I was watching SPEED Channel the other day (R.I.P) when I noticed a startling fact that only strengthened my opinion that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have absolutely no place running NASCAR Nationwide Series races.
Who was the last NASCAR Nationwide Series regular to win at the road course of Watkins Glen? Not since 1999 has a driver running in primarily the Nationwide Series won there. That driver was Dale Earnhardt Jr., and it was his last year running for what was then the Busch Series title.
Since then, road course ringer Ron Fellows found victory lane twice, Kurt Busch found victory lane twice, and Marcos Ambrose ended up winning three years in a row to go along with victories by Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards.
So, looking forward, who are the drivers most likely to break this streak and capture victory on Saturday with only Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne set to compete against the regular field?
Justin Allgaier has had an interesting career at Watkins Glen, but has shown consistent growth since his first race at the track in 2009. He has improved each year by at least five qualifying positions, and last year he recorded his first top-10 at the track. Recall this year he also finished second at Road America.
Sam Hornish Jr. is off to an impressive year and also a great road course driver. Last year at The Glen, he ended up third against a field featuring over half a dozen Sprint Cup Series drivers. Right now, he is looking to regain the points lead he lost at Iowa. Hornish had a top-five finish at Road America and thanks to Penske’s race management, he will likely have another great finish this weekend.
The wild card in this, as he is nearly every week, is Kyle Larson. The Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing development driver is fast in anything he drives, and earned a top-10 at Road America. Due to Larson’s raw ability and Turner-Scott Motorsports ability to use strategy, don’t be surprised if Larson gets his first victory of the year at Watkins Glen.
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