Fantasy Preview: Cheez-It 355 at The Glen

August 7, 2014 No Comments

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Brian Wiggins, Senior Writer 

For the second and final time in 2014, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to a road course, this time in the Finger Lakes region of New York; Watkins Glen International.

Sunday’s race at the legendary road course is seen as a “last chance” for many Chase hopeful drivers looking to score a win to lock themselves into the Chase.

Drivers such as AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose and even Tony Stewart are all drivers dubbed as favorites for this weekend’s race that have yet to score a victory in 2014.

Last season, it was Kyle Busch picking up his second career win at Watkins Glen International with Brad Keselowski finishing second for the third year in a row at the track.

Being the high-speed track that Watkins Glen is, it lends itself as a “more simple” road course for the oval-aces of the Sprint Cup Series to get ahold of.  It’s very likely that we may not see someone such as Allmendinger or Ambrose take the win, but instead a driver such as Busch or Keselowski.

‘A’ Drivers 

Kyle Busch: As stated above, Busch is the defending winner of this race. If there’s any road course that suits the driver of the No.18 perfectly, it’s Watkins Glen. Joe Gibbs Racing is on a bit of an uptick despite an overall disappointing outing last weekend at Pocono Raceway. Looking for his second win of 2014, this might be the perfect place for Busch to gan some momentum as the Chase nears.

Jeff Gordon: He hasn’t won at Watkins Glen since 2001, but don’t let that stop you from picking Jeff Gordon this weekend. The driver of the No.24 is still riding that wave of momentum since winning the Brickyard 400, and his Hendrick Motorsports team has been giving him cars that he can contend for a win week in and week out. He may not get you a win, but Gordon will bring it home in or near the top-five without question.

‘B’ Drivers 

Marcos Ambrose: This is the obvious pick of the weekend. There’s no getting around it, Ambrose needs to win this weekend if he wants to make the Chase. Already a two-time winner at Watkins Glen, Ambrose and his No.9 team have put all of their chips in this weekend trying to get to victory lane. This very well may be the biggest race of the season for Ambrose and maybe his last chance to ever score a Sprint Cup win with rumors swirling of his possible return to Australia at seasons end.

AJ Allmendinger: Much like Ambrose, this is Allmendinger’s time to win. He was strong at Sonoma in June before tabling with Brian Vickers and Dale Earnhardt Jr. If the No.47 team is ready to win a Sprint Cup race, it would be now. With technical support from Richard Childress Racing and Allmendinger behind the wheel, this may be the best chance the team has ever had at cracking into victory lane.

Martin Truex Jr.: To put it lightly, 2014 has been a disappointment for Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing. They haven’t been in position to challenge for wins and are well out of the mix of getting into the Chase based on points. With that said, a win is their only way in. Last season in this race, Truex Jr. wound up in the third position while driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. The No.78 may not be the favorite for the win, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Truex Jr. in the top-five in the closing stages.

Brad Keselowski: The No.2 team should hold a spot on your fantasy roster seemingly every week. With three-straight second-place finishes at Watkins Glen, you would think he’s bound for victory lane on the road course soon. He’s already got three wins and is locked into the Chase, so it’s a good possibility that Paul Wolfe and Keselowski will gamble for a win on Sunday.

‘C’ Drivers: 

Danica Patrick: Much like a lot of the people listed here, this might be her last shot at getting a win and making the Chase. Patrick has shown that she’s a capable road racer in the Nationwide Series. While it may be unlikely that she picks up the win on Sunday, this is the best chance she has in the remaining races to make the Chase.

Justin Allgaier: He’s a past winner on the road courses in the Nationwide Series and his No.51 team is getting stronger as the season goes on. More than likely, Allgaier won’t be in victory lane and he might not even crack the top-ten. But, he certainly has the potential on the road courses.

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