|Denny Hamlin was runner-up at the Glen in 2007 (Getty)|
Watkins Glen Preview:
The Sprint Cup Series shifts to upstate New York for the season’s second and final road course event, Sunday at Watkins Glen International. Hamlin is making his sixth-career Cup start at the 2.45-mile, 11-turn circuit, looking to avenge a crash one year ago that led to a 37th-place finish. Hamlin finished in the top-10 in his first four trips to The Glen, including a career-best runner-up result in 2007. He finished eighth in 2008 and owns a pair of 10th-place finishes — in 2006 and 2009. In five events, the FedEx team has never started worse than 14th, including an outside pole run in 2007 and third-place starting position in 2009. Hamlin qualified fourth and led 12 laps earlier this season on the road course at Infineon Raceway.
What are you expecting to see at Watkins Glen this weekend?
“I think this weekend will be a crazy race for a lot of reasons. Many of the guys outside the top-10 will be looking to do anything to get that first or second win, the road course guys will be in the mix and battling, and the guys at the back half of the top-10 will try to avoid the madness and get a good finish. As we saw in Sonoma earlier this year, guys drive very aggressive on these road courses, and with the new ‘wild card’ format for the Chase, anything is possible. Our team is in a position where a string of good finishes can get us back into the top-10, and a second win would put us in good shape for a ‘wild card’ spot. Watkins Glen has been a good track for us in the past, and our road course cars have been pretty fast lately. We had a good car in Sonoma, and I’m expecting another fast car this weekend. We’ll see how it shakes out.”
What are the keys to success at Watkins Glen?
“Compared to Sonoma, the Glen is a lot faster. You need to be smart with the brakes, especially running down into turn one where you have your main opportunity for passing, and it’s a place where you are carrying a bunch of speed. You are working to get the car slowed down and trying to turn as all of that weight is shifting to the front of the car under braking. Getting that brake balance right is really important, and like Sonoma, fuel strategy is big, too.”
- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing, Press Release