Driver Handicaps: Watkins Glen


With two Sprint Cup Series wins at Watkins Glen, Marcos Ambrose has his sights set on a third victory that would pave his way into the post-season Chase. (Photo: Getty Images)


Driver Averages

To assist in making your fantasy racing picks,'s Pete Pistone helps steer you toward Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International.

Who's HOT at "The Glen"

Jeff Gordon: At one time, he was considered NASCAR's "King of the Road," although things have tailed off some in recent years.  Still, Gordon's riding a red-hot season into Watkins Glen this weekend and despite not having a top-10 finish at the track since 2010, don't count him out.

Jimmie Johnson: His season has gone the opposite of his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon in recent weeks and the six-time Sprint Cup champ has struggled.  But he's more than capable of snapping that string with a good day at "The Glen."  Johnson has two straight top 10s at the track.

Marcos Ambrose: The Richard Petty Motorsports driver has five total wins at Watkins Glen including three Nationwide Series victories and two in the Sprint Cup Series.  There's a lot riding on potential Cup win No. 3 on Sunday, including a spot in the post-season Chase.  Ambrose might be facing the biggest race of his NASCAR career come Sunday afternoon.

Tony Stewart: If anyone needs to return to form at Watkins Glen, it's Stewart - who, like Ambrose, needs a win in the final five races of the regular season to make the Chase field.  He missed last year's race due to his leg injury, but Stewart should be in the picture as an impact player on Sunday.

Kyle Busch: Since finishing 33rd in his Watkins Glen Cup debut in 2005, Busch has not finished outside the top 10 including wins in 2008 and again last season.

Who's NOT

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: The good news is that Earnhardt also isn't historically very good at Sonoma but turned in a solid finish at the other road race of the season back in June.  But he'll have to overcome a tough Watkins Glen record that shows a 23.5 average finish over the last decade.

Greg Biffle: The Roush Fenway Racing driver has never been synonymous with road racing success during his NASCAR career and Biffle's 22.4 average finish over his last 10 starts at "The Glen" bears that out.

Paul Menard: His best Watkins Glen finish is 12th in 2012.  He placed 17th in last year's edition of the Cheez-It 355.

Kasey Kahne: The clock is ticking on Kahne's chances to get a win and make the Chase, but the odds are stacked against him at Watkins Glen.  A pair of 14th-place performances in his last 10 starts at the track are the best Kahne's been able to muster.

Denny Hamlin: His second week with interim crew chief Mike Wheeler in for the suspended Darian Grubb will be a challenge to improve Hamlin's Watkins Glen average finish from 19.5.

Who to Keep an Eye On at "The Glen"

Carl Edwards: He claimed his first career road racing victory at Sonoma in June and has six top-10 finishes in nine career starts at "The Glen."

AJ Allmendinger: His best shot to steal a win and a spot in the Chase comes Sunday at Watkins Glen, where he was 10th last year.  Allmendinger also was impressive for JTG/Daugherty Racing earlier this year at Sonoma.

Martin Truex Jr.: His first year at Furniture Row Racing would receive a huge shot in the arm if Truex could somehow win, which isn't out of the question based on his string of two top fives in his last three Watkins Glen starts.

Clint Bowyer: He and crew chief Brian Pattie can't explain why Bowyer is such a good road racer.  But the fact is he's pretty slick and has two straight top-10 performances at Watkins Glen heading into this weekend.

Kevin Harvick: The 2006 Watkins Glen winner is usually fast every week and there's no reason to think that won't be the case again come Sunday. Staff Picks

Pete Pistone: Kyle Busch
Dustin Long: Kyle Busch
John Singler: Carl Edwards
Jeff Wackerlin: Marcos Ambrose

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