Race: Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Picks
Date: Sunday August 7, 2016
Track: Watkins Glen International
Time: 2:30 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
What a shocker! The race was postponed until Monday due to weather. In an actual surprise finish, Chris Buescher took the win after the race was ultimately shortened again…because of weather. Brad Keselowski, Regan Smith, Kevin Harvick, and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five. It was one of those races where strategy really made a big difference in the results, but luck was most certainly Buescher's best friend. Other drivers didn't fare as well. Joey Logano, who had one of the fastest cars on the track, was taken out by a loose Chase Elliott. The tunnel turn was also a place of contention for many drivers, leading quite a few guys to the wall.
Overall, I'm still a little peeved with NASCAR for running 2 races a year at this place. I've honestly never been a fan of Pocono. I know it's "different" in terms of it configuration, but it's really getting old seeing the races either postponed or shortened due to weather every single time. I'd love to see NASCAR rethink the second slot and put racing back at another more exciting track. The most excitement I remember out of Pocono anyway was when Jeff Gordon lost his brakes and plowed the wall at 200 mph. Other than that, most of the 'racing' here is a bit cringeworthy. Maybe I'm being harsh, but having watched these races for the better part of 20 years, there's more out there that NASCAR should explore. It may even help their bottom line in terms of reaching out to more people and providing some better and more accommodating race conditions that don't constantly involve rain or fog.
Now that I got that off my chest, let's move on to this weekend's race. We are heading to Watkins Glen for another road race. As you may recall, Brad Keselowski was testing the road course last week for the upcoming race and lost brakes, ultimately hitting the wall harder than I've seen in quite a long time at a road course. He was okay, but it certainly brings safety to the forefront once again, as drivers fight for safer barriers through all parts of the track and at every track. NASCAR has done a good job of implementing safer barriers throughout most of the tracks, but there are still some gaps that need to be addressed. Regardless, I'm sure Keselowski is ready to move on to this track after his second place finish at Pocono. This track is 2.454 miles with 8 total turns in the NASCAR series. The configuration is different depending on which series is running at the track. I actually like this track better than Sonoma because I feel like there are more passing opportunities as long as the drivers are aggressive enough to take them. The issue with any road course is always going to be fuel strategy and tire wear. We are going to see a plethora of different strategies when it comes to those 2 elements.
When it comes to winners this weekend, the internet is blowing up with AJ Allmendinger as the man to beat. Now, while I do think that he will certainly be very aggressive and be a strong contender, we really need to think about the rest of his season. While he won here in 2014 and has actually done well over the last couple of years, he has really had a pretty decent season at the other tracks. This year, well, not so much. If I had to take a guess, I'd venture to say that he will most certainly have the best finish of his season if he stays out of trouble. He is undoubtedly very good at road courses, and certainly here at Watkins Glen. That being said, the remainder of his season can't be ignored. I definitely think that he's a solid middle of the road pick and definitely the best of the group. When it comes down to it, though, Joey Logano is nothing to sneeze at. He's the defending winner here. He had one of the fastest cars at Pocono last weekend before being taken out by Elliott. He's really in a good spot to defend his title. His partner in crime, Brad Keselowski, is going to be one to watch as well. Here's a look at your potential winners this weekend:
My Pick to Win: Joey Logano
Middle of the Road Pick: AJ Allmendinger
Dark Horse Prediction: Kyle Larson. Bet your pick to win using your credit card at one of the web's best and most trusted auto racing betting sites: MyBookie (You get a 50% bonus too!)
Larson has raced twice here at the Glen. He's got an average finish of 8th, and after some dominance last weekend at Pocono and through the rest of the season at times, this could be a great opportunity for him. AJ Allmendinger is going to be aggressive. This is his element more-so than the ovals. Look for him to get to the front of the pack one way or another. Logano, however, is going to be dominant. The Penske team, in general, will likely stand out. There will be a lot to watch from other teams like the Gibbs drivers, as Kyle Busch loves these tracks as well. With so much at stake in the points, it's hard to say how conservative or aggressive some of these drivers might be.
Here are your current top 16 after last week's race:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Kurt Busch
4. Kyle Busch
5. Carl Edwards
6. Joey Logano
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Austin Dillon
12. Ryan Newman
13. Chase Elliott
14. Jamie McMurray
15. Kyle Larson
16. Kasey Kahne
There are a lot of elements to the next few races when it comes to the points. While Buescher was able to secure a win, his next battle is to get into the top 30 in the standings to be relevant enough to participate in the Chase. That means drivers like Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, and Kasey Kahne may just be bumped because they are lacking wins. Those last few win positions are critical, and these drivers are going to have to be aggressive to some degree to get in on the wins or they're going to be out of the Chase just like that. Another element to this whole story playing out is the continued saga of Dale Jr. He will be missing the next 2 races as well, with Jeff Gordon piloting at the Glen and also at Bristol. Don't discount Gordon either. Although strategy and a not so great setup failed him at Pocono, this man has records here at the Glen. If there ever was a stock car driver that dominated the road course, it's Jeff. Look for him to be competitive this weekend, staying to the front of the pack as well. Stay tuned this weekend for a wild ride as we head to Watkins Glen for the final road course of the season. For the largest selection of NASCAR wagering options each week, check out 5Dimes.
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