What: I Love New York 355 at The Glen
When: August 6th
Where: Watkins Glen International
2016 Winner: Denny Hamlin
Track: Watkins Glen. Opened in 1956, this 3.4 mile asphalt 11 turn amoeba raceway is a start contrast to most other NASCAR races. "The Glen" brings a different dynamic with 1 real open way for drivers to open up and much of the rest of the race encompassing navigating the turns and mapping out a strategy against the other racers for position.
Denny Hamlin. The reigning champion at Watkins Glen has had a solid last two months. Here are his results from Michigan to present: 4th, 4th, 24th, 4th, 1st, 17th, 4th. If he finished 4th at Watkins Glen, I'd be exultant. As a fun aside, last race, Joe Gibbs racers finished: 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th (Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth). In fact the 4 of them COMBINED have 3 finishes outside the top 10 over the last 3 races.
Clint Bower. In an effort to continue to save Chase Elliot and Kyle Larson starts - Clint finished 18th here last year and 6th at Watkins Glen two years ago. In his last 6 races he has finished in the top 15 in 5 of them. Stewart-Haas is definitely battling Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing between Clint and Kyle Harvick's racing as of late.
Kurt Busch. I'm doubling down on Kurt who also has a good track record at Watkins Glen with top 12 finishes in his last 3 years here. I was hoping for a slightly better finish at Poconos but 13th isn't terrible.
David Ragan. Save Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Erik Jones for the playoffs, David has fielded some respectable finishes over the last 2 months and while he struggled last year at Glen Watkis, he had a 22nd place and 19th place finish in years prior.
Danica Patrick. For anyone who is paying attention, she has 4 consecutive top 15 finishes and has looked every bit the part. She's finished between 17th -21st here the last 3 years but I think she could post another top 15 victory the way her racing has coupled with her Stewart-Haas vehicle. This is a great time to make a strong push down the stretch. This track has hosted formula 1 races which should help a bit too.
Year to date stats:
A Drivers: Avg Finish 14th (40th percentile)
B Drivers: Avg Finish 13th (37th percentile)
C Drivers: Avg Finish 15th (42nd percentile)
Dark Horse Drivers: Avg Finish 21st (60th percentile)