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Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Driver Handicaps: Watkins Glen
This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International for Centurion Boats at The Glen - the ninth Car of Tomorrow event of the 2007 season. To help you make your Dale Jr. Reality Cup Racing fantasy picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 90-lap event.
Who's HOT at Watkins Glen
Kevin Harvick's win in this event last year marked his fourth top 10.
Tony Stewart has three wins and a second-place finish in the last five races.
Robby Gordon has a 5.2 average finish in his last five starts.
Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with four wins.
Ricky Rudd leads all full-time drivers with 10 top 10s.
Keep an Eye on at Watkins Glen
Denny Hamlin has led the most laps in COT competition with 612.
Juan Pablo Montoya will be shooting for his third NASCAR road course win of the season.
Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle will be driving the same cars that all finished in the top five at Infineon Raceway in June.
Road course "ringers" Boris Said and Ron Fellows have combined for four top 10s at Watkins Glen.
Jimmie Johnson, has two top 10s at Watkins Glen, and has a 7.8 average finish with the COT.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a 9.0 average finish in his last four starts at Watkins Glen.
Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in starting average (8.9) and finishing average (3.6) among the drivers that have competed in all eight Car of Tomorrow races. Gordon is tied with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most wins with two. Denny Hamlin has dominated the competition by winning one race (New Hampshire), leading an impressive 612 laps and posting an average finish of 5.0. Excluding Boris Said and P.J. Jones - Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth (Ford), Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Brian Vickers (Toyota) hold the best average finish among their manufacturers at 11.4, 16.5 and 25.7, respectively. David Gilliland has the worst average finish among all the drivers that have made every COT start at 33.6.
Tony Stewart leads all drivers entered in the Watkins Glen race with the best average finish (8.5) on road courses among drivers with two or more starts. His teammate Denny Hamlin is right behind with a 10.7 finishing average in three races. Jeff Gordon, who has an 11.1 average finish, leads all drivers in wins (9) and laps led (613) in 29 starts. Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman and Ricky Rudd are the only other active full-time drivers with an average finish of 15.0 or better in two or more starts on the road courses.
Watkins Glen Rookie Report
Paul Menard is the only Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate that has made a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Watkins Glen International. In three races, Menard has posted an average start of 39.7 and an average finish of 28.3. Juan Pablo Montoya rides the most momentum heading into The Glen having won the Busch race in Mexico and the Cup race at Infineon Raceway. A.J. Allmendinger, who failed to qualify at Infineon, has had open wheel success on road courses, like Montoya, prior to Cup. David Ragan will be making his fourth NASCAR road course start. Ragan finished 29th at Infineon and 14th and 19th, respectively, in the Busch events at Mexico City and Montreal. Rookie Standings
Qualifying took place last season for the first time in two years after rain had washed out the session in 2005 and 2004. In 2005, Tony Stewart had the fastest lap of the session before the rain came in and forced officials to cancel qualifying. Stewart's lap of 123.143 mph was tops among the 26 of 44 cars that posted a time. Jeff Gordon, Ricky Rudd and Dale Jarrett are the only other current active full-time drivers to have won a pole at Watkins Glen in the last 10 races. Gordon's 2003 speed of 124.580 mph still stands as the track record. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Watkins Glen Winners
Race to The Chase
Jeff Gordon is the only driver among the Chase contenders that has posted multiple wins and poles at Watkins Glen International. He also leads the group with six top fives and seven top 10s. Click Here to view a video to see how the eligible Chase drivers stack up at Watkins Glen. Check back for Video
Watkins Glen Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2006) *Fastest Early in a Run *Fastest Late in a Run Avg. Running Position
1. Tony Stewart 1. Tony Stewart 1. Tony Stewart - 2.5
2. Denny Hamlin 2. Robby Gordon 2. Robby Gordon - 8.4
3. Robby Gordon 3. Kevin Harvick 3. Jimmie Johnson - 8.7
4. Ryan Newman 4. Jamie McMurray 4. Denny Hamlin - 11.2
5. Marc Goossens 5. Jimmie Johnson 5. Kevin Harvick - 11.6
Laps in Top 15 *Quality Passes *Driver Rating
1. Tony Stewart - 182 1. Robby Gordon - 67 1. Tony Stewart - 140.1
2. Robby Gordon - 150 2. Ryan Newman - 57 2. Robby Gordon - 116.0
3. Jimmie Johnson - 147 3. Scott Pruett - 48 3. Kevin Harvick - 106.5
4. Kevin Harvick - 136 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 47 4. Jimmie Johnson - 101.2
5. Scott Pruett - 129 5. Kasey Kahne - 45 5. Denny Hamlin - 100.3
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating : 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.
Top 20 Driver Notes - Based on Current Standings
1. Jeff Gordon (Points: 3236): Gordon has the most wins on both the current active road course tracks (9) and at Watkins Glen International (4). He is second in laps led at WGI with 176, second in poles with two, and is third in top-10 finishes with seven. Since winning at Watkins Glen in 2001, Gordon has posted an average finish of 20.6.
2. Denny Hamlin (Points Behind: -366): Last year Hamlin finished 10th in his first NEXTEL Cup start at Watkins Glen International. He will be shooting for his fourth career top 10 on a road course, driving the same car (chassis No. 176) that started 36th and finished 10th at Infineon in June.
3. Matt Kenseth (Points Behind: -411): In 2005, Kenseth ended a streak of two consecutive top 10s (eighth and ninth) with an 18th-place finish. Last year, Kenseth did not break back into the top 10 after finishing 21st. His best finish came in 2003 after qualifying a career-best (on time) seventh. Kenseth, who has yet to record a top-five finish on a road course in 15 Cup starts, will pilot the same car (chassis No. RK-492) that finished 34th at Infineon in June.
4. Jeff Burton (Points Behind: -473): Watkins Glen International is Burton's worst track on the circuit when it comes to finishing average. In 2005, Burton finished 43rd after he crashed in Turn 1 on lap 30. The finish was his worst at WGI and it came in his first track start with Richard Childress Racing. Burton will be looking to lower his WGI average finish of 19.8 by racing the same car (chassis No. 210) that started sixth and finished third at Infineon Raceway in June. Burton's best finishes in 13 Watkins Glen starts have come with Roush Racing when he posted three consecutive top-10 finishes from 2000-2002, best being a second in 2001.
5. Tony Stewart (Points Behind: -487): Last year, Stewart just missed capturing his third consecutive victory at Watkins Glen International after finishing second. The finish marked his sixth top 10 in eight starts. Stewart, who also won at WGI in 2002, will be driving the same car (chassis No. 175) that finished sixth at Infineon in June.
6. Carl Edwards (Points Behind: -554): Last season, Edwards scored his first NEXTEL Cup top five on a road course with a fifth-place finish at Watkins Glen International. This weekend he will drive the same car (chassis RK-208) that finished 18th at Infineon Raceway in June after running out of fuel.
7. Jimmie Johnson (Points Behind: -612): Johnson has two top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen International with his last coming in 2005 when he finished fifth. In 2004, Johnson posted his only DNF after an engine problem, on lap 23, relegated him to a 40th-place finish. Johnson, who has led three laps at WGI, will be driving the same car (chassis No. 442) that started 42nd and finished 17th at Infineon Raceway in June.
8. Kyle Busch (Points Behind: -625): This weekend Busch will making his 100th career NEXTEL Cup start at Watkins Glen International. The race will also mark his sixth career road course race. Busch's two road course top 10s have come in the last two events at Watkins Glen (ninth) and Infineon (eighth). On Sunday he will be back in the same car (chassis No. 430) that raced at Infineon.
9. Kevin Harvick (Points Behind: -636): This weekend Harvick heads to Watkins Glen International as the defending race winner. Last year's triumph marked Harvick's fourth top 10 in six starts. The 2006 race also saw Harvick lead more than one lap at WGI after holding the No. 29 out front for 28 laps. Harvick will be back in the same COT chassis (No. 211) that finished second at Infineon Raceway in June.
10. Clint Bowyer (Points Behind: -684): Bowyer has recorded an 11.3 average finish in three NEXTEL Cup road course events. He will be shooting for his first top 10 at Watkins Glen driving the same car (chassis No. 194) that finished fourth in June at Infineon. Last year at The Glen, Bowyer started 14th and finished 14th.
11. Martin Truex Jr. (Points Behind: -799): Martin Truex Jr. finished 28th in his first NEXTEL Cup start at Watkins Glen International in 2006. His best finishes at the track have come in the Busch Series, where he has finished in the top 10 in two starts. Truex will be racing the same car (chassis No. 018) that finished 28th in May at Richmond.
12. Kurt Busch (Points Behind: -837): Busch posted his first top-10 finish (tenth) at Watkins Glen International in 2004, and in the process, led one lap for the first time at the track. Last year in this event, Busch started from the pole and led 38 laps en route to a 19th-place finish in his first track start with Penske Racing. Busch had success in other NASCAR Series at The Glen, finishing second in the 2000 truck race and first in last year's Busch race. Busch will be pulling "double duty" again this weekend and will drive chassis PSC-518 in the Cup race. This is the same car that finished 22nd at Infineon in June.
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Points Behind: -844): Last year Earnhardt Jr ended a streak of three consecutive top 10s with an 18th-place finish. In the three-race top 10 run, Junior posted an average finish of 6.0 and led a combined 12 laps. Earnhardt also has one Busch Series victory at WGI in 1999. This weekend he will be driving the same car (chassis No. 052) that started third and finished 13th at Infineon in June.
14. Ryan Newman (Points Behind: -927): Last year, Newman rebounded from finishes at Watkins Glen International of 26th and 30th, respectively, by scoring his third top 10 at the track of eighth. Newman ranks among the top 10 in finishing average (12.2) on road courses and is the 2005 Busch Series winner at Watkins Glen. He will return in the same car (chassis No. PRS-517) that he finished 20th with at Infineon in June.
15. Mark Martin (Points Behind: -1053): Martin, a three-time Watkins Glen winner, will not be racing this weekend. Regan Smith, who finished 30th at Infineon in June, will pilot the No. 01 Army Chevrolet this weekend.
16. Greg Biffle (Points Behind: -1053): Biffle has yet to finish inside the top 30 at Watkins Glen International in four starts. The last two years have seen him finish 38th, which included transmission problems through out the running of the 2005 race. In 2004, he started 21st and was running in the top 15 until a part failure ended his day on lap 71. The 35th-place finish is his only DNF at the track. In his first race at The Glen in 2003, Biffle started second after qualifying with a lap of 124.506 mph. He was able to lead 23 laps, but finished 30th after a fuel miscalculation. This weekend Biffle will drive the same car (Chassis No. RK-491) that finished fifth at Infineon in June.
17. Jamie McMurray (Points Behind: -1089): Last Year, McMurray finished third in his first start with Roush Fenway Racing at Watkins Glen International. He carried over his success at Infineon Raceway in June by winning the pole. McMurray, who will race his Infineon car (chassis RK-485) this weekend, led 30 laps with that car in that event before running out of fuel in the closing laps. McMurray posted an average finish of 16.0 in his first three starts at WGI with Chip Ganassi Racing.
18. Juan Pablo Montoya (Points Behind: -1104): Montoya tested a few weeks ago at Virginia International Raceway in preparation for this weekend's event. His primary chassis for this weekend will not be the same one that won at Infineon Raceway in June.
19. Casey Mears (Points Behind: -1123): This weekend, Mears will be making his Watkins Glen debut with Hendrick Motorsports. In his previous four starts with Chip Ganassi Racing he posted an average finish of 23.5 with his best finish, of fourth, coming in 2004. Mears will be back in the same car (chassis No. 440) that finished 27th at Infineon in June after overcoming steering problems.
20. Bobby Labonte (Points Behind: -1206): Labonte will be making his 15th start at Watkins Glen International this weekend, where he has six top-10 finishes. Labonte, who will be making his second track start with Petty Enterprises, has finished a best fifth on two occasions at WGI (1996, 2000) with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Centurion Boats at The Glen HOT! Sheet
The season that Juan Pablo Montoya is having is really amazing when you consider a couple of things. First of all, he’s a rookie. Secondly, he’s not just any rookie – before this year he had never competed in a stock car! He has gone through a few growing pains along the way, but recently it’s been pretty smooth sailing. As you can see on our chart, he has an average finish of 11th in the last three events. He has shown twice that he owns road courses, so consider him a must have on your roster this weekend.
It was only a matter of time before Kurt Busch got back to victory lane. That time came last weekend after a dominating performance gained him the checkered flag at Pocono. It continued a line of success that has seen him put up an average finish of 5.25 over his last four races. At Daytona he led for 45 laps and ended up 3rd. He came from near the rear of the field at Chicago to finish 6th. The Brickyard brought an 11th place showing. Then came the victory. The team has worked their way in to the top 12. You know he’ll be fighting to stay there, so watch out for him.
Right below him on the chart this week is his brother, Kyle Busch. Despite being a lame duck with his team, he is acting like he wants to go out of Hendrick Motorsports with a bang. He’s got 5 top 10s in the last 8 races. His average finish over the course of that span is right at 8th place, which is right where he stands in the points report. He has led at least 2 laps in 4 of the last 5 events. Last year on this track he started and finished solidly in 9th place. Look for him to be a factor again this time around.
At the very bottom of our sheet this week is Jamie McMurray. His win at Daytona seems like it was lightning in a bottle because it was only 1 of 3 top 5s that he has posted this season. In the 3 races since then, his best finish is 33rd coming at the Brickyard. At Chicago he ended up 53 laps down in 38th, and last week at Pocono he wrecked out with his first DNF of the season in 40th. Until he starts looking like the winner that he was at Daytona, we suggest you stay away from him.
Joining him in the basement this week is J.J. Yeley. According to multiple sources, he is in his final season in the #18 car, and if you look at his performances it shouldn’t come as a surprise. He has only 1 top 10 all season, and that came at the end of May at Charlotte when the team gambled on fuel mileage and benefited with a runner-up showing. His best finish in the last 7 events is 20th at Daytona. The average finish for the team over that span is a whopping 28th place. He has raced at the Glen only once, and it didn’t go too well for him (33rd). He should not be on your roster this week.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Historic win within Montoya's reach
There may be some that are still surprised at how well Juan Pablo Montoya has been able to run in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
The rookie Cup driver has a won at Formula One, captured the Indy 500 and was CART's youngest champion. He has graduated to stock cars and won in Busch and Cup on road courses in 2007 and has a shot at history Sunday.
No one should be surprised anymore.
"I've got to say, with last year's (Busch and Cup starts at the end of the year), I'm getting the hang of the car," Montoya said. "I'm getting more comfortable to drive a little freer, a little bit looser and I think that's helping a lot."
Montoya could become the first NASCAR driver to capture three road course races in one season -- and he gets two cracks at it with his final Busch start on Saturday.
Montoya has quite the resume as the first F1 driver to migrate to NASCAR. With his runner-up finish at the Brickyard and his ninth top 20 of 2007 last week at Pocono (16th), he is gaining momentum.
In June, Montoya used fuel strategy to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon. Strategy helped, but Montoya had already driven from his 32nd starting spot to the top 20 by Lap 10. He was in the top 15 most of the race and in the top 10 nearly all the second half of the 110-lap race, leading the final seven laps.
"I think the biggest challenge is getting used to the cars ... how everybody races, learn to overtake people. That's still very hard," Montoya said. "I think Donnie (Wingo), my crew chief, is starting to understand what I want out of the car and what I like and don't like, and that really helps."
Montoya will be challenged by two recent rulers at The Glen, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.
"We got behind these past few years," Gordon said. "But the two-day test we had last week at Road Atlanta should really help us get back to the old advantage we used to have here."
Gordon, the winningest road course driver in NASCAR (nine), dominated Watkins Glen in the late 1990s with three straight victories (1997-99). He won again in 2001.
Stewart has carried the torch mostly since then with three wins (2002, 2004-05) and a runner-up finish to Kevin Harvick last year.
"It's definitely a place I feel like we've got the potential to win, even before we make a single lap," Stewart said.
As is usually the case -- and was in Sonoma -- road course drivers dot the entry list throughout, including P.J. Jones, Brian Simo, Ron Fellows and Boris Said. One late addition is Patrick Carpentier, who made a big splash in his NASCAR debut in last week's wild Busch race in Montreal, finishing second to Harvick.
"It's been kind of a dream," said Carpentier, who will drive the No. 10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge normally driven by Scott Riggs. "Everything came about on Monday morning actually."
Carpentier says he owes it to last week.
"Honestly, for me in Montreal, there was a lot of pressure because we only had the budget, the money to do one shot, one race, and it had to work," he said. "It went really well."
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Watkins Glen field full of talented road course drivers
Has there ever been a Nextel Cup road course race where the talent went deeper into the field than for Sunday's at Watkins Glen? Probably not.
Five drivers, all Cup regulars, stand out: Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon. They're all previous Cup winners on road courses.
Montoya is, of course, the most recent addition to the top-tier group. The rookie from Colombia has proven he could transfer his world-class skills from Formula 1 to NASCAR immediately with victories in the Busch race at Mexico City and in a Cup race at Infineon.
Montoya started 32nd at Infineon and combined pit-stop strategy and a fast Dodge to take the lead with seven laps remaining. He stunned many on pit lane by reaching the checkered flag without making another pit stop. Montoya's ability to save fuel and maintain the lead was remarkable and further evidence of his prowess. It changed the way the game is played.
No driver has ever won three road course races in a national NASCAR series in the same season. Montoya could emerge from the weekend with four. He's also entered in Saturday's Busch race.
"I think driving the Busch race is going to be a big help to get much more track time before the Cup race," Montoya said.
Harvick has emerged as a greater threat on road courses in the past two years. He beat Stewart by nearly a second in the Cup race at the Glen for his first NASCAR road course victory and won the Busch race at Montreal last weekend. Harvick was second to Montoya at Infineon.
Harvick also has a chance to win three NASCAR road races this year. He's racing in Saturday's Busch race.
Stewart has been the dominant driver at the Glen, winning three of the last five Cup races there. Including his two wins at Infineon, Stewart has five road course victories since 2001.
When he arrived to NASCAR with an oval background in open wheel, Stewart described his road racing style as a mix of banzai and refined. Experience has changed his view to a smoother approach, which saves brakes and tires.
"I would like to believe it's a little more refined," Stewart said. "We have five wins at the road courses, and I'd like to think that's pretty good over the last eight years. I feel like we've run really well on the road courses, especially at Watkins Glen. It's one of my favorite tracks on the circuit because it is so unique and different. It's a race I look forward to going to every year."
Jeff Gordon has nine road course victories, including four at the Glen, but hasn't won there since 2001. Stewart says he can't be overlooked.
"You look at guys who have run really well on the road courses the last couple of years and it's Jeff Gordon, myself and Kevin Harvick," Stewart said. "You still have to beat the same guys that have been winning, and all you have to do is look at the stats and the stats will tell you who you've got to beat there."
Robby Gordon won at the Glen and Infineon in 2003. He has a road racing background, with multiple sports car victories. At Infineon in June, Robby started second and led 48 of 110 laps, but poor pit stop strategy relegated him to 16th. He can run as fast as anybody, but is prone to more mistakes.
Marcos Ambrose and Patrick Carpentier bring quality to the field at the Glen in their first Cup starts.
Ambrose won 27 races and the Australian V8 Supercar series -- high-horsepower cars that run on road courses -- twice. He nearly won at Montreal last weekend, knocked out of the way in the closing laps by Robby Gordon. Gordon has paid Ambrose back for taking him out by putting him in a second Gordon Racing Ford this weekend.
Carpentier qualified on pole at Montreal and finished second in his first NASCAR race. Gillette Evernham Motorsports snapped him up to replace Scott Riggs in the No. 10 Dodge at Watkins Glen. The French-Canadian is a lifelong road racer with victories in sports and Indy cars.
"I think he did an amazing job," Montoya said.
There are also the so-called ringers: Boris Said and Ron Fellows have won road races in sports cars and run competitively in Cup. Said was third at the Glen in 2003 and Fellows second in 2004.
Denny Hamlin, who likes fast and flat tracks but is just learning how to road race, and Jamie McMurray are sleepers.
Hamlin won the Busch race at Mexico City and was 10th in his first Cup race at the Glen in 2006. McMurray started on the pole this year at Infineon and led with seven to go before running out of fuel. He was third at the Glen last year.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Fantasy Preview: The Glen
Only five race weekends have passed since the Nextel Cup Series rolled out of Infineon Raceway and in three of those events drivers challenged the flat tracks of New Hampshire International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway. Many drivers think the entry into a road-course corner is similar to that of the flat tracks, so they have kept their skills sharp.
Added to the mix is a pair of Busch road races. The number of Buschwhackers in the field last week was limited somewhat by the difficulty in commuting from Pocono to Montreal, but those who were in the race gained valuable experience. This week, the Busch lineup at Watkins Glen International will have even more Cup regulars as even veterans try to get a little more seat time.
The only way to get better on a road course is to log laps, and evidence for this can be seen in last week's race when Carl Edwards went back on the course many laps down to get some practice.
Last week at Pocono, fantasy owners were advised to fill their roster with veterans. This week is no exception because experience counts on a road course.
Until last year's edition of this race, three drivers had swept Victory Lane on the road courses since the fall of 2002. Tony Stewart did it twice for four victories, while Jeff Gordon and Robby Gordon each accomplished the two-win feat once and none of these men show any signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Stewart has been as close to perfect as a driver can be at The Glen, with three victories and a runner-up finish in his last five races. The only time he struggled was in 2003 and in that event, he still managed to finish 11th. With back-to-back victories at Chicagoland Speedway and Indy, plus a solid sixth-place result last week at Pocono, he may have more momentum than ever. Disappointing results in the spring and early summer have left him with a relatively affordable salary cap, and with several good road ringers to stretch your fantasy dollar, he is the best value in the game.
Both racing Gordons are favored to earn top-five finishes, but might need a little luck to find Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon is one of the best road-course racers in the business, but The Glen has not been kind to him in recent seasons. After winning four of five races from 1997 through 2001, he's failed to crack the top 10 in the five races that followed. The closest he's come was 13th in this race last year, but it hasn't been for a lack of strength. Problems in the pits, errant fuel calculations and general bad luck have plagued him during that span. In 2007, he's finished in the top 10 in all but two races, however, and it's hard to imagine that with momentum like that on his side, he won't get the monkey off his back.
Robby Gordon is probably just happy to be here. After failing to heed NASCAR's instructions in last week's Busch race, Gordon was parked at Pocono and one has to believe serious consideration was given to suspending him for more than that single race. Officials fined him $35,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the season, but he will race in the Centurion Boats at The Glen and that is good news for fantasy owners. He's had some trouble recently on the more technical Infineon Raceway, but he's always great at The Glen. As a road ringer, he finished fourth here in 1997 and since then he's been in the top five in five of seven races. That includes a victory in 2003, a runner-up finish in 2005 and a fourth last year.
Last year Kevin Harvick broke into Victory Lane on a road course for the first time in this race. To prove it was not a fluke, he drove from the back of the pack to the front at Montreal last week. While that wasn't the prettiest performance we've seen in recent years, it will increase his confidence entering this weekend. Harvick's victory last year came as a bit of a surprise since his three previous road-course events ended in 37th-, 15th-, and 24th-place finishes at The Glen and Infineon combined. However, with that win under his belt, he went to Infineon in June and finished second.
In that Sonoma race, Harvick crossed the line behind another driver who wants to etch his name alongside Stewart and the Gordons as multiple winners on the road courses.
There was never any doubt that Juan Montoya would be strong on the road courses given his background in Champ cars and Formula 1, but few expected him to win in his first outing. A little pit strategy and a lot of strength gave him his first Cup victory, however, and now fantasy owners know that he is more than capable of following with another.
Every time the NASCAR series rolls onto the road courses, NASCAR owners roll out the road ringers.
These specialists from the sports-car ranks -- and more recently from open-wheel series -- have been a fabric of the road-course landscape throughout the Modern Era. Stock-car purists are quick to point out that one of them has yet to win since Mark Donohue accomplished the feat in 1973 on the now defunct Riverside International Raceway, but fantasy owners don't particularly care about that stat. These drivers have logged some strong results, and your fantasy roster is made up of more than a single entry.
Ron Fellows has been much better at The Glen than he has been at Infineon. Perhaps that is because this is the closest thing he's going to find to a home track since he hails from nearby Ontario. He has five victories in the Busch and Craftsman Truck series' combined and has finished second in Cup twice, which means that he is capable of winning outright if he can get track position at the end. If he finishes in the top 10 anywhere, he is going to be a great value.
Boris Said is better at Infineon than The Glen, but he is capable of putting together a strong race, as well. He finished third in 2005 and his odds of repeating that feat have improved since. Now that Said is campaigning his own Ford -- with support from Roush Fenway Racing -- the chemistry in the team is going to be better than ever. If you have room for only one road ringer, give the nod to Fellows, but Said is certainly a viable option.
This week, two new road ringers join the mix. Scott Riggs will give way to Patrick Carpentier in the No. 10 Dodge. Last week at Montreal, he got into the spirit of things when he was cutting across rumble strips aiming for Harvick's back bumper. The wily veteran knew better than to let him get that close and the Quebecois had to settle for second, but he was impressive enough to get a call from Ray Evernham. The driver has the skill and the car will be strong enough for a top-10 finish, but the ultimate result will come down to strategy and track position.
Robby Gordon will reportedly field a car for Marcos Ambrose this week, although it has not yet shown up on the official entry list. Keep an eye out for the No. 77, however, because if Gordon's backup car is as strong as his primary one, the Tasmanian Devil will be a factor at the front of the pack. Ambrose showed aggression and skill last week in Montreal, and that is what it's going to take to score a top-15 in Cup. He cut his teeth on the Australian V8 Supercar series, and if you have watched any of those races on SPEED during the long winter months, you know that his road-racing resume is stellar.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Gordon on pole after rain prevents qualifying
August 10th, 2007
Watkins Glen, NY (Sports Network) - Intermittent showers prevented Nextel Cup drivers from qualifying at the Watkins Glen International road course and per NASCAR rules Jeff Gordon will start on the pole in Sunday's Centurion Boats at the Glen.
It will be the eighth time this season that the No.24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has started up front. Gordon has won two of the seven and finished in the top-five on all seven occasions.
Starting alongside Gordon will be Denny Hamlin who's No.11 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet is second in owner points.
Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton will make up row two.
Five races remain before the "Chase for the Nextel Cup" with four drivers fighting for the final two spots. Just 128 points separate 14th-place Ryan Newman from 11th-place Martin Truex Jr. In between the two are 2004 Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch holding down the final spot and Dale Earnhardt Jr. just seven points out.
Watching these four drivers should be an interesting "race-within-a-race." But none of the four driver are particularly good at road-course events and likely won't get much television time.
When talking camera time at a road course, the first name that comes to mind is Gordon. The four-time Nextel Cup champion has won four times in 14 Watkins Glen starts with an average finish of 10th.
Kevin Harvick, ninth overall, has one win and four top-10s in six starts. His average finish is a very good 8.0.
Tony Stewart has an even better record than Harvick at the New York road course. The No.20 Joe Gibbs Racing driver has made eight starts, winning three times. His average finish is a stellar 6.8. His 2005 win was most impressive leading 83 of 92 laps.
And then there is Juan Pablo Montoya. The Bogota, Colombia native has made two NASCAR road course starts and won them both. Montoya's first foray into a NASCAR road race was in the Busch Series at Mexico City. He won that in relatively easy fashion. He then took on Gordon and Stewart at Infineon Raceway. Although he qualified horribly (32nd), he flew through the field and eventually made the winning pass around Jamie McMurray with eight laps remaining.
Other drivers of note and their starting positions: Stewart (fifth), Carl Edwards (sixth), Jimmie Johnson (seventh), Harvick (ninth), Truex Jr. (11th), Kurt Busch (13th), Earnhardt Jr. (14th) and Newman (15th).
Among those going home without attempting to qualify were Boris Said and Marcos Ambrose.
The race is scheduled to drop the green flag on Sunday at 2 p.m. (et).
1 24 Jeff Gordon
2 11 Denny Hamlin
3 17 Matt Kenseth
4 31 Jeff Burton
5 20 Tony Stewart
6 99 Carl Edwards
7 48 Jimmie Johnson
8 5 Kyle Busch
9 29 Kevin Harvick
10 01 Regan Smith
11 07 Clint Bowyer
12 1 Martin Truex Jr.
13 2 Kurt Busch Dodge
14 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
15 12 Ryan Newman Dodge
16 16 Greg Biffle Ford
17 26 Jamie McMurray
18 42 Juan Montoya*
19 25 Casey Mears
20 43 Bobby Labonte
21 18 J.J. Yeley
22 6 David Ragan*
23 19 Elliott Sadler
24 41 Reed Sorenson
25 40 David Stremme
26 96 Ron Fellows
27 88 Ricky Rudd
28 9 Kasey Kahne
29 7 Robby Gordon
30 38 David Gilliland
31 15 Paul Menard*
32 66 Jeff Green
33 45 Kyle Petty
34 70 Johnny Sauter
35 22 Dave Blaney
36 21 Bill Elliott
37 10 Patrick Carpentier
38 83 Brian Vickers
39 00 P.J. Jones
40 44 Dale Jarrett
41 4 Ward Burton
42 36 Jeremy Mayfield
43 78 Kenny Wallace
Did Not Qualify
44 49 Klaus Graf
45 55 Terry Labonte
46 84 A.J. Allmendinger*
47 37 Brian Simo
48 160 Boris Said
49 177 Marcos Ambrose
* Denotes Rookie
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Robby ready for The Glen
Even though the same group of teams that runs well at Infineon Raceway also runs well at Watkins Glen International, they are still totally different racetracks. Watkins Glen has more grip, and it's a faster racetrack with much more straightaway than Infineon.
With a smaller fuel cell than the teams ran last year, fuel mileage should play a role in the outcome of this race. Teams try to run it backwards, making their last pit stop at the moment you enter your fuel window and know that you can make it to the end of the race. Track position is so important, but if you get a caution just outside that window, it changes the complexion of the race, just as it did at Infineon.
Who to Watch
# Robby Gordon: If I had to pick a winner, I'd put my money on Gordon. He had the car to beat at Infineon, and he goes to The Glen with a little more fire in his belly, which can be good and bad. That group just can't beat itself. For example, they didn't have the greatest strategy at Infineon.
# Jeff Gordon: Crew chief Steve Letarte was smart at Sonoma, and other teams can learn from his example. If a caution flag flies just outside your fuel window, get four tires. When you get to your fuel window, all you have to do is hit pit road for a few seconds to top off with gas. That's where Robby Gordon's team messed up. If they knew they couldn't make it, they should have gotten tires. That way, you're going to spend a lot less time on pit road under green than if you wait, stay out and put on tires while fueling up later in the race.
# Kurt Busch: The No. 2 was the car to beat a year ago, but one little hiccup prevented Busch from completing the first Busch-Cup sweep in track history. They almost got too aggressive trying to make it to pit road before the caution was displayed, and it ended up costing them the race.
# Juan Pablo Montoya: Two for two in the NASCAR road-course races that he's run this season, Montoya will probably be a factor in both the Busch and Cup races this weekend.
# Jamie McMurray: Next to Robby Gordon, McMurray probably had the best car at Sonoma. He continues to run well on road courses, and his team certainly needs to stop the bleeding if they want to keep alive any hope of making the Chase. Since winning at Daytona, McMurray has finished 38th, 33rd and 40th.
# Bowtie Brigade: Three-time Watkins Glen winner Tony Stewart, defending race winner Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. should run well, too.
What to Watch
# Keys to winning: The philosophy of racing at Watkins Glen is the same as the philosophy of racing at Infineon. Drivers need to stay on the racetrack and not get off of the asphalt. Run your race and follow your strategy. Then if you don't have a mechanical failure, you can finish in the top 12 pretty easily.
# Turning point: The biggest problem that teams faced at Infineon Raceway and will face again at Watkins Glen is a car that won't turn. The Car of Tomorrow magnifies that problem.
Speed Mail Larry McReynolds
# Pit strategy: While teams can run this 90-lap race pretty easily on two stops, they won't get the 33 to 35 laps per fuel run that they used to get with the larger fuel cell.
# Aggressive tendencies: It's a fine line at Watkins Glen between underdriving and overdriving your car. But drivers can be more aggressive because The Glen is more forgiving with more grip. Drivers must be really careful that they don't overdrive Turn 1 and the bus stop/chicane on the backstretch. Those are the two biggest places where you've got to walk that tightrope. You can pretty much take whatever your car will give you at other places around the track.
# Frantic finish: As the laps wind down, you'll hear over the radio, "8 to 10 laps to go," and all heck will break loose. Drivers will start pile-driving each other and overdriving the race car out in the pea gravel. It never fails.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
On the Prowl
It has been four weeks since the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series brought out the Car of Tomorrow (COT). The last time it was seen was on the flat track of New Hampshire International Speedway and before that, it was on track at the road course of Infineon Raceway. Now the drivers get another round of the COT, this time at Sonoma's sister track of Watkins Glen International.
Road racing is an art form. It takes more skill behind the wheel than it does in the engine and aerodynamics departments. The banking is almost nonexistent and nearly every turn is hairpin. That is why experience is so important at a place like The Glen.
Juan Montoya proved at Infineon that experience on a road course is universal. Sure the stockers are much heavier and the wheels are closer together, but a true road racer can get to the front in any kind of car. That is why the most experienced drivers are rated much higher than the freshmen.
Montoya may have the hot hand after his Sonoma win, but Tony Stewart still reigns supreme on the road courses, especially Watkins Glen. "Smoke" has three wins and four top-fives in the last five races there. He took to the Glen from his first outing and only twice has he finished outside the top-10 there—a 26th in 2001 and an 11th in 2003. He has been superb in the COT, contending for the win in almost every outing, which only adds to his appeal.
Kurt Busch had an amazing run at Pocono Raceway, leading a track-record 175 laps. That gives him momentum going into a race that he dominated last year. Busch led 34 laps and looked unbeatable until getting caught on pit road when the yellow flag waved. Recent history suggests that his Pennsylvania 500 victory will put him on the path to success. The previous two July Pocono winners have gone on to have good runs at The Glen; in 2005, Ryan Newman followed his victory with an eighth at Watkins Glen, and then Denny Hamlin produced a 10th after winning both races at Pocono.
Watkins Glen is a track of opportunity for dark horses, especially among one-car teams. For the experienced road racer, this is a great time to show everyone, particularly car owners, that he can compete with NASCAR's best.
The odds are always stacked against the one-car team, but that is equalized on the road courses where only a few drivers on the circuit have mastered the art form. There is no question that Robby Gordon can drive on the winding tracks. He has been excellent at Watkins Glen in his career. He enters the weekend with back-to-back top-fives there and he has a win and two more top-fives since 2000. Gordon also was the best at Infineon, though he was outmatched in the fuel mileage department and had to settle for 16th.
Most NASCAR fans are not going to recognize the No. 10 Dodge driver this week. Scott Riggs, who has never been much good at turning right, hands the keys over to Patrick Carpentier. Like Montoya and Stewart, he comes from the open-wheel ranks. The Canadian-born driver has spent much of his career in the Champ Car World Series, which favors the road courses. He already has some stock car experience under his belt. Last week, he won the pole for the Busch Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He went on to lead 14 laps and finish second in a wild last lap showdown with Kevin Harvick.
Matt Kenseth is not the best value when it comes to a road course. Usually, the better flat track drivers, like Kenseth, do well on the winding courses of Watkins Glen and Infineon. The No. 17 Ford driver, however, has never been a contender on either course. While he does have three top-10s at the Glen, he has never been better than eighth there and that was four years ago. In fact, he has not had a top-10 on either road track in three years.
Martin Truex Jr. has been the hot commodity of the summer. He earned his first win at Dover International Speedway, and then became a weekly fixture in the top-five for a time. He has lost his momentum since then. Truex has had four consecutive finishes outside the top-10. Aside from select drivers, road courses are not the places to turn around a negative streak. Truex is still inexperienced on the winding tracks. His lone road course top-20 came in his first outing at Infineon. Since then, he was 39th at Watkins Glen last year and 24th at Sonoma this season.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
10 to watch: Watkins Glen
Let's face it: The focus of Sunday's Centurion Boats at The Glen will not be on the top five drivers in the standings. Will they race among the leaders Sunday? Certainly. But where Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart finish likely will be secondary stories. With five races remaining in the Race to the Chase, Sunday's race is all about the drivers on the bubble.
And Robby Gordon.
And Juan Pablo Montoya.
And if he qualifies, Marcos Ambrose will be making his Nextel Cup debut under the most peculiar of circumstances.
So in that light, we have tossed out our regular format and instead will highlight drivers 10-18 plus Gordon. And Ambrose, just in case he makes it.
All statistical references are for Cup races at Watkins Glen International unless otherwise indicated.
Clint Bowyer, 10th; 160-point lead over 13th place. As a rookie last year, Bowyer started 14th and finished 14th. He has a comfortable lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr., but is well aware of the need to stay in the top 12. Although he is the only driver in the top 12 without a win, he says making the Chase takes precedence over a win in the next five races. You can be sure the No. 07 team will be watching the bubble boys more than the race leaders on Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. 11th; plus-45. Because of his performance in the past four Cup races (22nd, 12th, 39th, 13th), Truex is feeling the heat. It is especially tense considering how well he was running in four of the previous five races. What makes Truex's situation all the more interesting is the driver in 13th is his DEI teammate. Truex also was a rookie last year. He started 35th and finished 28th.
Kurt Busch, 12th; plus-7. Busch is on the move, and the way he is driving, he is looking forward not back. Truex beware. If not for an ill-timed caution last year as Busch was entering pit road, he might very well have swept the Busch and Cup races at The Glen.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., 13th; 7 points behind 12th place. The results of Junior's last four races at Watkins Glen are 18th, 10th, fifth and third. However, as he learned last week, it's not always where you finish, it's where your Chase competition finishes: He was second at Pocono but Busch won, and Junior lost 20 points to Busch and the last spot in the Chase standings. His goal Sunday: Finish ahead of Busch or ahead of Truex.
Ryan Newman, 14th; minus-90. In five races at The Glen, Newman has three top 10s, including a second in his first race in 2002. He is the last of the drivers who would appear to have a reasonable shot of making the Chase. He doesn't have to make up his entire 90-point deficit in one race. He, too, is racing against Truex, Busch and Earnhardt.
Mark Martin, 15th; minus-216. Martin is an interesting case. He has missed five races, yet sits 15th in points. He is a looong shot to get in. However, the No. 01 is 10th in owners points, and the owners championship is set up the same as the Chase for the drivers.
Greg Biffle, 16th; minus-216. Biffle, too, is a long shot. Perhaps strange things can happen and do happen, but I wouldn't look for it here. In his four races at Watkins Glen, his finishes are 38th, 38th, 35th and 30th.
Jamie McMurray, 17th; minus-252. What happened to Jamie Mac? The guy finally wins a race, and his season goes into the tank. His finishes since winning at Daytona are 38th, 33rd and 40th. After his thrilling victory in the Pepsi 400, he was 13th in the standings, 49 points out of 12th. If there is any good news here, it's that McMurray finished third last year and was strong at Sonoma.
Juan Pablo Montoya, 18th; minus-267. Montoya's Chase aspirations are for 2008. However, if he wins Sunday, he will have swept the Cup road races in 2007. He also won the Busch road race in Mexico City (too bad he didn't run the Busch race last week in Montreal). Montoya is always worth watching on road courses. He is running the Busch race on Saturday, too.
Robby Gordon, 29th. Well, what more can be written about Gordon that hasn't been written in the past week? And if you haven't read enough, you will see and hear enough if you tune into the Busch race on Saturday and the Cup race on Sunday. Speaking for me, I can't wait.
Marcos Ambrose. I like Ambrose, and if I were the kind of guy who grilled out, I'd buy some Kingsford Charcoal. I was very impressed with Gordon's gesture of giving Ambrose an opportunity to make his first Cup race in Gordon's No. 77 Ford. Ambrose has road racing experience (in Australia) but none in a Cup car. He finished eighth in the Busch race in Mexico City and seventh last week at Montreal, where he led the most laps and likely would have won if not for Gordon. Unlike for Saturday's Busch race, he must qualify on time to make the Cup race.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Said to drive for Elliott
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Rain washed out Boris Said’s chance to make another Nextel Cup race on Friday. But what rain took away, Bill Elliott gave back.
Elliott, who has been driving the No. 21 Ford for the Wood Brothers the past several weeks, saw Said in the garage Saturday morning and offered him the chance to drive in his place for Sunday’s race and Said agreed.
“I haven’t road-raced since Sonoma and this team is so close to where they need to be,” Elliott said. “Bill Elliott doesn’t need the points, so why should my selfishness take away from this race team if I feel like with Boris, having come off fresh from racing last week and as much as he’s road-raced, I feel he can do better than I could?
"And that’s the reason I did what I did.”
Said practiced in the car Saturday and because of the driver change will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field. Said has one NASCAR road course win, coming at Sonoma, Calif., in the Craftsman Truck series in 1998.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Centurion Boats at The Glen PostQ
It is a position that Tony Stewart has become accustomed too as he enters the Centurion Boats at The Glen as the favorite to take the checkered flag. Stewart is almost always considered to be the favorite when it comes to road course racing and with his current hot streak as well as his prowess on the road courses many feel that he will be tough to beat. Stewart has been quick in the practice sessions and he will likely get the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet to front pretty quickly – and more than likely stay there.
Stewart’s teammate, Denny Hamlin, is close on his heels on the PostQ forecast while sitting a few spots in front of him in the point standings. With the Joe Gibbs Racing pair assured of making the Chase for the Championship each will be competing for a better starting position in the Chase. Hamlin does not have as much experience on the road courses as Stewart but has still performed very well at The Glen finishing 10th here last season as a rookie. He should post a much better finish this time around.
Unfortunately for Boris Said he did not make the race due to the rainout for qualifying. Said, however, will still make the race as he is replacing Bill Elliott in the Wood Brothers Racing #21 car. Said ranks in the top 10 on the PostQ forecast and may have a good chance of posting his first career win as the #21 team has a little more experience than Said own team. As one of the few races that Said will run in expect him to take more chances than the rest.
It is not a good weekend to be a David (or Dave). David Stremme, David Gilliland, David Ragan, and Dave Blaney all rank at the bottom of the PostQ forecast. The David’s are all young so troubles on the road courses are expected. With little experience battling the 11-turn Glen will be tough. Blaney does have a little more experience but has had the struggles of his own driving under the Toyota manufacturer as he has just gotten back into the top 35 in the point standings. Don’t look for any of the four drivers to post a solid run this weekend.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Green Flag: the Glen
Robby Gordon will get to race this week, which is good news for fantasy owners.
Mother Nature put a damper on fantasy owners' list of road racing specialists this week at Watkins Glen International. While "road ringers" Klaus Graf, Marcos Ambrose and Brian Simo were all taken out of the mix without so much as a chance to hit the track in qualification, the biggest hit was almost going to be losing Boris Said. Always a threat to win on a road course, he was outside the top-35 in owners' points and his team was forced to make the long trip home.
Said, however, struck a last minute deal with the Wood Bros., however, and will race this weekend in the No. 21.
Even without some of the ringers, there are still many solid picks this week. The best part about a road course is that it is a great place for dark horses. Almost every time the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series takes to the winding tracks, someone comes out of nowhere to claim a top-10. The dark horses almost never win at The Glen or Infineon Raceway, but their top-10s are still very valuable to fantasy owners.
The best road racers are in Tier One this week. That makes for some hard decisions by fantasy owners. In this group, anyone who has not had a top-five at Watkins Glen in the last three years will lose favor. However, the time is right for some new blood in victory lane.
Tony Stewart is easily the favorite this week. He excels on the road courses like nowhere else and his results prove it. In the last six years, he has five road wins, seven top-10s and he has been a contender at nearly every road race in that span. What's more for this weekend is that he is better at the Glen than Sonoma. In New York, he has three wins since 2002 and, out of eight career starts, he has just two finishes outside the top-10 there. The last time that happened was when he was 11th there in 2003.
In this crowd, Kurt Busch's name slips down the wish list. The way he has been driving on the road courses since joining Penske Racing South suggests that is not the right thinking. Last year, he won the pole at Watkins Glen and had the best car in the field before he had bad luck pitting under green—because NASCAR said it was actually "red." He was in the running for a top-10 at Infineon earlier this year when he ran into trouble with seven laps to go. Before that, he was fifth at Sonoma. The No. 2 Dodge was amazing at Pocono Raceway and drivers who do well there tend to run well at The Glen.
Jeff Burton came through with a top-five at Infineon earlier this summer. That will get him on many fantasy rosters this week, but that is not the wisest choice. While he had a good finish at Sonoma, Watkins Glen has not been kind to him lately. Burton has three top-10s there since 1996, the last of which was a seventh in 2002. With so many better options at Tier One, it will be best to find someone else to fill his roster spot this week.
Robby Gordon is no surprise for a road course, but his best finishes have come at Watkins Glen. In his eight starts there since 1997 (he skipped the 1998 and 1999 events), he has a 2003 win and six top-fives. Just two years ago, he was second to Stewart at te Glen and last year he was fourth. Although he has since switched to Fords, he is still a master of the road courses; he had the best car at Infineon this year but he came up short in the fuel mileage department.
Flat track drivers tend to like road courses and Denny Hamlin is quickly getting the hang of the winding tracks. His first road course start at the Nextel Cup level has been his worst so far; he ran a respectable 12th at Infineon on that day. Since then, he has picked up two straight 10th-place finishes. He has his momentum shifting in the right direction. His third at Pocono snapped a three-race streak of finishes outside the top-10.
Mark Martin is a no-brainer this week. The former 1993, 1994 and 1995 Watkins Glen winner would be a great pick for this weekend's race, but there is a problem: he isn't driving. The veteran is skipping the road races all together this year. Once again, he will be exiting his car in favor of the rookie Regan Smith, who still lacks the experience to be a real threat for a top-20 on the road courses. So stay away from the No. 01 Chevrolet this week.
Jamie McMurray took the pole at Infineon, kept his nose clean ran with the top-10 and was in the lead with less than 20 laps to go. Unfortunately for him, he ran out of gas just seven circuits from the finish and went home 37th. At Infineon, he showed what he has shown for years on the winding tracks—talent. He was third at the Glen last year and was second at Infineon in 2004. Between those runs, he had four consecutive top-20s on the road courses. Don't overlook him this weekend.
Brian Vickers will have a long way to go to get to the front at Watkins Glen, but this is a track where he can overcome Toyota's disadvantages. His last two outings in New York have seen him finish eighth in 2005 and a respectable 16th in 2006. He failed to qualify at Infineon in June, so his 36th-place start is a slight improvement. Don't look for him to be a top-10 car, but he has a legitimate chance at scoring a top-20.
Three years ago, Casey Mears looked like he was going to be a real threat on the road courses. In just his second year on the senior tour, he scored a seventh at Infineon and a fourth at the Glen. Since then, he has been immensely disappointing. Over the past five races, he has just two top-20s. Hendrick Motorsports typically fields good cars on the road courses, but Mears could not muster anything better than a 27th at Infineon this year. This is one former open-wheel racer who is not a good pick for the Glen.
Ricky Rudd knows how to take cars to the winner's circle on a road course. His last win came at Infineon in 2002 driving the No. 28 Ford. While in the No. 21 Ford, he picked up an eight at The Glen in 2004 and a second at Sonoma the following year. Although he skipped the 2006 events, he got right back on his horse this year. Rudd pulled off an impressive 11th at Infineon this year, thus giving him nine top-20s in his last 11 road course starts.
Elliott Sadler is actually a very strong road races and he has a string of top-15s on this type of course to prove as much. A top-15 might not recommend him in one of the top tiers, but it's kind of slim pickings this week in Tier Four. Skill trumps horsepower on the road courses, and that might be his saving grace.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Centurion Boats at the Glen: Let's Get Physical
by Brian Gabrielle
Road-course events aren't that fun to watch in Nextel Cup racing, but they're pretty fun to bet on. You see, only a handful of drivers have a real chance at winning Sunday at Watkins Glen, because only a handful of drivers even want to be there. Everyone else comes to road courses because NASCAR makes them; otherwise they'd no doubt rather be ATVing on their multimillion-dollar estates, eating barbecue at a five-star rib restaurant, or trying on gold-lamee pants at Sam's Club.
And the field of possible winners shrunk on Friday, when Mother Nature decreed that qualifying would get rained out. That meant road-course ringers like Brian Simo, Marcos Ambrose, Klaus Graf and A.J. Allmendinger weren't even given a chance to make the field. Among the road-course ringers, only Ron Fellows, who'll drive Tony Raines's #98 car, Boris Said, who'll slide behind the wheel of Bill Elliott's ride, and Patrick Carpentier, who'll race in his first-ever Nextel Cup event in David Stremme's #40, will be in the event. Said and Fellows number among the guys who can win; Carpentier does not.
Let's take a look at the best bets on Sunday's board for the Glen.
Last Week: Kurt Busch was dominant Sunday, much to our pleasure. We had Busch at +1134, which made it a profitable week all around, despite the fact that Jimmie Johnson passed Tony Stewart in the race's final few laps, which ruined our head-to-head wager. Nevertheless, we profited 0.56 units on 1.5 units wagered, a return of 37.3% for the week. For the season, we stand at a positive 5.43 units on 31.5 units wagered, a return of 17.2%. (Note that if you'd eschewed the conservative betting scheme we outline below, and simply bet one unit on each of the wagers we recommended, you'd have netted a positive 8.34 units last week on four units wagered, a return of 208.5%, and for the season you'd be up 30.41 units on 84 units wagered, a return of 36.2%. Note, of course, that such a betting pattern is subject to a lot more volatility.)
Take Tony Stewart (+280), 1/6th unit. It's not a ton of fun to take the heavy favorite in an event where 42 other results will lead to a frowny-face, but Smoke is this good at Watkins Glen. He's won three of the last five races here, and came in second last summer. While Sonoma, the other road course on the Nextel Cup schedule, is a more technical track, the Glen rewards aggression and muscling your car, and nobody does gets physical better than Stewart. He's the guy to beat.
Take Kevin Harvick (+918), 1/6th unit. For the defending race winner and a guy who's swept the last two Busch Series road-course events in two consecutive weekends (including this Saturday), Harvick's not getting a ton of love from the oddsmakers. But I'll give him a shout out. He's a great flat-track driver, which translates well to road courses, and like Stewart, he's known as an aggressive guy who likes to muscle his car around. Happy may not win this race, but these odds are a bargain.
Take Robby Gordon (+918), 1/6th unit. I understand these odds a little better; Gordon is coming off a Busch road event last weekend where he blew a personal gasket, disobeyed NASCAR officials, did a burnout alongside actual race winner Harvick, and got suspended for last week's Cup race. Let's just say he might be distracted. Nevertheless, Gordon has won at the Glen on the Nextel Cup circuit, and in his last five tries here, has finished in the top-four four times. That's pretty great, and never discount the revenge angle. Gordon would like nothing more than to get in Victory Lane in front of other possible winners like Stewart, Harvick, Juan Pablo Montoya (+486), Jeff Gordon (+609), Ron Fellows (+2626), Boris Said (+2626) and Denny Hamlin (+1653) and apologize to the world. Or, you know, flip it the bird.
Re: Centurion Boats at the Glen News and Note
Stewart benefits from Gordon error
August 12th, 2007
Watkins Glen, NY (Sports Network) - Tony Stewart watched as Jeff Gordon slid off the track with two laps to go and the No.20 Joe Gibbs Racing driver went on to capture Sunday's Centurion Boats at the Glen Nextel Cup race at the Watkins Glen International road course. The Home Depot Chevrolet took the checkered flag 0.464 seconds ahead of Denny Hamlin.
The victory was Stewart's third of the season, fourth at Watkins Glen and 32nd of his "Cup" career.
"Jeff and I by far had the best two cars," said Stewart. "We kept the pressure on Jeff and hoped he made a mistake and that's what happened."
After pole qualifying was rained out, Gordon was awarded the pole based on owner points and he brought the field to the green flag for 90 laps of racing. But Matt Kenseth beat him to the first corner and came out of it in first. Down the back straight, Gordon got it back and he completed the first lap as the leader.
Gordon continued to show the way with Hamlin and Stewart second and third, respectively. Kenseth's Ford was way too loose and he fell back through the top-10. Moving up into the top-10 were Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch. Also charging forward was Juan Pablo Montoya who cracked the top-10 on lap eight.
Stewart got around Hamlin and took off after Gordon. Following a caution flag (David Ragan spin) Stewart easily beat Gordon into the first turn and the lead was his. The No.20 Home Depot Chevrolet quickly built the margin to two seconds.
Brian Vickers brought out the second caution flag on lap 24 and most of the leaders took advantage of the flag to make their first of two pit stops on the afternoon.
Seven cars had stopped earlier or were still waiting for their pit window and behind Jamie McMurray held the top seven spots. But Gordon and Stewart quickly knifed their way up the charts.
By lap 30 Gordon was third and Stewart fifth. A lap later they were second and third. They were both chasing Patrick Carpentier. Finally on lap 38 the Canadian pitted and it was Stewart, who got by Gordon, in control.
This time Stewart didn't run away and hide from Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. who was in third place. They could stay with Stewart, but was the No.20 Chevrolet just pacing himself for the end?
Inexplicably, Stewart made a mistake and spun on lap 45 in turn one, falling from first to 19th place. That gave the lead to Gordon once again. Gordon built his lead to one second on "Junior" and three seconds on Jimmie Johnson as the field passed the 50-lap mark.
Meanwhile, Stewart began the long trek back up the charts, trying to do it without abusing his Chevy for the final laps.
A caution flag on lap 52 (Reed Sorenson and Johnson spin) left 38 laps to the checkered flag.
Pit road was busy as Gordon led the parade down pit lane in which almost every car stopped. They would all take the gamble on fuel hoping to reach the end from there.
The four drivers who didn't stop, Bobby Labonte, Jeremy Mayfield, Kasey Kahne and Dave Blaney held the top positions.
Of those earlier leaders, Gordon edged Earnhardt Jr. and Hamlin off pit road. Looming big behind the leaders was Montoya.
Gordon was flying and by lap 60 only Mayfield was left in front of him. He passed Mayfield with ease, but Gordon couldn't relax. Behind him was Kurt Busch, "Junior" and Carl Edwards. Also in the top-10 were Montoya and "angry driver" by the name of Stewart.
By lap 63 Stewart was in seventh, just behind Montoya. Earnhardt Jr. came to the first turn on the same lap and suddenly slowed. He appeared to be coasting without power and the caution flag came out.
"It looks like the engine blew," said an unhappy crew chief Tony Eury Jr.
The result for Earnhardt Jr. was a 42nd-place finish and a disaster for his "Chase" hopes.
Kurt Busch took advantage of the Earnhardt problem and refueled to guarantee he could make it to the checkered flag. Smart "insurance" by a smart team.
Stewart made quick work of Montoya and was in fourth behind Gordon, Hamlin and Edwards. With 23 laps to go, Stewart made a spectacular pass, both on and off the course, of Edwards for third place.
But a caution flag when Kyle Petty blew his engine gave everyone a chance to catch their breath and set up the battle for the win.
The race restarted with 18 laps to go, but they couldn't get past the first turn before another caution flag. This one started when Truex Jr. got into the back of Montoya and sent him into the turn too fast hitting Harvick. The two got out of their cars and started pushing and yelling at each other.
Finally, Montoya got back in his car and drove away but only a few feet further and his day was essentially done. Others that suffered damage included Jeff Burton and Jamie McMurray.
The race was red-flagged for the multi-car cleanup and it gave everyone a chance to calm down for the final laps.
The restart came with 13 laps remaining. Somehow, despite one car spinning, they got through the first turn without a caution flag.
Gordon, Hamlin and Stewart were nose to tail. Stewart got side-by-side with Hamlin in turn 10 and beat him the start/finish line for second place.
Still, Gordon had about an eight-length lead, but that wasn't enough with still 12 laps to go.
The action was furious, but with 10 laps to go, P.J. Jones spun into the gravel trap and the yellow flew once again. He appeared to have help from Kurt Busch.
The green flag dropped with eight to go and Stewart was stuck on Gordon's rear bumper like glue.
Slowly, every so slowly, Gordon pulled away from Stewart. With five laps to go he held 0.523 seconds (four lengths). A lap later in was 0.590 seconds.
Then Gordon went too deep into turn one on lap 89 and the race was between Stewart and Edwards for the win.
"I just overdrove it into (turn) one, pretty much the same thing that happened to Tony," said Gordon on his way back to the garage. "We're right on the edge in the braking zone getting into one...just stupid. Tony was really good and I really wanted the win."
"I gave it away and got it back the same way I lost it," said Stewart.
On the final lap Edwards was about two lengths back going into turn 10 and went way too deep running through the gravel trap. Stewart cruised to the win and somehow Edwards still finished eighth.
Johnson, Ron Fellows and Robby Gordon completed the top-five while points leader Jeff Gordon finished ninth.
The next race is the series is set for Sunday, August 19th at the Michigan International Speedway.