NASCAR returns to one of its more historic tracks Sunday when the Go Bowling at The Glen takes place at Watkins Glen.
The first race at Watkins Glen occurred in 1957 when Elzie Wylie “Buck’’ Baker, who our own Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker fondly refers to as “Uncle Buck’’ took the checkered flag.
Mark Martin won three straight races here from 1993-95 and Jeff Gordon pulled off the trifecta between 1997-99, since then it’s pretty wide open for the drivers.
And while Chevy leads all-time with 18 wins at The Glen, the last 10 years have seen four wins by Chevy, three by Ford and three by Toyota.
Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., tied for most wins this season with four each, come in as the two favorites at 5-2 and 7-2 respectively, but it’s really anyone’s race.
Playoff Push: Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman, with 532 points each, are currently tied for the final two playoff spots at 15th and 16th place. Jimmie Johnson is 17th with 520 points and Daniel Suarez is next at 501.
Here’s a quick look at each of the contending drivers.
Bowyer: He moved into a tie with Newman last week. In 13 races at WG, he has two top 10s and two top 5 finishes.
Newman: He’s hanging on for dear life. And in 17 races here he has just one top 5 and three top 10s.
Johnson: The veteran picked up five points last week and needs to do at least that well again. He has a new crew chief in Cliff Daniels and has eight top 10 and four top 5 finishes at The Glen. But he’s been 28th, or worse, four of the past five years.
Suarez: He needs to make his move this week. In two races at WG he’s finished third and fourth.
Here’s this week’s picks for the winner, top three, top five and your fantasy leagues with help of course from “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney.
Martin Truex Jr. (7-2): We’re back on the New Jersey native, as all of the Eckel 3 had him either first, or second. Truex won here in 2017, finished second last year and has been great on road courses.
Kyle Busch (5-2): The odds tell you something, but it’s not a great value play. Still it’s better to have the winner at a short price than the loser at a long price, right? And it wouldn’t shock anyone, especially “Tobacco Road’’ to see Busch take the checkered flag.
Denny Hamlin (10-1): Coming off last week’s win at Pocono, Hamlin looks to make it two straight at a track he won at in 2016 and finished fourth in 2017. Don’t overlook him here.
Longshot Play(s): Kyle Larson (30-1); Daniel Suarez (25-1). Larson qualified well and Suarez has finished third and fourth here in his only two starts.
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