Bookmark me!

Cheez-It 355 at The Glen 

Image description

Sunday 1:00pm ESPN

Last week provided us with the rare exciting Pocono race. It was especially unexpected given that the #48 was starting on the pole. But after he blew a right front and hit the wall, from the lead, the race was wide open (by the way how the hell did he finish 13th?). The cautions bred cautions and provided us fans with some exceptional racing. Now this week we head to Watkins Glen, one of the best races of the year and certainly one of my personal favorites.

First off I obviously have to mention the fact that the all-time Watkins Glen wins leader, Tony Stewart, will not be racing after suffering a broken leg in a mid week sprint car crash. Stay tuned for more on this in the next few days.

Watkins Glen is one of only two road course stops on the schedule. As with every road course race this will be a track position and fuel mileage race. There will be several different pit strategies by guys trying to gain a leg up on the field.

This track features 11 tricky turns and provided us with one of the best finishes in recent memory just one year ago. Late in the race NASCAR was unaware of oil that had been laid down on the track after a blown engine. Kyle Busch got into the oil first which slowed him down a bit. With Keselowski behind him and Marcos Ambrose beating down his rear bumper they closed the gap before Kyle took a defensive line into turn 2. Keselowski bumped him from behind sending Kyle around and into the wall. From there Keselowski and Ambrose wrestled around the track passing each other more than once before Ambrose came home victorious for the second straight year (and Keselowski finished as the runner up for the second straight year).

Tempers almost always flair here in the closing stretches of the race, like Boris Said vs Greg Biffle two years ago...

There will probably be a fight after the race and we shall certainly see several cars driving through the grass trying to get into position to make a late pass. Any restarts will be far more exciting than normal given that the field will be lined up two wide headed into turn 1 which is virtually a 90 degree turn to the right. Expect to see at least one caution caused by someone getting into the brakes hard and a bit early resulting in someone driving right into the back of them and it will likely happen here in turn 1. My favorite turn is “The Bus Stop” which features a little inner loop that will cause a few wrecks and more than a few grills to fill up with grass. This will be probably the most exciting turn of the race and could determine the outcome. Buckle up because this is going to be a fun one.

Stay Away From:

Kurt Busch 8-1

In my opinion Kurt is the favorite to be the focal point of some post race aggression. Being a hot head at a tight track that is known for creating animosity between drivers, there is a really good chance of him wrecking or being wrecked. 8-1 is valueless for him just based on what I have already said. But then you dig a little deeper and find that he is 27th in average finish at Watkins Glen among active drivers and has just one top 5 here in 12 career races and has finished outside the top 30 in each of the last two races here.

Jeff Gordon 8-1

Jeff may be second to just Tony Stewart in career wins at this track but he is going to have to make up a lot of ground to tie Smoke, with win number five, since he is starting way back in 28th place. Obviously this is a track position race so he is going to have to drive his ass off, have the best strategy and catch a few breaks.

Best Bets:

Marcos Ambrose 3-1

Marcos has lamented himself as the best road course racer over the past few years. He has won this race each of the last two years and looks to join Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart as the only drivers with at least three wins at The Glen. He also looks to join Martin and Gordon as the only drivers to win three straight races at Watkins Glen. Little interesting stat, that Marcos has expanded upon the past two years, in the 16 races here since 1997 only eight different drivers have been to victory lane. Of course despite Ambrose being the favorite, the chances of that number remaining at eight after the 17th race are really diminished without Tony Stewart being on the track. But we certainly could be headed to another win for the #9 here given his untouchable history at this track. In five career races he has two wins and holds an average finish of 2.0. In his 11 career road course races he has an average finish of 7.36 both are the best by quite a bit. He might not pay out too much but you are getting the best of the best by betting on Ambrose. Oh and he will be starting from the pole at Watkins Glen for the first time in his career.

Brad Keselowski 7-1

While some guys may have been pissed off by the aggressive racing in the wild finish here last year, especially since he didn’t win, Brad came out of his car all smiles acknowledging how much fun it was. Of course over the last two years Brad has been topped by just Ambrose and will look to grab his first career win at The Glen this weekend. He is starting 8th so he will start with the track position he needs to race for the win and with one of the best crew chiefs in the sport should find himself out front at some point in the race. 7-1 is great value for this guy as he is a real contender for the trophy this Sunday.

Jimmie Johnson 8-1

Jimmie Johnson at 8-1 following a let down, at a track he has never won at despite finishing in the top 5 four out of eleven career races? … yes please.

Martin Truex Jr. 22-1

Another underrated road course racer. Somehow his odds are this long despite winning at Sonoma earlier this year and qualifying 3rd this week. Truex will have high hopes and a ton of confidence going into this race and the track position to boot. 22-1 is a gift.

Best Value Bet:

Jamie McMurray 44-1

Jamie Mac is certainly an underrated wheelman. He has found his way to the front here before and starting 6th this year he could find his way back to the front this weekend. He probably won’t win but 44-1 for a guy with great starting track position and one with a history of coming out of nowhere to nab the checkered flag.

My Pick:

Clint Bowyer 17-1

This is the best bet on the board by far. Clint is perhaps the most underrated road course racer on the circuit and the odds verify that. He will be starting next to Ambrose on the front row as he looks to build upon his road course resume that has seen him post the 5th best average finish at road course races (3rd if you don’t count Stewart or Mark Martin whom aren’t racing this week). Clint is a former road course winner and needs to find victory lane at least once before The Chase to prove himself as a legit contender and to grab some bonus points, as well as to keep more bonus points away from the competition (Jimmie Johnson).

PS. How does the Nationwide Race get ABC billing while the Cup Series race is on ESPN? I can’t wait for ESPN and TNT to be out of the Cup Series broadcasting business. At the very least NBC can’t be any worse.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Please help us out click the ads tell a friend and/or click through our Amazon banner before you buy something. Mission Statement

Bookmark and Share