NASCAR Pre-Race Media: Watkins Glen Track Trends, favorites, sleepers, fades, etc

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)

  • Chase Elliott’s two year win streak came to an end last August. 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.
  • Hendrick Motorsports has won the last 3 races at Watkins Glen
  • Counting Joe Gibbs Racing, them and HMS have combined to win each of the last 5 WGI races as well as 6 of the last 8 with 5 different drivers.
  • Trackhouse Racing has won 2 of the 4 road course races this season with RCR the other.
  • Chevrolet has won each of the 4 road course races in 2022 and the final 6 of 2021 for 10 straight wins on these tracks. Factor in the 2019 race at Watkins Glen (2 races in 2019) and the 2 races (Daytona, Charlotte) in 2020 and you get Chevy scoring 14 wins in the last 15 road course races in general.
  • Also, 3 of the 4 road course races in 2022 were won by a 1st time winner. Factor in AJ Allmendinger’s win at Indy last year and Tyler Reddick’s last 2 this year and Christopher Bell’s in Daytona in February (2021) and you get 6 of the last 11 road races being won by a driver scoring their 1st or 2nd win on them.

Go Bowling at The Glen key stat (qualifying matters here)

  • 10 of the last 11 winners have started in the top 3 Rows including the last 4 from the top 2 Rows.
  • 15 of the last 17 have started in the top 10.
  • 12 of the last 14 races on the season were won from the top 4 rows including 6 of the last 8 from the top 5.
  • Starting positions on road courses this season: 16th (COTA), 8th (Sonoma), 4th (Road America), 1st (Indy).

Live In Race Betting Trends To Watch

  • Don’t expect a late caution. The last time we’ve had a caution inside of 20 to go was in 2016.
  • In the stage era, there’s been five combined cautions the last three years that weren’t stage break related.
  • None of the 4 road course races this season saw the eventual winner get stage points in the 1st stage. They did in 3 of the 4 Stage 2’s though going 8th, 4th, 10th and no points respectively.
  • Just 2 of the last 12 races on the season did the eventual winner even finish in the top 5 of the opening stage.
  • 14 of the last 17 races did the eventual race winner get stage points in the 2nd stage.
  • Since Memorial Day weekend just once has a stage winner in either stage won a race (Chase Elliott in Atlanta).
  • 8 of the last 10 races the eventual race winner led laps only in the final stage including 3 of the last 5.


Out of all 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.

Prime Sports NASCAR Preview Show Here

WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 05: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GoBowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 5, 2018 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Chase Elliott

He won 2 of the last 3 years in Watkins Glen and runner-up in the other. He’s also finished 4th, 8th, 2nd and 16th in the 4 road races in 2022. Elliott has 6 top 5 finishes in his last 8 starts on the season.

Ross Chastain

He was 12th last year, 1st in COTA this year, 7th in Sonoma and 4th in Road America. He crossed the finish line 2nd at Indy before his penalty was levied. Can he break out of his 4 week slump?

Tyler Reddick

He won at both Road America and Indy and was 5th in COTA this season too. The 2 wins and a runner at Pocono are also his only top 5 finishes in his last 12 races too though.

AJ Allmendinger

He won Indy last year, was in the top 3 on the final lap in COTA, was in the top 10 late in the race at Sonoma, finished 9th in Road America and 7th at Indy again.

Go Bowling at The Glen Sleepers

Daniel Suarez

He won Sonoma, led every lap of the 1st stage in COTA, was 5th in Road America and lined up 5th on the final restart in Indy.

Christopher Bell

He had a top 2 car last year before a run-in with Larson. Bell, also won the Daytona road course in 2021 and was in the top five in Road America too last year. He was 3rd in COTA this year but 27th, 18th and 12th in his last 3 road races too. On the season he has 3 top 5 finishes in his last 5 tries.

Ryan Blaney

Worth a risk here. He has two top 10’s in his last four Watkins Glen starts and a top 11 in 3 of the 4 road races run in 2022. His drawback though is that he hasn’t finished better than 5th since Nashville either.

Austin Cindric

He was just runner-up on the Indy road course for his 4th top 8 in as many tries on them this season. A road racer by nature is ready to win again.

Chris Buescher

His last 3 road course finishes read: 2nd (Sonoma), 6th (Road America), 10th (Indianapolis). Buescher also enters on the heels of a 3rd place finish last weekend in Richmond too.

Michael McDowell

A road racer by nature has 3 top 10’s including a 3rd in Sonoma in 4 road course races run this season.

Chase Briscoe

He’s good on road courses and was ninth last year. The only thing is, you’re getting this number because he was only 30th, 13th, 14th and 23rd on road courses this year.

Go Bowling at The Glen Fades

Kyle Larson

He won last year and was sixth and eighth respectively in the 2 years prior. However, while he was 4th in Road America last month, him being 29th, 15th and 35th on the other 3 road course races make me punt on him this weekend. More so that he has 1 top 5 in the last 6 races in 2022 as well.

Kyle Busch

He’s had 5 top seven results in his last 6 Watkins Glen tries, but was only 28th, 30th, 29th and 11th in 4 road races run in 2022 too. He also has no top 5s in his last 9 starts on the season at that.

Martin Truex Jr.

He has five straight top 10’s in Watkins Glen including four of which in the top three. However, in 4 road races run in 2022, he’s finished 7th, 26th, 13th and 21st.

Denny Hamlin

He’s had four top four finishes in his last five Watkins Glen starts but on road courses in 2022, 18th, 31st, 17th and 14th respectively.

Joey Logano

His last four at Watkins Glen are 24th, 37th, 23rd and 22nd respectively. His 4 road course finishes this season are 31st, 17th, 27th and 6th respectively. Enough said.

Kevin Harvick

While Harvick has 3 straight top 10’s, he’s had just 1 top five in his 14 Watkins Glen starts. He was 11th, 4th, 10th and 33rd in 4 road races this season but that lack of Watkins Glen success puts me off.

William Byron

2 of his 3 Watkins Glen starts have seen him finish in the top 8. However, he was only 12th, 9th, 16th and 31st in 4 road races run in 2022. He hasn’t had a top 5 in any of his last 16 starts either.

Alex Bowman

He was 14th, 14th and 20th in three WGI starts at HMS. He was also 16th, 12th and 32nd in his last 3 road course starts on the season too. He hasn’t had a top 5 in his last 13 starts on the season.

Kurt Busch

He’s had 7 top 11’s in his last 8 Watkins Glen tries but just 32nd, 18th and 23rd in his 3 road races run in 2022 too.

Brad Keselowski

His last four finishes are 15th, 17th, 9th and 35th respectively. He has 1 top 10 in 4 road races in 2022 at that.

Aric Almirola

0-for-10 in terms of top 10’s at Watkins Glen. 0-for-4 in top 10’s on road races this season.

Cole Custer

He was 18th last year and 23rd, 21st, 15th and 9th on road course tracks this season.

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