The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Motorsports Venues - A Story For Every Watkins Glen Turn

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Watkins, August 10, 2011: Fast and fickle, Watkins Glen offers up a test unlike any race track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. One of two road-course races on the calendar (Infineon Raceway’s the other), The Glen provides a seven-turn challenge to the world’s best drivers. It’s only fitting that there’s a storyline for every turn…

Keselowski Toughs It Out…Now What?: Navigating the Tricky Triangle of Pocono Raceway with a broken left ankle, Brad Keselowski won his second race of the season, placing him atop the Wild Card standings. A new – and arguably tougher – challenge awaits Keselowski. Road course races put greater emphasis on braking, putting possible added strain on the injured ankle. Said Keselowski, “It will still be uncomfortable in the car this weekend, but I’ll have to man up one more time because we don’t have time to let injuries get in the way of making the Chase.”

Wild Card Watch: After race No. 26, the top 10 drivers will earn spots in the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Spots 11 and 12 will go to those drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, provided they are in the top 20. Keselowski’s two wins currently give him the first spot. Denny Hamlin, with his Michigan win, holds onto the second. Two other winners fit the criteria: Paul Menard and David Ragan. The tie-breaker is points.

Montoya, Ambrose Aim For Wild Card Win: Watch for defending race-winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Marcos Ambrose on Sunday. Montoya, now 21st in points, has finished in the top 10 in each of the last three Watkins Glen races. Ambrose, 23rd in points, has finished third, second and third in his three races at the upstate New York track. He has won the last three NASCAR Nationwide Series race there, though. A win by either driver puts them in the Chase discussion.

Stewart King Of The Glen: You know you’re good when a seventh-place finish is considered disappointing. That was Tony Stewart’s finish last season at Watkins Glen, a stark departure from his usual dominance. Going into that race, Stewart had finished first or second in six consecutive races. Looking for his first win of the season, Stewart is among six drivers who won in 2010 but remain winless in 2011. The others: Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann, Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Johnson, Busch Clash In Drama-Filled Feud: Rough racing led to tough talk at the conclusion of Sunday’s race at Pocono. Johnson didn’t care for how Busch raced him. And Busch didn’t understand why Johnson had a problem. Said Johnson, “I worked him over for 10 or 15 laps and had the opportunity to run him and never did it. And then off of [Turn] 2, he claims I turned down off of him. I don't have a clue. He ran over me on the corner exit and that's where it all started. So we'll figure it out. ... I keep all things polite. Remember this stuff.” Said Busch, “I was racing him flat out. You want to race, let's race. I didn't know we were supposed to pull over when it came down to five to go. … Why can't we race each other like this and put on a little show for the fans and not have a problem with it?”

Junior Hangs Onto 10th: At Pocono, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished in the top 10 for the first time in six races. The finish helped the Chase cause…big time. Though he remained in 10th, he put some distance between himself and 11th-place. He now sits 23 points ahead of 11th-place Hamlin. Two races ago, the advantage was just seven.

Sprint Summer Showdown Goes Road Racing: The winners of Indy, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol are eligible for the massive prize at Atlanta -- $3 million, split between the driver, the driver’s charity, and one lucky fan. If one of those eligible drivers wins at Atlanta, the bonus is theirs. So far, Menard (Indianapolis) and Keselowski (Pocono) are eligible. Who’s next? The top five in Driver Rating at Watkins Glen: Tony Stewart (129.6), Juan Pablo Montoya (113.5), Marcos Ambrose (113.2), Kyle Busch (102.1) and Kurt Busch (101.9).