Commentary

Garrow: Watkins Glen's trends and notes

Updated: August 5, 2008, 2:01 PM ET
By Mark Garrow | Jayski.com

Background

• Watkins Glen is the 22nd race of 36 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008.
• It is the second of two road course races this season.
• This is the 26th time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has competed at Watkins Glen since 1957.
• The Glen is a 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course.
• 46 drivers are on the pre-entry list to compete for one of the 43 starting slots in Sunday's 90-lap, 220-mile race. Of those 46 entrants, 11 must qualify for Sunday's field based on time. They are: Michael McDowell, Patrick Carpentier, Marcos Ambrose, Brian Simo, Kyle Petty, Boris Said, Max Papis, Joe Nemechek, Regan Smith, AJ Allmendinger and J.J. Yeley.
• Regan Smith normally drives the No. 01 for DEI, but has switched to the No. 81 this weekend. Last week's NASCAR Nationwide Series winner at Montreal, Ron Fellows, is driving the No. 01 and is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's field based on owners' points.
• On the bubble for the top 35 in owners' points this week are:

31. Robby Gordon/RGM 1688, +115
32. Regan Smith/DEI: 1660, +87 (Ron Fellows is driving the 01 this week)
33. Michael Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 1636, +63
34. Sam Hornish/Penske Racing: 1607, +34
35. Scott Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1577, 4 points ahead of 36th

These teams/drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top 35:

36. Michael McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1573, 4 points out of 35th
37. AJ Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1539, -38
38. J.J. Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing: 1381, -196

• Max Papis is driving the No. 70 car this weekend and Brian Simo is driving the No. 34.
• There are no past champions in the field this weekend who must get into Sunday's race based on time or their past champions' provisional, as Marcos Ambrose is driving the No. 21 and Kyle Petty has returned to the No. 45.
Tony Stewart is the defending winner of this race and with his 2007 win, tied Jeff Gordon for the most ever wins here (4). Of the drivers with five or more starts here, Stewart leads all active competitors with an average finish of 6.1 and an average starting position of 5.1. He has also finished all nine of his races here on the lead lap. Gordon has led the most laps at the Glen with 227.
Mark Martin is also one of the best drivers at this road course statistically, leading all active drivers in top-10s (16), top-5s (12), poles (three), and lead-lap finishes (18).
• Of the road course "ringers" in this week's field, Boris Said has the best average finish with a 21.6 in seven starts. Scott Pruett has the highest average finish of any driver with five or more starts here (5.8), but is not currently scheduled to race this weekend.
• Of the drivers guaranteed to make Sunday's race who have five or more starts here, Greg Biffle has the worst average finish (30.2). Kyle Petty has the worst average finish of the go-or-go-home drivers (25.0), while Joe Nemechek has the best average finish of the go-or-go-homers with a 20.7.

Watkins Glen previous winners

• There are FIVE drivers entered to race at the Glen with 11 wins among them.

Driver Watkins Glen wins
Jeff Gordon 4 - 1997-99, 2001
Tony Stewart 4 - 2002, '04, '05, '07
Robby Gordon 1 - 2003
Kevin Harvick 1 - 2006
Kyle Petty 1 - 1992

Past 4 races at Watkins Glen

POS 2007 2006 2005 2004
1 Tony Stewart Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Tony Stewart
2 Denny Hamlin Tony Stewart Robby Gordon Ron Fellows
3 Jimmie Johnson Jamie McMurray Boris Said Mark Martin
4 Ron Fellows Robby Gordon Scott Pruett Casey Mears
5 Robby Gordon Carl Edwards Jimmie Johnson Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6 Martin Truex Jr. Scott Pruett Rusty Wallace Kevin Harvick
7 Kyle Busch Elliott Sadler Mark Martin Jeremy Mayfield
8 Carl Edwards Ryan Newman Brian Vickers Ricky Rudd
9 Jeff Gordon Kyle Busch Joe Nemechek Matt Kenseth
10 Greg Biffle Denny Hamlin Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kurt Busch
11 Kurt Busch Jeff Burton Jeremy Mayfield Bobby Labonte
12 Matt Kenseth Reed Sorenson Elliott Sadler Jeff Burton
13 Ryan Newman Jeff Gordon Jamie McMurray Jamie McMurray
14 Boris Said Clint Bowyer Jeff Gordon Kasey Kahne
15 Casey Mears Jeff Green Kevin Harvick Elliott Sadler
16 Clint Bowyer Brian Vickers Ricky Rudd Robby Gordon
17 Elliott Sadler Jimmie Johnson Kasey Kahne Jeff Green
18 J.J. Yeley Dale Earnhardt Jr. Matt Kenseth Kyle Petty
19 Paul Menard Kurt Busch Carl Edwards Scott Wimmer
20 Jeff Green Mark Martin Kyle Petty Michael Waltrip
21 David Stremme Matt Kenseth Scott Wimmer Jeff Gordon
22 Patrick Carpentier Kasey Kahne Dale Jarrett Joe Nemechek
23 Johnny Sauter Scott Riggs Casey Mears Scott Riggs
24 Bobby Labonte Bobby Labonte Jeff Green Dave Blaney
25 P.J. Jones Scott Wimmer Ron Fellows Rusty Wallace

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-10 recap
  1. Kyle Busch (3,059) finished 36th at Pocono Sunday, maintaining his lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings. Busch has three starts at the Glen with two top-10s and an average finish of 16.3.
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-176) finished 12th this Sunday at Pocono and remains second in the Cup Series standings. In eight starts here, Earnhardt has three top-10s, two top-5s and an average finish of 20.6.
  3. Carl Edwards (-185) was the winner Sunday at Pocono and moves up two positions to third in the Cup Series standings. Edwards has three starts here with two top-10s, a top-5 and an average finish of 10.6.
  4. Jimmie Johnson (-200) finished third at Pocono and remains fourth in the Cup Series standings. In three starts here, Johnson has three top-5s with an average finish of 14.2.
  5. Jeff Burton (-226) finished 21st at Pocono and fell two places to fifth in the Cup Series standings. Burton has 14 starts at the Glen with three top-10s, two top-5s and an average finish of 21.3.
  6. Jeff Gordon (-381) finished 10th at Pocono and remains sixth in the Cup Series standings. In 15 starts here, Gordon has eight top-10s, six top-5s, four wins and an average finish of 12.4.
  7. Kasey Kahne (-467) finished seventh at Pocono, moving up two places in the Cup Series standings to seventh. Kahne has four starts here with an average finish of 19.8.
  8. Greg Biffle (-470) finished 13th at Pocono Sunday and falls one spot to eighth in the Cup Series standings. Biffle has five starts here with one top-5 and an average finish of 30.2.
  9. Tony Stewart (-490) was the runner-up Sunday at Pocono and moved up one spot to ninth in the Cup Series standings. Stewart has nine starts here with seven top-10s, five top-5s, four wins and an average start of 6.1.
  10. Denny Hamlin (-512) finished 23rd at Pocono and falls two places to 10th in the Cup Series standings. Hamlin has two starts here, finishing 10th and second, respectively.

Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.

Mark Garrow

Fantasy Racing
Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.