NASCAR Cup Series Racing on the Road Course at Watkins Glen

NASCAR Cup Cars racing at Watkins Glen International 8-21-22
NASCAR Cup Cars racing at Watkins Glen International 8-21-22 (Photo credit: YouTube)

The NASCAR Cup Series is racing a road course for the second week in a row. This week is the Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.

Last week Michael McDowell raced his way into the Playoffs with a win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. This week many other drivers are hoping to be able to do the same. In order to achieve that goal, they will have to survive all the turns of Watkins Glen International and have the right pit strategy to be there at the end.

Here is what the drivers and teams will have to plan for on the track and in the race this weekend.

Watkins Glen International Data:
Track Size: 2.45-miles
Track Type: Multi-Elevational Road Course
Number of Turns: 7

Go Bowling at The Glen Data:
Season Race #: 25 of 36 (08-20-23)
Race Length: 90 laps / 220.5 miles
Stage 1 & 2 Lengths: 20 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 50 laps

Here are the active drivers who have won a Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.

Kyle Larson2 Wins2022, 2021
Chase Elliott2 Wins2019, 2018
Kyle Busch2 Wins2013, 2008
Martin Truex Jr1 Win2017
Denny Hamlin1 Win2016
Joey Logano1 Win2015
AJ Allmendinger1 Win2014
Kevin Harvick1 Win2006

Chase Elliott is considered one of (if not THE) best road racer among active drivers in the Cup Series right now. He is third on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series Road Race Wins list behind Jeff Gordon (9 wins) and Tony Stewart (8 Wins). Chase has seven road course wins in his Cup Series career. You can see on the list above that two of those came at Watkins Glen. In fact, his first Cup Series win was his 2018 win at this track. Chase has to win one of the final two races of the regular season if he wants to make the post-season. He finished second in last week’s road course race in Indianapolis. Can he improve that finishing position by one to win to get in the Playoffs this week?

There are other drivers who are good at road course racing. AJ Almendinger and Aric Almirola to name a couple. These drivers also need a win to get in the Playoffs. Will it be one of those making it to Victory Lane this week?

Bubba Wallace is 28 points above the cut line for the Playoffs. Daniel Suárez is 28 points below that line. Bubba is not that great at road course racing. Daniel is decent on the road courses. These two drivers could switch positions at the cut line without either winning.

Last year’s race at Watkins Glen started in the rain. This year the weather forecast says it will be mostly sunny for the race. That means how the race plays out will be in the hands of the drivers and the pit crews completely. The only questions are which one will find the way to Victory Lane and will that shuffle the Playoff outlook?

We will find out starting at 2 p.m. central time (3 p.m. eastern time) Sunday, August 20th in the Go Bowling at the Glen at Watkins Glen International.

By: Buck Stevens

Buck Stevens