NASCAR Sprint Cup Helluva Good! Dips at the Glen | Watkins Glen International Open Race Thread

And Now for Something Completely Different.

With 11 twisting turns, Watkins Glen is NASCAR’s flying circus. The Glen is the last of two road courses. It’s also the last before the Chase cutoff, making it a wild card of sorts for those trying to secure a playoff berth.

Several teams have a new driver for The Glen and Scott Pruett could easily drive the Hendrick no. 24 should Jeff Gordon’s latest addition arrive on Sunday. News, notes and a starting lineup can be found after the jump!

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Only five races remain until the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins at New Hampshire. Leading the Race to The Chase is Kevin Harvick, just 189 points ahead of second-place Gordon. Should the Chase begin today, it would be a different story entirely.

The playoffs are seeded by race wins and Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin lead that category with 50 bonus points each.

This leaves Gordon and Harvick (as well as fifth place Jeff Burton) desperate for wins. If the Chase were to begin now, Harvick (2 wins), Gordon and Burton (0 Wins) would restart the season in third, seventh and eighth respectively. With each of the top five all but guaranteed a Chase spot, wins are of the utmost importance.

The same could also be said of those trying to reach a Chase berth. Before a seventh-place at Pocono, Mark Martin had suffered seven consecutive finishes outside the top ten. The summer swoon dropped him from 10th to 13th in points, just 34 markers out of 12th place Clint Bowyer.

Behind both drivers is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior is likely the last Chase eligible contender entering the final five and sits just 129 points out of the cutoff.

Both drivers are capable of starting a run at Watkins Glen and it’s likely they could start such a run today. Martin has three wins at The Glen, winning three in a row from 1993-95. Each of those wins came from the pole.

In Junior’s favor, Dale (who will make NASCAR touring start no. 500) keeps his nose clean at most road courses and survived a top-15 finish at Sonoma.

But make no mistake. Watkins Glen belongs to Tony Stewart. Stewart owns five wins in upstate New York and has compiled a driver rating of 135.0. Stewart is currently eighth in the standings and needs a win. He could find it at The Glen. With an average finish of 5.3, Stewart has dominated at Watkins Glen and could stake a claim for the championship should he win.

Expect road course aces Marcos Ambrose, Boris Said and Ron Fellows to battle for the top ten with pole-sitter Carl Edwards (94.5 driver rating) the unlikely dark horse.

 

Pre-race coverage will be provided by ESPN Countdown (12ET) and SPEED Raceday (10ET). Live race coverage will air on ESPN starting at 1 p.m./ET. Green flag is set for 1:35 with Marty Reid, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree providing the call.

Starting Line Up by Row
Watkins Glen International
Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen
Provided by NASCAR Statistics – Sat, August 07, 2010 @ 01:31 PM Eastern
Track Race Record: Mark Martin 08/13/95 02:11:54 103.03
Row Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 1 99 Carl Edwards Aflac Ford 70.882 124.432
2 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Chevrolet 71.236 123.814
2 3 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet 71.302 123.699
4 43 A J Allmendinger Insignia HDTV Ford 71.348 123.619
3 5 2 Kurt Busch Miller Lite/Vortex Dodge 71.403 123.524
6 14 Tony Stewart Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet 71.458 123.429
4 7 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford 71.469 123.410
8 82 Scott Speed Red Bull Toyota 71.493 123.369
5 9 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevrolet 71.518 123.326
10 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Toyota 71.571 123.234
6 11 47 Marcos Ambrose Little Debbie Toyota 71.611 123.165
12 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Mobil 1 Dodge 71.648 123.102
7 13 83 Boris Said Red Bull Toyota 71.662 123.078
14 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 71.744 122.937
8 15 7 Robby Gordon Speed Factory.TV Toyota 71.795 122.850
16 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet 71.834 122.783
9 17 26 Patrick Carpentier Air Guard Ford 71.921 122.635
18 20 Joey Logano Home Depot Toyota 71.952 122.582
10 19 39 Ryan Newman U.S.Army Chevrolet 71.965 122.560
20 29 Kevin Harvick Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet 71.990 122.517
11 21 36 Ron Fellows Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 72.095 122.339
22 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet 72.113 122.308
12 23 98 Paul Menard Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Ford 72.126 122.286
24 5 Mark Martin GoDaddy.com Chevrolet 72.171 122.210
13 25 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Toyota 72.325 121.950
26 55 Michael McDowell PRISM Motorsports Toyota 72.413 121.801
14 27 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 72.419 121.791
28 13 Max Papis GEICO Toyota 72.461 121.721
15 29 09 Bobby Labonte Phoenix Construction Chevrolet Chevrolet 72.525 121.613
30 00 David Reutimann Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota 72.576 121.528
16 31 17 Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Ford 72.649 121.406
32 12 Brad Keselowski No. 12 Penske Dodge Dodge 72.650 121.404
17 33 71 Andy Lally Adobe Road Winery/TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet 72.689 121.339
34 33 Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet 72.728 121.274
18 35 6 David Ragan UPS Ford 72.885 121.013
36 9 Kasey Kahne Budweiser Ford 73.135 120.599
19 37 87 Joe Nemechek NEMCO Motorsports Toyota 73.171 120.540
38 19 Elliott Sadler Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford 73.202 120.489
20 39 07 P J Jones SpeedFactory.TV Toyota 73.341 120.260
40 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet 73.396 120.170
21 41 37 Travis Kvapil Long John Silver’s Ford Owner Points
42 34 Kevin Conway # Extenze Ford Owner Points
22 43 38 David Gilliland Taco Bell Ford 73.370 120.213
Did Not Qualify: # 46 J J Yeley; # 66 Dave Blaney; # 35 Tony Ave.
Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs
Chevrolet 15 1 Ford 12 0