It would be easy to identify the favorite in Saturday‘s Sunoco Go Rewards 200 if it weren‘t for the interlopers from NASCAR‘s Cup Series.
Reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, Ross Chastain and Cole Custer all are entered in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race (3 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Nevertheless, the 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen International may still be the special province of Xfinity Series leader AJ Allmendinger.
The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet has won three of the four road course races in the series so far this season — at Circuit of The Americas, Portland International Raceway, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Driving for JTG Daugherty Racing in 2014, Allmendinger picked up the first of his two Cup Series victories at The Glen. In three Xfinity Series starts at the track, he finished second all three times (though his runner-up result in 2019 was followed by disqualification for a ride-height violation).
In 22 Xfinity Series starts on road courses, Allmendinger has posted a remarkable nine victories and 18 top fives. So, if any driver can fend off challenges from the Cup regulars, Allmendinger can.
“Watkins Glen will always be a special place for me,” said Allmendinger, who also is running the Cup race this weekend. “The crowd is always amazing, and the memories from my first Cup win will last forever.
“Ever since they repaved the track (in 2015), it‘s been a challenge for me, but with the Next Gen car in the Cup Series, it may be completely different. Hopefully, we will have two really great finishes for the weekend.”