NASCAR Fantasy Round-up: Watkins Glen

(Editor’s Note:  Dave has been having some computer issues as of late, but he still managed to e-mail me this week’s Fantasy Round-up – Bob)

Time for some road course racing at Watkins Glen International this weekend as the Sprint Cup Series heads to one of the more scenic tracks in NASCAR.  The battle for the Chase heats up this weekend when 46-teams invade Watkins Glen, New York for the 26th Annual Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen. While road courses are not a favorite with some fans, I personally would like to see WGI part of the Chase and a track I like to visit.

The Glen is not quite as challenging to the drivers compared to Sonoma, but the faster speeds add difficulty in passing throughout the course.  However, look for the drivers to become more aggressive as the race winds down and attempt to pass whether there is room or not.

For fantasy owners road courses provide the opportunity to be more creative with their lineup and save a few of the top tier drivers for later in the season.  This weekend the likes of Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart would be great choices, but drivers like Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya will also get strong consideration in Group B. Let us not forget the road course “ringers” that are brought in specifically for their skills at Sonoma and The Glen. Boris Said and Ron Fellows are two “ringers” that could be a factor on Sunday and score some extra points in Group C.

I have a break down for each group after the jump.

Group A

Tony Stewart – Stewart has reached a point in the season where he desperately needs a win to improve his position in the standings.  He currently sits ninth in points with Dale Earnhardt Jr. just one point behind him. Stewart has five wins at WGI in 12 starts and a remarkable average finish of third in his last three starts at The Glen.

Alternate pick: Kyle Busch – Busch is coming off a second place finish last week at Pocono and riding a streak of five straight top-10 finishes at The Glen.  He won this race in 2008, the same season he also won at Sonoma. While Busch is pretty set in the standings to make the Chase, we all know that Rowdy is not going to sit back and coast.

Group B

Juan Pablo Montoya – Montoya has been his own worst enemy at times this season with his aggression and impatience getting the best of him.  His best finish in the last three races is a very disappointing 28th.  Montoya has nearly mastered The Glen in his four starts including a win last year.  If he stays focused and keep his aggression in check, he clearly should finish the race with a top-five.

A.J. Allmendinger – While the clear choice here would be Marcos Ambrose, but I’m going to take a chance with Allmendinger this weekend.  He has just three starts here, but his worst finish was in 2009 when he finished 13th.  Last year, Allmendinger qualified in the top-five and came home with a fourth place finish.  He will need a good qualifying effort again to position himself for a top-10 finish.

Alternate pick:  Marcos Ambrose – I am cautious on starting Ambrose this week despite his successes on road courses since coming to NASCAR.  Ambrose is definitely worthy of having on your team this week based solely on his chances to qualify top-three.  If he does qualify well then you can always move him to your starting line-up on Sunday.

Group C

Paul Menard – Menard has momentum on his side after winning at Indy and backing that up with a top-10 at Pocono.  As quickly as Menard’s win put him into the Chase picture, he quickly fell out with Brad Keselowski’s remarkable win at Pocono last week.

Alternate pick: Ron Fellows – Fellows is my choice for the best “road ringer” with a chance to score fantasy owners some points.  He has always ran better on the high-speed Watkins Glen course than Sonoma which gives him the nod over other “ringers”.  Fellows has won here in both the Truck and Nationwide series so he clearly can get the job done on Sunday.  In addition, Fellows does have three top-five finishes here in Cup.