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NASCAR

Juan Pablo Montoya is Ready to Race at Watkins Glen International

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Last week NASCAR was at the triangle called Pocono Raceway, Juan Pablo Montoya had a very bad day on a track that races a lot like a road course. This week NASCAR and Juan Pablo Montoya return to Watkins Glen International for the CHEEZ-IT 355 At The Glen.

Last week Montoya got caught up in the excitement of racing at the tricky triangle. He didn’t even last past the first lap when he got into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Matt Kenseth by driving into the first turn too hard. This week Montoya gets to go to a track that by is even more difficult when it comes to making the turns. There is no excuse for last week but this week it’s redemption time.

The Watkins Glen road course is 2.45 miles in length and has seven turns.  The race is 90 laps or about 220.5 miles.  Setting up a car for racing at a road course is similar to other tracks; the team who gets their car handling the best throughout the course will be fast.  Unlike the oval tracks, however, the fastest car doesn’t necessarily win the race.  The car that is the fastest and near the front at the end of the race wins.  This is where pit strategy comes in.

The crew chiefs work the race backward on paper, figuring which lap at the end of the race to make their last pit stop.  If they can be the first or one of the first to make that last pit stop, as well as being one of the fastest cars, they will win the race.

When asked about the differences between the road courses that the NASCAR Sprint Cup visits, Sonoma and Watkins Glen, where Montoya who has a win at each, said:

As a road racer, you don’t have a big advantage because there’s nowhere where you’re, okay, you need big cojones to go through the corner.  You don’t have that in Sonoma, where in the Glen all the esses, going over the curves and the backstop, it’s always a challenge, and for guys that run in ovals every week, that is very difficult.  And for me my background is road racing going over curves and hustling the car, that’s what it’s all about.

When looking at the driver ratings for this race, Tony Stewart and Marcos Ambrose are statistically tied at a commanding 120. With Stewart missing the race due to his broken leg that is a game changer. Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch also have statistically tied and still very good ratings of 110. See full chart below.

The Chevy and Toyotas seem to have the races covered this year. Especially the Hendrick powered Chevrolets. That is why Juan Montoya will have the edge this weekend at Watkins Glen International.

If you can’t get to Watkins Glen International the race will be broadcast on ESPN, Sunday August 11th at 12 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for RantSports.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.

Top 12 Driver Rating at Watkins Glen
Tony Stewart………………………. 120.4
Marcos Ambrose…………………. 120.1
Juan Pablo Montoya…………….. 110.5
Kyle Busch…………………………. 110.2
Jimmie Johnson…………………… 102.0
Brad Keselowski………………….. 101.7
Carl Edwards………………………… 94.0
AJ Allmendinger…………………….. 92.4
Kurt Busch…………………………… 90.7
Denny Hamlin……………………….. 89.6
Martin Truex Jr……………………… 89.2
Kevin Harvick……………………….. 88.8
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (eight total) among active drivers at Watkins Glen International.