GoBowling at The Glen Picks & Preview
Race: GoBowling at The Glen
Date: Sunday August 5th, 2018
Track: Watkins Glen International
Time: 3 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Pocono finished in overtime, with none other than Kyle Busch taking the checkered flag. Not that we should be surprised. I mean, it’s not like he’d let a little thing like failing post-qualifying inspection and starting at the back of the field slow him down. This is Kyle Busch we’re talking about. In fact, a total of 13 cars failed inspection. Quite frankly, this got on my nerves as a fan. I’m so tired of NASCAR nit-picking these drivers and these teams. Why not just do like IROC and give everyone an identical car? If these guys are able to qualify but then fail inspection afterwards, what in the world is NASCAR doing? And not only that, it wasn’t one or two cars. THIRTEEN cars failed inspection. That’s ridiculous. Come on, NASCAR. You’ve got to do better.
Regardless, Kyle Busch had no problem getting himself to the front of the pack. Kevin Harvick seemed to dominate in a good portion of the race, but it was clear to the end that Busch had the dominant car. Chase Elliott was another driver that had early success in the race, taking home a stage win, but he just couldn’t find that long run speed to keep him competitive to the end. That seems to be a continuing problem for Elliott, along with most of the Chevrolet drivers. They fade when it comes down to a longer run. It’s getting better as the year progresses, but it’s certainly a learning curve that the Chevrolet teams have battled from the beginning of the year.
This weekend, we are heading to Watkins Glen for another go at road courses. This is always one of my favorite tracks. It’s a place that gives both the drivers and the fans a little break from the monotony of oval track racing. That being said, there’s a little bit of contention amongst the drivers as to the appropriateness of road courses in the Cup series. Some drivers really do not believe that there’s a place for these tracks, especially since they’re not represented in the Chase. That’s my point to the whole thing. I love love love road course racing and think it’s a great thing to see the drivers tackle a different style of racing, BUT I also think that NASCAR should represent all forms of racing that the drivers have to do throughout the season in the Chase. Why would this race count for points and potentially include or remove someone from the Chase if there isn’t one of these tracks for them to compete on for the championship? Okay, NASCAR, the ball’s in your court.
But I digress. The drivers will ultimately race here regardless of anyone’s feelings this weekend. They will be racing on the short course with the inner loop. This has been the layout at this place from 1992 until now. It is comprised of a 2.454 mile asphalt course with 8 very different turns. Yes, that’s right. The drivers will have to turn both left and right this weekend. This is quite the variation from what we typically see. There are a few drivers who embrace this change and are quite experienced and successful at this place. Several of those drivers often turn into our dark horse picks for the week, as their success on the ovals isn’t as frequent. The guys that will excel here are those few odd ball drivers but then our Big Three. Kyle Busch is the one
to beat this weekend. He’s just on fire. With six wins like Harvick, Busch is one of the drivers that has the aggressiveness needed but the skills to accompany that to really make a great race. Kyle Busch has two wins here along with eleven total top ten finishes out of 13 total starts here. That’s pretty awesome. Let’s take a look at your potential winners this weekend heading into The Glen.
My Pick to Win: Kyle Busch
Middle of the Road Pick: Clint Bowyer
Dark Horse Prediction: AJ Allmendinger
Allmendinger is dangerous here. In fact, he’s got the best average finishing position of any active driver here. He’s won here as well. With a total of 3 top 5s and 6 top 10s, Allmendinger should absolutely be on your roster this weekend. When it comes to Clint Bowyer, he’s another one of those guys who does well on the more difficult tracks. Short tracks and road courses are where he tends to excel. As a driver that looks forward to coming to the road courses, you can bet that Bowyer will be at the front of the pack on Sunday. What it all boils down to is whether or not they can catch and move Kyle Busch because you can bet your bottoms if Busch is out front, you’re going to catch hell trying to pass him.
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Joey Logano
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kurt Busch
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Kyle Larson
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Ryan Blaney
11. Aric Almirola
12. Chase Elliott
13. Jimmie Johnson
14. Erik Jones
15. Alex Bowman
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The most interesting part of The Glen is that unpredictable nature that it tends to have on the Chase situation. Much like a restrictor plate track, road courses throw a wrench into the standings and the finishes of many of the drivers, oftentimes producing winners that seemingly shouldn’t be moving forward. That’s, again, just another reason why I think that this race should have representation in the Chase. Maybe that’s something that NASCAR will contemplate in the future. For now, they’re too busy trying to nail as many drivers as possible for post-qualifying inspection failures. Hey, NASCAR, if you penalize enough of the field, the field won’t even have to reset! Okay, I’m done chastising NASCAR for now. Until next time, let us enjoy the racing this weekend as fans and drivers head to The Glen!