Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Watkins Glen NASCAR Cup Series Notes: 2017 I Love NY 355

Kyle Busch was last driver to sweep roads
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen
The Place: Watkins Glen International
The Date: Sunday, August 6
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 220.6 miles (90 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on lap 90)

Next Race: Zippo 200 at The Glen
The Place: Watkins Glen International
The Date: Saturday, August 5
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200.9 miles (82 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 20),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on lap 82)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 
Next Race: LTI Printing 200
The Place: Michigan International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, August 12
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on lap 100)

Busch Goes For Second Straight Win
Kyle Busch notched his first win of the season – and first in 36 races – in Sunday’s Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway. By capturing the checkered flag at Pocono, Busch has now won a points race at every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series track but Charlotte. By the way, he became the 13th driver to punch his ticket to the playoffs by virtue of winning a race.

The win was the 100th for Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Busch ranks tied for third in playoff points with Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski at 13. His eight stage wins trail only Martin Truex Jr.’s 14.

The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver will go for his second straight win in Sunday’s I LOVE NEW YORK 335 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Busch boasts two wins, five top fives and 10 top 10s in 12 starts at the Central New York road course. Among active drivers at WGI, Busch has the top average running position (11.2), best driver rating (110.4) and second-best average finish (10.0).

Harvick Hopes To Sweep Road Courses
Sonoma winner Kevin Harvick will attempt the season sweep of the two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series road courses in Sunday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen.
The last driver to sweep the road courses was Kyle Busch in 2008. Harvick and Busch are also the only two active drivers to have won at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen.

In 16 career starts at Watkins Glen, Harvick has one win (2006), three top fives, eight top 10s and a 13.2 average finish.

The No. 4 Ford driver currently ranks third in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 97 markers behind leader Martin Truex Jr. He is tied with Truex and Brad Keselsowki for the most top 10s this season with 14.

Allmendinger Can Steal Chase Bid With Win At Glen
Road course maven AJ Allmendinger will attempt to capture a spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with a win at Watkins Glen International on Sunday. In 2014, Allmendinger notched his first-ever win and the playoff spot that comes with one when he took the checkered flag at The Glen.

The No. 47 Chevrolet driver will be one of the favorites this weekend at the track where he owns one victory, three top fives, five top 10s and a 9.4 average finish in eight starts. He finished fourth in last year’s race.

An Allmendinger win would leave only two playoff spots available through points with four races remaining after Watkins Glen.

10 Different Winners In The Last 10 Races
Parity has been a theme in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. There have been 10 different winners in the last 10 races: Austin Dillon (Charlotte), Jimmie Johnson (Dover), Ryan Blaney (Pocono), Kyle Larson (Michigan), Kevin Harvick (Sonoma), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Daytona), Martin Truex Jr. (Kentucky), Denny Hamlin (New Hampshire), Kasey Kahne (Indianapolis), Kyle Busch (Pocono).

Back Against The Wall: Past WGI Winner Logano Goes For Win, Chase Berth
Proving how unpredictable NASCAR can be, Joey Logano is fighting for a playoff berth with a mere five races left in the regular season. Not even Nostradamus would’ve foresaw the Ford driver’s predicament before the year started.

Logano won at Richmond, but his victory was encumbered, so it doesn’t count for a playoff berth. He is currently 69 points behind Matt Kenseth for the final playoff spot and 52 points behind Clint Bowyer, who would be the first driver out of playoffs if the season ended today.

Watkins Glen could be the place where Logano clinches a playoff berth. He won there in 2015 and finished second at the New York track last season. He’s finished lower than seventh in just one of his last six starts at Watkins Glen.

Last year’s series runner-up, Logano has made the Championship 4 in two of the three years it’s been implemented. The one year Logano didn’t make the Championship 4 (2015), he led the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with six wins.

Time Is Running Out: Playoff Berths At A Premium
Only five races remain for winless drivers to capture one of the three remaining playoff berths.

The following drivers would be in the playoffs if the season ended today: Martin Truex Jr. (three wins, 29 playoff points), Jimmie Johnson (three, 16), Kyle Larson (two, 13), Brad Keselowski (two, 13), Kyle Busch (one, 13),  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (two, 10), Kevin Harvick (one, eight), Ryan Blaney (one, eight), Denny Hamlin (one, seven), Ryan Newman (one, five), Kasey Kahne (one, five), Austin Dillon (one, five), Chase Elliott (39 points above Clint Bowyer on the cutoff line, two playoff points), Jamie McMurray (+38, 0),  Matt Kenseth (+17, 2).

The two drivers currently outside the playoffs with the best shot to get in on points are Bowyer (17 points below Kenseth on the cutoff line, one playoff point) and Joey Logano (-69, one).

Three of the drivers who would currently be in the playoffs are graduates of the NASCAR Next initiative – Larson, Blaney and Elliott.

Truex Attempts To Extend Leads In Points And Playoff Points
Martin Truex Jr. extended his points lead over second-place Kyle Larson to 85 markers after finishing third at Pocono. Truex didn’t earn a playoff point at The Tricky Triangle, but his 29 playoff points are 13 points more than the next-best driver (Jimmie Johnson, 16).

Truex will attempt to continue his dominance in Sunday’s I LOVE NEW YORK 335 at The Glen. In 11 starts at the Central New York road course, he has three top fives, six top 10s and a 13.1 average finish.

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