Left and right turns will be made this afternoon as the Cup Series hits their second of three road courses scheduled for 2019. The race is scheduled for 90 laps around the 2.45-mile circuit with stage one and two consisting of 20 laps each and the final stage having the final 50 laps. The Glen has played host to some of the most exciting moments that NASCAR has ever seen. The three-way battle between Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Marcos Ambrose in 2012 is one of the greatest final laps in motorsports history. In 2014, AJ Allmendinger fought hard to hold off Ambrose and claimed his first career victory and the first victory for JTG Daugherty Racing. Today’s pole-sitter, Chase Elliott scored his first career victory at this track last year after an edge-of-your-seat thriller with Martin Truex Jr. and will look to defend his win. Hendrick Motorsports is in line to have a must-have solid week after a string of disappointing performances recently. William Byron joins Elliott on the front row, Jimmie Johnson will start eighth, and Alex Bowman will start 17th. If you are a Ford fan, this may not be your week as the Chevys and Toyotas have shown the speed so far this weekend.
Byron has made monumental strides this season over his rookie season and is my pick to win today at Watkins Glen. Byron had the best car at Sonoma back in June but opted to race for stage points instead of setting himself up for victory. I think he and Chad Knaus will learn from their mistake back then and lock themselves into the playoffs with Byron’s first career win. Of course, Elliott will be another good pick to have. After finishing last at Pocono last Sunday, a win would be the perfect way to rebound from recent struggles. Kyle Busch and Truex Jr. will give the Hendrick young guns a run for their money as both men are elite wheelmen on these road courses. Busch has won here twice and Truex Jr. won the 2017 race. Even though he starts 20th, Matt DiBenedetto is coming into this race with a ton of momentum. He scored a top-five finish at Sonoma and finished fifth two weeks ago at New Hampshire. DiBenedetto will once again serve as my dark horse pick even starting in the hole that he put himself in. Other drivers to keep in mind for today are Kyle Larson(seeking first win of season), Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin.
You can watch the race on NBC Sports Network. Coverage for the race begins at 2:30 p.m. EST with Countdown to Green. The start of the race is scheduled for 3:16 p.m. EST. For racing fans, this is definitely a must-watch as Watkins Glen never fails to deliver excitement and will hopefully give you something memorable prior to the Cup Series heading back to Michigan next weekend.
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