy Picks 'N' Pans : Watkins Glen Edition

While Kurt Busch put on a clinic last weekend at Pocono, the rest of the Chase hopefuls put in good finishes to accentuate the point of why they are the best of the best. With all 14 main Chase contenders finishing in the Top 17, it wasn’t hard to put up a good fantasy number last weekend. But this week’s Centurion Boats at the Glen will likely be a different story. Road course racing isn’t for everyone, with a few key drivers normally stealing the show. However, crazy things can happen when you’re going left and right on the Nextel Cup circuit, and sometimes an unexpected hero can emerge. So, which drivers have we selected to make you look like a Fantasy King or Queen this week? Read this week’s Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans to find out.

Cami’s Race Rewind:

Kevin Harvick scored his first road course victory and second win of 2006 in last year’s AMD at the Glen. Harvick led 28 laps during the race, including the final three after passing old friend, and sometimes foe, Tony Stewart. When the race restarted with just five laps to go, Stewart, who was looking for his third straight win at the Glen, made his way by Harvick for the lead, but it didn’t last long and Harvick sailed to victory. Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, and Carl Edwards rounded out the Top 5. Halfway through the event, Kurt Busch looked to be on his way to completing the Watkins Glen weekend sweep – but a miscommunication on pit road cost him his shot at winning. Busch was called into the pits just seconds before they were opened, and the resulting penalty from NASCAR put him at the back of the pack. After battling to make up lost ground, Busch, who led a race high 38 laps, made contact with Matt Kenseth and ended the day in 19th.

Mike’s Keys to the Race:

Watkins Glen does not require near the technical driving savvy that Sonoma does, so the possibility of people who are average road course racers coming home with a quality finish is far higher in New York than it is in California. With the CoT making its debut at the track, the cream will still rise to the top, and the usual list of suspects will be near the front. Jeff Gordon is the king of the road, so you can never discount him. Tony Stewart has been on fire at the Glen, winning three of the last five races there. Defending champ Kevin Harvick should also be a factor, and don’t count out DEI – their CoT program is strong, and either of their top two drivers could sneak into a Top 5 finish.

Mike’s Picks:

Crank ‘Em Up:


Jeff Gordon is THE man on road courses in NASCAR. He may have not won at Watkins Glen in five years – without a Top 10 finish during that same time period – but there is no way to discount the best road course racer in the series. Expect Gordon to run up front all day and bring home a solid Top 5 finish this weekend to lock him into the Chase.

Juan Pablo Montoya has raced in two road course races this year in stock cars, and he has won both of them – pretty heady statistics if you get right down to it. True, he has never raced at Watkins Glen and the course isn’t as demanding as Sonoma, but Montoya is the best road racing driver in the series right now. Expect him to be near the front by the end of the day and come home with a sure Top 5, if not a win.

Sit ‘Em Down:

J.J. Yeley just found out that he will not be back in his ride next year; that’s not exactly the news you want to hear to turn the corner at a track where your one career finish was 33rd. Yeley is certainly not in the right frame of mind to put on much of a performance on a road course this weekend. This is probably the worst possible time to run Yeley in a race; just let him get his feet back under him for now and consider him later in the year.

Elliott Sadler is not that bad of a road course racer; he has an average finish of 21st in seven races at the Glen. However, Evernham Motorsports is still chasing their tail, and their CoT program hasn’t lit the world on fire. With the state of his organization and their overall racing luck this year, Sadler is our Evernham driver of the week to sit.

Roll the Dice:

Robby Gordon needs to win a little cash to help pay for that fine he incurred in the great white North last weekend. Keep in mind Gordon had the car to beat at Sonoma earlier this year, but poor pit strategy cost him a shot at the race win. He’ll be out to make up for that at the Glen on Sunday; look for him to put on a road racing clinic, driving to the front for most of the race. If he can keep his emotions under control, Gordon will bring home a Top 5 finish this weekend.

Cami’s Picks:

Crank ‘Em Up:


After two straight wins, Tony Stewart cooled off a bit at Pocono with a sixth place finish. But this weekend, look for Smoke to make it three out of four with another trip to Victory Lane at Watkins Glen. With three wins and an average finish of 6.8 in eight starts at the track, Stewart has to be considered one of the pre-race favorites. The Joe Gibbs Racing CoT program has also been strong this year, which Stewart showed at Sonoma in June when he finished sixth. Last year’s runner-up in this event should be up there mixing it up for the win again this season.

One of the other favorites this weekend is defending race winner Kevin Harvick. Coming off a second place finish at Sonoma earlier this year, Harvick and Co. have a newfound success on the road courses. In six races at Watkins Glen, Harvick has never finished lower than 15th, collecting four Top 10 finishes in the process. He may not be one of the first drivers that spring to mind when you think road course ace…but he should be.

Sit ‘Em Down:

This is one of those hunch calls…but this might be the week to rest Kurt Busch. Granted, he is coming off a big win at Pocono, and led the most laps in the race here last year – but looking at his average finish at Watkins Glen, he might not be worth the risk. In six starts, he has just one Top 10 and an average finish of 25th. Add to that the fact he was 22nd at Sonoma in the CoT earlier this year, and it sounds like a good time to give Busch a break. He has to come back down to earth sometime, right?

Another driver who is likely to struggle this weekend is Greg Biffle. He has had a few solid runs the past two months, only to drop back towards mediocrity with finishes of 15th and 22nd in the last two weeks. The only bright spot for using Biffle is that he was fifth at Sonoma earlier this year. But looking at his results from Watkins Glen – no finish higher than 30th in four starts – he’s just not worth the gamble.

Roll the Dice:

One driver who is worth the gamble this weekend is actually Busch’s teammate, Ryan Newman. Currently 14th in the standings, Newman needs a big weekend to help boost his chances of claiming one of the final spots in the Chase for 2007. He’s run well in the CoT races this year, and even though he finished 20th at Sonoma, Newman has been running well lately over the past two months. With three Top 10s in five Watkins Glen starts, Newman and his Alltel crew should be able to dial in a good finish this weekend.

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Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

Story Ideas - Watkins Glen
Aug 9, 2007

HISTORY-MAKER? MONTOYA AIMING FOR THREE ’07 ROAD-COURSE VICTORIES


As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International for Sunday’s Centurion Boats at the Glen, Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) has the opportunity to become the first driver to win three road-course events in the same season in NASCAR’s top two national series. The former Indianapolis 500 and Formula One star won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series’ first road-course event earlier this season – at Infineon Raceway. He also won the NASCAR Busch Series’ March event on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in Mexico City.

• No driver has won three national series road-course events in the same season – either in one of NASCAR’s top two series or a combination of events in both series. Numerous drivers have won two road-course events in the same season.

• Both 2007 victories were career firsts for Montoya – his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win at Infineon and his first NASCAR Busch Series win at Mexico City.

• Montoya finished second two weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 16th last Sunday at Pocono Raceway – two flat, 2.5-mile tracks with road-course characteristics.

• Montoya didn’t participate in last Saturday’s inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – another road-course event. But he is entered in Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series’ Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen.

• He’s also the current Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings leader.


WATKINS GLEN NEW HOSTS NINTH CAR OF TOMORROW RACE


This Sunday’s Centurion Boats at the Glen marks the return of the Car of Tomorrow – NASCAR’s new-generation race car that will compete fulltime in 2008. The new car last raced July 1 at New Hampshire International Speedway. This week’s visit to the Glen is the second on a road course this season; the car made its road-course debut in June at Infineon Raceway.

• Previous Car of Tomorrow events took place at Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-mile), Martinsville Speedway (.526-mile), Phoenix International Raceway (one mile), Richmond International Raceway (three-quarters of a mile), Darlington Raceway (1.366 miles), Dover International Speedway (one mile), Infineon Raceway (1.99 miles) and New Hampshire (1.058 miles), respectively.

• Watkins Glen presents a longer layout – 2.45 miles – also the new car’s longest distance to date.

• Series competitors will run 16 of this season’s 36 events with the new car.

• A seven-year project of NASCAR’s Research and Development Center, the Car of Tomorrow is the next-generation race vehicle. It incorporates crucial safety innovations, better competition and cost containment opportunities for teams.

• Hendrick Motorsports has won five of the eight previous races with the new car: Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) at Phoenix and Darlington, Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) at Martinsville and Richmond and Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet) at Bristol.

• Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) won at Dover for Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Juan Pablo Montoya, who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, won at Infineon. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet) won at New Hampshire.

ROAD-COURSE SPECIALISTS A GIVEN AT THE GLEN

Road-course events mean the appearance of road-racing specialists – drivers who compete in other series or have extensive road racing backgounds. Sunday’s Centurion Boats at the Glen will feature five drivers who fit that category, and usually are considered NASCAR NEXTEL Cup road-course contenders.

• P.J. Jones will step in for Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate David Reutimann in the No. 00 Burger King Toyota.

• Patrick Carpentier, who finished second in last week’s NASCAR Busch Series event in his hometown of Montreal, will step in for Scott Riggs in the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge. He joins Montoya as a guest on Tuesday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teleconference.

• Veteran road-racer Ron Fellows – another Canadian and Montreal participant – steps in for Tony Raines in the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet.

• Other road-course specialists included Brian Simo in the No. 37 Dodge and Marc Goossens in the No. 91 Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports Toyota.

WEEK SIX: THE “RACE FOR THE CHASE” HEADS FOR WATKINS GLEN

Sunday’s Centurion Boats at the Glen marks the sixth event in the 10-race “Race for the Chase” – the 10-week stretch that shapes the field for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. It began July 1 at New Hampshire and culminates Sept. 8 at Richmond International Raceway. Following the latter event – race No. 26 – the top 12 drivers will compete for the series title during the season’s final 10 events.

• Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon leads the standings. He’s the series’ all-time leader with nine road-course wins. Gordon has four wins at the Glen, plus six top fives and seven top 10s.

• Gordon has led the standings since the season’s fifth event, at Bristol.

• Denny Hamlin remains second in the standings, but gained five points on Gordon following last Sunday’s third-place finish at Pocono (Gordon finished fourth). Hamlin now trails Gordon by 366 points.

• Two other drivers currently in the top 12 have Watkins Glen victories – defending race champion Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet) and two-time series champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet).

• Stewart has three wins at the Glen; he finished second last year behind Harvick, who last week’s NASCAR Busch Series event at Montreal.

• In Loop Data statistics, Stewart leads all drivers with a pre-race Driver Rating of 140.1at the Glen. He leads three other categories – Average Running Position (2.5), Fastest Laps run (53), Fastest Green Flag Speed and Fastest Laps in the Top 15 (182).

BUBBLE WATCH: THE BATTLE FOR 12th PLACE


As teams prepare for the sixth event in the “Race to the Chase,” a major focus remains the competition for the 12th and final Chase-eligible spot. After six weeks in that position, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) was ousted last Sunday by Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). The two finished first and second at Pocono – Busch winning and Earnhardt the runner-up – and swapped spots in the standings.

• Busch had entered the Pocono event trailing Earnhardt by only 13 points. They also started last Sunday’s race first and second – Earnhardt on the Bud Pole and Busch on the outside pole.

• Now, Earnhardt is 13th, only seven points behind Busch. He fell one spot despite last Sunday’s second-place effort at Pocono.

• Busch’s Penske Racing teammate, Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge), remains 14th for the second consecutive week. He trails Busch by 90 points.

• Greg Biffle (No. 16 Wii Ford) is 15th, 216 points behind Busch.

ALL ABOUT WINS: DRIVERS COMPETE FOR CHASE SEEDING

Kurt Busch’s first victory of ’07 makes him the fourteen different winner thus far. It also propelled him into the final eligible position for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup – 12th – and boosts his Chase seeding status: Busch would be seeded 10th if the Chase began now.

• Series leader Jeff Gordon and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson are tied with a series-high four wins each on the season.

• Johnson and Gordon – Hendrick Motorsports teammates – and Tony Stewart are the only multiple winners this season.

• Jeff Burton (No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford), Martin Truex Jr., Casey Mears (No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet), Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), Juan Pablo Montoya and Denny Hamlin are single-event winners this season.

• Beginning in ‘07, drivers receive an extra 10 bonus points for each victory, placing an increased emphasis on winning. Seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup will be done via the number of wins accumulated through the first 26 races rather than incremental point totals, as was the procedure during the Chase’s previous three seasons.

• This year, the driver with the most wins will begin the Chase as the top seed. Drivers will be seeded second through 12th using their to-date win totals as the determining factor. Seeding ties are broken by the comparison of drivers’ best finishes beyond victories

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Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

Montoya rates edge at Watkins Glen
By Johnny Benson

The Car of Tomorrow competes on a road course for the second time on Sunday when the Nextel Cup Series makes a stop at Watkins Glen (N.Y.)International, where Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Juan Pablo Montoya are the drivers with the best shots at winning.

Montoya rates a slight edge with his having won two road-course events this year, one in the Cup Series and one in the Busch Series.

Working in Montoya's favor
Montoya has a very successful history in Formula 1 racing which included significant road- course success. He will be looking to make Nextel Cup Series history on Sunday by becoming the first driver to win on three road courses in the same season.

Earlier this year Montoya won a Busch Series road-course event in Mexico City and a Cup Series road test at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., becoming only the third NASCAR driver to ever post two road-course wins in different series in the same year. The others are Ernie Irvan in 1992 at Infineon in the Cup Series and Watkins Glen in the Busch Series, and Darrell Waltrip in 1986 at Riverside in the Cup Series and Atlanta on the Busch circuit.

At Watkins Glen Montoya will run in both the Busch Series race on Saturday and the Cup event on Sunday. And he'll have some momentum going for him. His season has gotten better of late with finishes of 15th, 2nd, and 16th in his last three races.

Montoya has done well in his first year on the Cup circuit. He's done better than some expected since there were skeptics who didn't see him even lasting out the season in NASCAR. He's got a lot of talent and he's with a top-notch organization in Chip Ganassi Racing.

His lack of experience in stock cars may have hindered his chances a bit, but he's proven to be a quick learner. Montoya's rookie season in Cup racing must be considered a success. He and his team are working hard at gaining consistency.

Other drivers to watch
Gordon, who leads in points, tops the Cup career road-course wins list with nine. Four of those victories have come at Watkins Glen, where he also has two poles, six top-fives and seven top-10s. He has an average start of 7.4, and an average finish of 12.6.

Gordon has done well in his COT races, with an average finish of 3.6 including two of his four wins on this season. The four-time Cup champion will be in the COT chassis that he used to pick up 34 positions en route to a seventh-place finish at Infineon in June.

Gordon has had such a strong season that he makes the Chase by simply starting the five events leading up to the cutoff for qualifying for the 10-race playoff. In fact, if Gordon finishes 12th or better at Watkins Glen, he will clinch a spot in the 12-driver Chase.

If it's not Montoya or Gordon in Victory Lane, the next best bet to pull of that feat is Stewart, a three-time winner at Watkins Glen (2005, 2004, and 2002). Stewart, who has won two of the last three Cup races, is a great road-course racer. He's won five road-course events, tying him for sixth place among active and retired Cup drivers. At Watkins Glen to go along with his three victories Stewart has a pole, four top-fives, and six top-10s. His average start is 5.1 and his average finish is 6.8.

Jimmie Johnson will be running for just the sixth time at Watkins Glen, where he has one pole, two top-fives, and two top-10s. The defending Cup champion loves road-course racing and he's been working hard at getting better at it. Keep an eye on his No. 48 Chevrolet on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick won this event a year ago. He's a solid road-course racer who should run strong. He could post a top-10 finish as could Dale Earnhardt Jr.

No preview of Watkins Glen would be complete without a mention to keep an eye on some of the top road-course specialists. For Robby Gordon this race is his best opportunity to bring a highlight to a season with only one top-10 result and a fair share of controversy after last weekend's Busch Series road-course race in Montreal. In his eight Cup starts at Watkins Glen Gordon has a win (2003), six top-fives and six top-10s.

Other "roadies" looking to score solid finishes include P.J. Jones, Ron Fellows, and Boris Said if he competes.

My darkhorse is super sophomore Denny Hamlin, who has a road-course win in the Busch Series, and will be helped a great deal by the experience his crew chief Mike Ford provides. He'll also have the benefit of having run well so far in COT races.

Keys to success at Watkins Glen
Winning this 90-lap race isn't easy, and it helps a lot if a driver gets a bit of good luck, especially when it comes to fuel mileage.

The twists and turns of the track's 2.45-mile layout prove challenging and put a car's equipment to the test. Drivers know that to win at Watkins Glen they need top performances by their crew and from the motor that came from their engine builder.

Racing a road course is so much a mechanical exercise requiring numerous shifts per lap as well as constant braking. At the same time a driver is trying to race the track, he's also trying to figure out how to pass the car in front of him, and how to keep the car in back of him from passing him.

That's why some drivers like Tony Stewart find the two road courses on the Cup circuit to be refreshing breaks from the world of oval-track racing. But other drivers absolutely despise racing at Infineon and Watkins Glen.

It's tough to pass at Watkins Glen and the best places to try to do so are at the course's braking points. Turn 1, which is a downhill, right-hand corner coming off the frontstretch, is a great place to attempt to overtake another car, but it's also where there tends to be the most contact between cars. The track has removed the sand pit at the end of Turn 1 and replaced it with an asphalt strip.

Drivers who can quickly negotiate the backstretch's "inner loop" -- a U-shaped section of four short turns -- will likely turn the fastest laps since this is the course's most challenging stretch.

We could see various fuel-mileage strategies employed as most teams can run 30-35 laps on a tank of fuel. The ideal way to run this 90-lap race is with just two pit stops, taking the second of those as soon as a team gets within its fuel window to finish the race.

If a team can be the first to pit in the final series of stops, it might catch a break if a caution then comes out forcing the other cars to pit under yellow.

With the COT all eyes will be on the front splitter and whether it will prove fragile on the aggressive curves of this road course. Fragility in the front splitter could cause problems for drivers since if these splitters give way they could cut tires on other cars in the race.

This road course presents the drivers with a complex test of racing. If a car is running well, this is a race where a driver's talents can really make a difference. And history shows that a good starting position can prove invaluable when it comes to boosting a driver's shot at winning the race.

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Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

Countdown to the Chase: Watkins Glen International
By Sporting News Wire Service

Who, what, when and where for this week's Cup race:

Centurion Boats at The Glen
• When: 2 p.m. ET Sunday
• TV: ESPN, 1 p.m. ET
• Where: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International
• Track: 2.45-mile road course
• Race length: 90 laps / 220.5 miles
• 2006 winner:Kevin Harvick
• 2006 polesitter:Kurt Busch
• Web site: www.theglen.com

On the hot seat:Dale Earnhardt Jr.

So the guy goes out and runs second at Pocono -- and loses a spot in the standings. Now Junior is 13th, on the outside looking in, because Kurt Busch, one spot behind him last week, won at Pocono. Go figure. Junior needs another strong finish ... but this time ahead of Busch, which will be tough.

Three-wide: What to look for at Watkins Glen

1. First road course win. The nominee is Kurt Busch, whose hopes were snatched away last year by a hard-luck pit road penalty.

2. Road course ringers. Terry Labonte is back in Michael Waltrip's No. 55 Toyota, and you'll see a long list of other names you'll never find on the ovals.

3. Right-side refueling. At Watkins Glen, the cars seldom turn left, and the fuel receptacle is on the right side. Finding the proper balance on these mirror-image cars is crucial.

Racing rewind: Last year's 22nd race

No driver dropped out of the top 10 after the AMD at The Glen. Tony Stewart, seventh in the standings after the race, gave himself more cushion with a second-place finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 18th and Kasey Kahne 22nd, giving Junior (10th in points) a 54-point lead over Kahne (11th).

Kevin Harvick picked up his first Cup road race win after a fierce late-race duel with Stewart.

The story of the day was Kurt Busch's bad luck. He was headed to the pits when the caution came out. The timing was awful. He was only a few feet from the commitment line and didn't have time to pull back onto the track. A resulting penalty forced him to the back of the pack, and he finished 19th. That penalty cost Busch, 12th in points, a win or a top five finish and at least 60 points, ending any hopes he had of challenging Earnhardt for the 10th spot.

• The top 10 in points after race No. 22: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Harvick, Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt.

Quote

"Guys you wouldn't typically think would run well on road courses can run well here because it's so fast. The turns are just a lot more forgiving."
-- Jeff Gordon

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Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

Rough road
Ricky Craven

Unlike other events, the Bud at the Glen (as it once was called) was not circled or highlighted by me when the schedule came out each year. I simply did not look forward to the race the way I did others like Martinsville, Darlington or both trips home to New Hampshire International Speedway

It is not that I disliked road racing – in fact, I finished 10th at Watkins Glen my rookie season of 1995. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there. Attitude probably played a part in my gradual demise in upstate New York. I did not carry the same level of confidence to the road courses as I had at the other tracks on the schedule, and in the end it showed.

Although I would not put road racing at the top of "my favorite things to do" list, I admire the drivers who are very good at it. There is no question that repetition is key to making progress, and the drivers who have exposed themselves to road races in other forms of racing have benefited from it.

All this is particularly important this weekend.

The next five races will determine the Chase field, but this weekend's perhaps is the biggest wild card. NASCAR drivers are comfortable on ovals, but every driver will arrive at a road course race with a different level of confidence. That confidence is a product of familiarity and past success, and drivers are most productive when they are comfortable. I believe this to be true for all athletes.

The difference in how successful a road coarse weekend is or isn't has to do with how quickly the driver gets comfortable with his environment, which is another measure of focus. It is not unusual for a driver on the road coarse to emerge into the picture late in the race as a result of maintaining focus and becoming more familiar, more comfortable as the day goes on.

But they need to wait for that comfort to develop, as drivers can't afford to try too hard in an area they not comfortable. Swinging for the fences often results in a strikeout.

In a nutshell, this weekend's race comes down to accelerating hard off each turn, shifting through the gears smoothly, and braking as deeply as possible. As simple as all that sounds, anyone with visions of winning Sunday's race will have to prepare to do battle with both Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. They have separated themselves from the rest of the field at this course and are two of the best road racers I have raced against or watched.

Their statistics for the last 10 events at Watkins Glen support this, as Stewart has won three of the last five Nextel Cup races there and Gordon has four wins in his last 10 starts at the track.

What may be more interesting than focusing on the front of the Chase standings is looking toward the rear, where at least five drivers jockey for the final spots in this year's 12-driver Chase field. Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman sit 10th through 14th in the standings, with 243 points separating Bowyer and Newman.

It is reasonable to think each of these teams and drivers are preoccupied with collecting good finishes over the next five weeks. An approach along the lines of that taken by last week's winner may be the most rewarding. Kurt Busch dominated the Pocono race, leading 175 of the 200 laps in grabbing his first victory of 2007. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his day was the authority he displayed in recovering from a difficult pit stop late in the race. Busch took control of his own destiny last week by accumulating the most points possible for a driver in a Nextel Cup race. Considering Busch won the pole for last year's Watkins Glen race, I would expect the same approach from him this week.

Expect Ryan Newman to follow the same path as his teammate in going after his first road course victory. Newman has run well enough in the past, finishing eighth last year, ninth in 2003 and second in 2002. His teammate's performance will serve as extra motivation for he and the 12 team this weekend.

Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer have but one start each at the nostalgic road course. You could make an argument that this lack of track time works against them, with the lack of experience putting them at a disadvantage.

Again, I offer my personal experience which indicates that experience is not all it's cracked up to be. (Along those same lines, Newman's runner-up finish in his first visit remains his best to date). Both Bowyer and Truex have a predictable and productive driving style, which I believe could reward both with top-10 finishes Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the wild card in the scenario and has held claim to that title all year. He has had speed throughout the 2007 season and has been fast at Watkins Glen in the past. I like the positive outlook he brings to the track each week. He appears very comfortable with everything and everyone around him. All of this considered, I look for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to be a contender on Sunday.

Regardless of how this final road course event turns out for the five drivers on the Chase bubble, they will have four more ovals to help determine what 2007 will bring them. How their day goes on Sunday has as much to do with attitude as it does with how well the car turns left and right and shifts gears.

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Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note

NASCAR (DAYTONA) - IN THE LOOP

'In The Loop' At Watkins Glen International

Jeff Gordon The Top Closer; Stewart An Ace At The Glen

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2007) – There’s a reason why NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader Jeff Gordon needs a telescope to see second-place Denny Hamlin. He’s better – far better – than any other driver during crunch time.

Gordon leads all drivers in the ‘Closer’ statistical category, picking up a net total of 80 positions during the last 10% of races – a prime reason he finds himself comfortably leading the series standings.

Gordon has more than double the amount of Closer positions of the second-place drivers in the category. David Gilliland and Robby Gordon are tied for second with 39 positions improved.

Below is a race-by-race breakdown of Gordon’s positions improved over the last 10% of each race, along with the points picked up because of the jump:

Jeff Gordon’s Closer Totals

Position With Race Positions Points Track 10% Remaining Finish Gained/Lost Gained/Lost Daytona 21st 10th 11 34 California 5th 2nd 3 15 Las Vegas 3rd 2nd 1 5 Atlanta 19th 12th 7 21 Bristol 5th 3rd 2 10 Martinsville 2nd 2nd 0 0 Texas 1st 4th -3 -25 Phoenix 2nd 1st 1 15 Talladega 14th 1st 13 64 Richmond 3rd 4th -1 -5 Darlington 2nd 1st 1 15 Lowe's 41st 41st 0 0 Dover 7th 9th -2 -8 Pocono 34th 1st 33 124 Michigan 12th 9th 3 11 Infineon 15th 7th 8 28 New Hampshire 3rd 2nd 1 5 Daytona 5th 5th 0 0 Chicagoland 10th 9th 1 4 Indianapolis 4th 3rd 1 5 Pocono 4th 4th 0 0

Gordon has picked up a total of 318 points because of an end-of-race combination of clutch performance and pit strategy. His lead in the series standings over Hamlin is 366.

New faces will pepper the field Sunday, as road course aces such as Boris Said, Patrick Carpentier, Scott Pruett and Ron Fellows get rare seat time.

But at Watkins Glen, a familiar name has consistently run up front – Tony Stewart.

His stats over the past two years – which were finishes of first (2005) and second (2006) – tower over the field. He ranks first a number of key Loop Data. Below is a sampling of is Watkins Glen stats:

Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen (2005-2006) Driver Rating: 140.1 Average Running Position: 2.5 Fastest Laps Run: 53 Laps in the Top 15: 182 of 182 Laps Led: 90

Stewart holds track-best marks over the past two years in a number of categories, including Driver Rating. In 2005, he earned a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 – only five drivers have accomplish the feat. Below are the race-best numbers from Watkins Glen in two key Loop Data categories:

Driver Rating Driver Date DR 1. Tony Stewart 08/05 150.0 2. Tony Stewart 08/06 130.1 3. Kevin Harvick 08/06 126.4 4. Robby Gordon 08/06 119.0 5. Jimmie Johnson 08/05 117.7

Average Running Position Driver Date ARP 1. Tony Stewart 08/05 1.511 2. Tony Stewart 08/06 3.444 3. Jimmie Johnson 08/05 3.467 4. Robby Gordon 08/06 6.344 5. Ryan Newman 08/06 7.567

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