NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Watkins Glen Track Trends

TRACK: Watkins Glen International (2.454-mile road course). DISTANCE: 90 Laps — STAGE 1: 20 Laps, STAGE 2: 20 Laps, FINAL STAGE: 50 Laps, MILES (220.86 Miles)


Track History/Trends

  • Top drivers: Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch
  • Drivers Trending Down: Team Penske, RCR, Alex Bowman, William Byron
  • Chase Elliott has won two straight. The last driver to win three straight was Jeff Gordon (1997-1999). Mark Martin is the only other driver to accomplish that feat as he did so in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
  • Elliott has also won six of the last eight road course races too.
  • Hendrick Motorsports has won 7 of the last 8 overall road course races in general.
  • Counting Joe Gibbs Racing, them and HMS have combined to win each of the last 9 road course races.
  • Throw in Furniture Row Racing (Martin Truex Jr.) who was aligned with JGR, these three teams have won 12 of the last 13 road course races. The only one they didn’t win was when Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) was victorious in 2018 on the Charlotte ROVAL when Truex was crashed in the final turn on the final lap or else it would be 13 straight.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing is the only other team to have won since 2015 on road courses. Hendrick has won 8 times, JGR has won 4 times, Furniture Row, SHR and Penske each twice themselves. That’s 18 races.
  • Of the winners in this span, only Elliott (7 wins), Truex Jr. (3 wins) have won multiple times. Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Tony Stewart are the only other winners. Among them, Stewart has since retired and the others are currently inside of the playoff grid.
  • 9 of the last 10 winners have started in the top 3 Rows.
  • 14 of the last 16 have started in the top 10.
  • In the stage era, there’s been three combined cautions the last three years that weren’t stage break related.
  • Don’t expect a late caution. The last time we’ve had a caution inside of 20 to go was in 2016.

Track Comparison

Out of the road courses on the schedule, Watkins Glen really compares to none. It’s fast but it doesn’t have any real runoff space since there’s walls all the way around. It’s the Daytona or Talladega version of road courses. Typically big crashes here due to ARMCO barriers lining the track. A good combo of needing speed and handling. Some will elect for track position and forego stage points in the process.

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