Heluva Good at the Glen Preview and Picks

Race: Heluva Good! At the Glen
Date: Sunday August 9th, 2009
Track: Watkins Glen International
Time: 1 pm ET
Channel: ESPN

by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

This weekend, we are headed to our second road course of the season. This time, it’s Watkins Glen, a 2.45 mile course with 11 turns. This is a heck of a lot different than any oval track, and if you’re an IRL fan, here’s your chance to enjoy a NASCAR race and watch the guys turn both ways.

For the drivers, this track is either loved or hated. Guys like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Juan Montoya love this track about as much as they love Daytona or Indy. It’s so much fun to watch the guys get around the turns and knock into each other without NASCAR giving them some stupid fine or penalty for actually racing. Sorry, NASCAR. I come from the school where rubbin’ is racin’.

I like the road courses because drivers can do things like move each other on the track and NASCAR gives a little more leeway before penalizing someone for rough driving. You will see the drivers get spun around, knocked into the sand pits, and NASCAR will not throw a caution. That’s another good thing about these types of races. Because the track is so long, someone can spin out but have enough time to get back onto the track without interfering with the rest of the race. It keeps things moving and keeps things exciting.

As far as picks this week, there are a lot of potential winners here. Gordon is extremely strong at this particular road course. I am looking for him to have a top 3 finish this weekend, but I’m not quite sure if he can bring it to victory lane. Juan Pablo is going to be a strong force because of his background on these types of courses. Over the past few weekends, he’s also proven that he has gotten stronger and stronger on the ovals. It’s a good sign for him that he’s getting more comfortable with NASCAR. Marcos Ambrose is also someone to watch and someone who will more than likely have a strong top 10 finish.

My pick: Tony Stewart.

Although those other guys are great drivers and will most definitely have great finishes, Tony Stewart is the man on the move. He’s extremely passionate about this track, and always finds his way to the front. One of my favorite racing moments is from the Glen watching him and Jeff Gordon battle it out for the win. I love watching Stewart race here. It’s a track that he has mastered and one that he loves coming to. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he’s going to have a great weekend. For all of you saying that I pick him too much, check out the stats. When I pick him, he wins or does extremely well in his head to head matchups. I really do believe that he’s the guy to beat. Another important note, I am by no means a Stewart fan so my bias is not with this driver.

Here’s a recap of your current top 12 in the points:

1. Tony Stewart
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kurt Busch
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Carl Edwards
7. Kasey Kahne
8. Juan Montoya
9. Ryan Newman
10. Mark Martin
11. Matt Kenseth
12. Greg Biffle

As we edge closer and closer to the Chase, these guys need to get some strategy going. This weekend, look for fuel to be a major concern. Road courses are fuel mileage battles. This one is sure to shake up the points.